Sunday, May 17, 2015

Where Is Everybody In France

R.a.n.t. for week 05/17/15
Now that the April A-Z blogging challenge has come to a successful conclusion, I've suddenly found other duties I need to catch up on. This, coupled with the fact I've had a house guest the past week, I have found little time to work on writing. Fortunately, Muriel, a blogger at French Yummy Mummy has agreed to guest this week. If you enjoy her article, make sure you stop by her own blog and say hi. Take it away Muriel.

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Everybody knows that we French take a whole month off in August. But what you probably don’t know is that it is simply impossible to do any sort of business in France in May. Take my word for it: don’t even try. Why? Because we have at least four Bank holidays and, in my home country, Bank holidays don’t necessarily fall on a Monday. It can be any day.
If you don’t believe it, here is a quick recap of all the days off in France this month:
– 1st of May (A Friday this year)
– 8th of May (A Friday this year)
– 14th of May (A Thursday. This means that most French will ‘make the bridge’ and take Friday off as well. Don’t even try to call anyone in France today).
– 25th of May (A Monday this time)

This basically means that 5 days are off, and I have to do the same amount of work when all of France seems to be enjoying the sun somewhere nice (while it is grey or pouring in London, if you must know). My French friends and family don’t understand what the fuss is all about. They feel that they are entitled to the additional time. This Gallic sense of entitlement is driving me mad.

In fact, I must admit that I am fuming. Because of the various days off, bridges, and so on, and so forth, half of my clients (I have a small business in France) simply forgot to pay their invoices. Now that I am British too, I believe that there is such a thing as too much vacation. The excuses I got were simply priceless. Here are a few:

”But it’s a Bank holiday”
Maybe. But you see, my own bank didn’t forget me. How do I repay the loan if I am not paid?

“But my bank is closed today..”
Haven’t you heard of automatic transfer services?

”But I promise you, I am not a thief!”
Well why don’t you just pay then?

”Sorry, we went to Italy for a break”
Lucky you.

”Because of the Bank holidays we don’t know when we will be able to pay you.”
Right. I am losing fast my sense of humour here. Notice served.

It felt a bit like talking to a wall. They didn’t understand where I was coming from. I am feeling very British right now. So British that I am seriously considering selling the whole thing and investing somewhere else. I can’t put up with such attitudes any more. And life is too short, right? I told you, I am angry.

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Muriel (pronounced MuriEL, not
MEWriel). is a French native
currently residing in London. She
is a recent collumnist for a popular
relationship website and maintians
her own personal blog:
French Yummy Mummy

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Jeffrey! I will tweet, etc...There is nothing like a good old rant on a Monday, right?

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    1. No, thank you. I love the occasion guest blogger. And this was just the sort of thing I like to rant about.

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  2. I bet here in the US, we get even fewer holidays.
    That does explain a lot about the French, doesn't it?

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    1. I know plenty of people who treat every Friday as if it's a personal holiday. Work seems to grind to a halt on Friday's.

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  3. You got to love the bank holidays, though. Time off to work on the blog and writing. God bless the holidays! Maybe I should move to France, they have it real cushy with the month of May off.

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    1. Oddly enough, I know plenty of people who are going to have this coming Monday off. I agree, it may be a good time to catch up on some of my writing and blog reading.

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  4. I think that might drive me bonkers.

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    1. Having a lot of days off? Or being a business owner and worrying about everyone staying home instead of shopping and such?

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  5. I think the U. S. could learn a thing or two about giving workers time off. I definitely like the idea of a whole month off. We are so work oriented that we forget about personal and family needs.

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    1. I wouldn't mind a month off. I'd like it more if it were a paid month off.

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  6. It must be nice taking those days off and the whole month of August. Unless, of course, you have things to do.

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    1. I suppose if you are trying to run a business, having everyone take off all the time can be annoying. Especially if you are losing money out of the deal.

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  7. Great post, Muriel! Don't work too hard now that you've taken on the role as a Brit. I think we would all benefit from many more paid days off than what we have now. Of course.. being that I'm currently unemployed in the US, I get all my days off. Unfortunately, they are all without pay.

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    1. That's how my job is. If you take off, you don't get paid. So I don't take many days off.

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  8. I feel ya. My sister's wedding is in 3 weeks and that's taking up ALL my extra time, so my writing has slowed to a crawl until after June 5. :D

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    1. I think I need to find just one day where all I do is write. Well, I can wish for that anyway.

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  9. Interesting perspective. Is a new way of looking. http://www.bellofpeace.org

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  10. Here's the excuse I seem to get a lot: "I'm out of the country, so I can't pay you until I'm back." Last time I checked, the Internet is available from almost everywhere. Besides, if you're out of the country, why are you sending me urgent requests for me to perform work?

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    1. Yea, if you can send an email, you can do online banking. It's simple and easy.

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  11. Hi Muriel and Jeffrey - holidays and time off - we do slow down that's for sure and I'm sure things get lost in the system of time working and time off ... managing a small business must be tricky, as there are lots of struggling smaller businesses out there ...

    Take care - almost over now and 2 months of full on work ahead!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. I'd love to slow down and take a holiday. That's for sure. Too busy working.

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