French Sundries #1.5: Sale Times

Here are the two facts that most surprised us:

  • The bloodline of Louis XIV is still alive. We assumed they had all been killed off. Not so, there are many descendants. They are the equivalent of Americans descending from George Washington. It’s an interesting thing to know about someone, and that’s it.
  • Storekeepers can only have sales at two times during the year.

The second was the more shocking of the two. We happened to be there during the spring sale (that’s the “soldes” sign from the last post). They simply can’t have a sale at any other times during the year, by law. That’s just crazy. How on earth can a shopkeeper compete? Maybe that’s why every store and every restaurant looked the same – they are legally constrained from differentiating themselves. (That’s just a theory. I would think that if your prices have to stay the same, the only way to get more business is to differentiate yourself in some other way, yet no one does. Culture or Law, I wonder which.)

That’s real socialism in action.

France Recap

Allright, so Muttroxia is a little backed up! Our trip to France was 3 months ago, but we’re finally sorting things out now. Sadly, our journal, a work of art, so very literary and insightful and humorous and… well, it doesn’t matter because everything after page 4 got lost somehow. We’re pretty sure our daughter put them down the toilet.

We do have the photos though. For the next couple weeks, Muttroxia will feature photographs of odd little things that struck me as interesting. Allons-y!

Selling in Suburbia

One of the perils of suburbia is Mrs. Muttrox getting invitations to things like Bunco (some people think this is a game of skill) and even Tupperware parties. I can’t believe these things still exist. It feels like something from the Mad Men days. I imagine it is hard to sell the stuff. I mean, I can buy plastic bins at the supermarket, ya know? One clever parent combined the sales schtick with a get-to-know-you of our childs class.

This part of the invitation just killed me.

Dads and children are invited to play outside and enjoy the slip n slide while moms mingle and see the newest in reusable products.

I don’t know which is funnier: That Dads are seen as boisterous morons who will be delighted to be exiled to the slip n’ slide, or the prhase “newest in reusable products”.

How the Rich Stay Rich

(or at least the fairly well-to-do middle-class)

I missed a couple payments on my credit card. I called up and asked them to take off the late fees and interest charged. Sir, were there any special circumstances? No, I just don’t want those charges. OK sir, let me see what I can do. 2 minutes of silence, and then, “Thank you sir, those charges have been removed is there anything else I can do for you today?”

Why on earth does this work? Because I have been with them for 21 years, and I have a good credit score and enough money that they want to keep me as a customer. They think it’s worth refunding me that money to keep my business.

The crazy part is, I’m a terrible customer for them! I haven’t paid any fees to them for the last 15 years! Whenever they get me with something, I call them and they take it off. They don’t make a dime off of me. They just keep extending me short-term loans (that’s what credit is). Free money!

Just So Stories

(As ad-libbed to the kids a few nights ago, when they demanded a made-up story.)

Once there were a people who lived in the deep deep South. They were called Mexicans. The Mexicans were good people. They worked hard. They liked the same things we do. The liked their families, they liked Rajon Rando, and they liked deep rugs and comfy blankets.

They had one big problem. They worked hard and because they worked hard they had money, but all the money was a kind of money called pesos. And nobody liked pesos. Pesos!? That’s not money!, the shopkeepers would say. Come back with dollars. Pesos – is that even a real word? So the Mexicans went hungry. They hadn’t had any food for years. They would turn to each other and say, “These are tough times, we’ll get through this somehow.” Of course they would say this in their own language, which is called Spanish, even though they weren’t from Spain. Don’t ask about that part.

One morning, a young lad (for there weren’t any other kinds of lads) had an idea. He had seen Joan Rivers on TV a few days ago (imagine one of the skeletons from Scooby Doo), remembered his Dad telling him about a superhero who could help them. He called for Letterman!

Our Hero

Letterman saw the problem. He took the pesos, and turned the “P” into a “T”, the “e” into an “A”, and the “s” into a “c”. The day was saved!

And that’s how tacos were invented. Now go to bed.