Things the French would never pay for (especially #2)

Written by Diane on. Posted in on life in France

things french wouldn't spend money on

At first glance, the French and Americans seem similar enough. People of both nationalities eat, sleep, work, vacation, drink, smoke. Normal human things. But how do we spend money? Differently. Here are 5 things the French would never spend their hard-earned cash on.

GO!

Everyone is different but I can say that generally speaking, the French would not spend money on the following 5 things. And of course these are just generalizations and I’m sure some French people pay for these things and many Americans do not. Just a few thoughts based on my own observations.

5 Things the French would never pay for:

1. Pet sitting

The French love their pets but the pet care industry stands in sharp contrast to what it is in the United States. Dog walking and pet sitting, outside of major cities (and even there it’s lacking), are pretty much nonexistent and people just have friends or family or a local kennel look after their pets. There’s no French dogvacay.com equivalent (that I know of) and you don’t hear or see much from dog walkers or pet sitters. And trust me, there are a ton of dogs here. So, maybe the French would pay for quality pet care if it were available?

french-dog-poop-spot

2. Someone to pick up dog poop in your yard

The French are notorious for leaving a steaming fresh pile of poo on the sidewalk for all to see, so if they won’t even pick it up when it’s staring them in the face when walking down the street, forget about cleaning up their yard. But someone’s got to pick it up, right? That person is not an employee of a poop and scoop service, I’ll tell you that. No idea what I’m talking about? Yes, in the U.S., dog waste removal services have become really popular and simply put, people pay a fee to have someone physically come to their property and pick up their dog’s poop and remove it for them.

The French see no point in paying someone to do doggy poo poo duty when they themselves don’t even pick up after their dogs (this is slowly changing). But this business is alive and well in the United States. Do you use a service like this?

american house with flag

3. Big, expensive national flags

America is a proud country (and an enthusiastic one!), like many other countries around the world. But we like showing it via our flag and all that it stands for. Cruise down any suburban street in the U.S. and you’ll see many Americans displaying our country’s stars and stripes outside their homes as part of their lawn decor or even larger-than-life flag poles and intricate mailboxes. This was even more prevalent in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. France shows their pride in other ways and you won’t see many houses (not sure I’ve even seen one outside of the World Cup or other major sporting event) displaying France’s flag. And spend hundreds of euros on an intricate flag and pole? No way. Doesn’t happen here.

4. Boutique fitness studios

One aspect of American life I miss the most is the availability of trendy fitness studios like barre3, Orange Theory, Soul Cycle, etc. that are getting really popular even in smaller cities and suburbs now back home. Unfortunately, memberships for these types of places aren’t cheap and can run around $20-35 per class or a couple of hundred dollars a month. But it’s well worth it if it’s something you enjoy and that motivates you. The French would never pay this kind of money (OK, Paris maybe but still) for a workout and are about five years behind the American fitness scene in my opinion. I would say they don’t know what they’re missing out on. Dommage!

American vs. French gym culture… the differences revealed! >>

5. Dinner and a movie at the same time

In the U.S., AMC Dine-In Theatres and similar concepts have popped up all over the place. Put simply, you eat your meal while watching the movie on the big screen. Your seat has a tray so you don’t have to balance everything on your lap and a waiter comes to take your order and deliver your selection. Americans like that they can kill two birds with one stone and have an upscale service while checking out the latest blockbusters. But the French would find eating in the dark at the cinema odd (they barely even buy popcorn and a soda at the movies) and would definitely not “get” the concept. Why? Mealtimes are sacred in France. OK, not really but meals are a big deal and not times to multitask or rush. Sunday lunches with the family are occasions to unwind, indulge a little and enjoy good company at a leisurely pace. It’s not something you do at the movies. I’m sure a bunch of Americans would agree!

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Anything to add? What are some things the French would never pay for?

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Comments (9)

  • Punaiz

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    Clean the shoes?
    You might find in lots of countries street services to clean the shoes.
    You’d starve to death if trying to have any french pay for this.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      There are no shoe shine shops in French train stations? I have to say I’ve never looked. Why do you think the French wouldn’t pay, they clean their own shoes? Good addition

      Reply

      • Laetitia - French Fries and Apple Pie

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        That’s true, no shoe shine shops in France. At least no the way you may think about it. We do have “cordonniers”, but they are more about fixing shoes than make them shine.
        As far as I’m concerned I do take care of this myself… not that I wouldn’t pay for it.. just that I wouldn’t really know where to go to have it done 🙂

        Reply

  • Alan Mentzer

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    We found our pet-sitter in the British Expat community. It was an effort.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      I believe it! Glad you found someone though

      Reply

  • Jessica

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    What an interesting post!

    Thanks to some creative googling in French, I did find some pet sitters 2 years ago when looking for someone to keep my cat for about a month. I live in the Paris vicinity, though, so maybe there are more options… The ones I ended up using were gardicanin but a search for “garde animaux” turns up quite a few results (for those of you who might be in the market!).

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yes, I’ve heard there are more options for pet services in the Paris area. Thank you for the recommendation!

      Reply

  • Laetitia - French Fries and Apple Pie

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    Diane, I love your blog and its content. Each one of your post is just fantastic and I love to read about your opinions on the French way of life, and it definitely makes more sense now that I live in the US!

    In regards with Pet sitting, I’m not sure what those services cover since I don’t have a pet here. However, when I lived in Grenoble and used to have a cat, I knew one company that would come over to your place a couple of times a week when you were gone to feed the cat, refresh the water and hang out for a little while.
    However, I’ve never contracted such services because, as I mentioned in your post, I had either friends or family to take care of that 🙂

    The diner and movie thing : never saw that in France, but there’s one place here in Portland that I’ve tried and I loved it! Would definitely go back!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Thanks so much, Laetitia! That really means a lot. I just write my blog for fun, as a hobby to help others (not my job or anything) and spend a lot of time on it so when I find out that my posts help/resonate/make people laugh/etc., it validates that all the time spent on posts is worth it. 😉 So again, a heartfelt thanks.

      So cool to hear that you are French and enjoyed the dine-in movies. But maybe because you’re exposed to American culture that you somehow have an open mind toward these “weird” American things. haha, I don’t know. Are you in Maine or Oregon?

      Reply

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