DIY in France

Construction Sign
DIY is one of the most popular activities in France if the constant flow of traffic into the DIY (bricolage) shops is anything to go by.

One reason for this is that it’s next to impossible to get anyone to do odd-jobs here so many more people are forced down the DIY route than would otherwise be the case. The range of items for sale is much larger than that in the equivalent places in the UK. Electical equipment runs right up to professional gear in the larger stores and you can buy everything required to build a house from scratch which is also a fairly popular activity. I well remember one old couple wheeling out everything that they needed to floor a room in their house from the floorboards to the tools required.

The popularity of the activity is most noticeable just prior to public holidays when it’s best to avoid these places unless you’ve a considerable amount of time to spare as the queues are just unbelieveable.

Naturally, whilst it might be a popular activity, that doesn’t mean that the work is necessarily done terribly well. Not that the workmanship of the professionals is always better of course as you can see from the not quite perfect sign from this DIY store.

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2 Responses to “DIY in France”

  • Panthère rose says:

    This is something I’ve heard quite often about the French. It seems that any type of service, whether it is delivering appliances, hiring someone to work on their home, or postal service is done when the worker feels like doing it, not when the customer needs it done. Not to mention, the postal service is horrible! So, what is it? Do the French just have a poor work ethic? Are they lazy? Arrogant? Or is it just the fact that firing someone is near impossible in France? I just don’t know how anyone can run a business in France.

  • Arnold says:

    It’s a bit of all of those I think.

    Since it’s next to impossible to fire someone once they’ve got a job, there will clearly be a number of people working (well, in jobs anyway) who just do the minimum possible. What makes this worse is that the tax system means that it’s not really working overlly hard. Combine those two and you’re bound to end up with a considerable number of people working well below their capacity.

    I don’t know that they had a poor work ethic to begin with, but over time a combination of fairly high statutory minimum salaries and a tax system effectively capping the incentive to work harder (it’s not possible to work longer due to the 35 hour week), are bound to erode any enthusiasm for work.

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