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.
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. Doggy daycare
The French love their pets but the pet care industry stands in sharp contrast to what it is in the United States. It’s just not as developed. Dog daycare, outside of major cities, is pretty much nonexistent and you would rarely see doggy daycare places in France like you would in the U.S., where pet owners drop off their dog for a set period of time instead of leaving him or her alone while at work all day.
While dog walkers do exist in France, culturally it’s not quite as mainstream as in the U.S. A big reason for this is that in France, many people work near their homes and sometimes eat lunch at home so they can walk their dog then. The French seem to have friends, family, or a local kennel look after their pets more often than hiring a dog sitter or walker.
In recent years, more pet services seem to be popping up and that’s a good thing because many people have dogs. I think the French would pay for quality pet care if it were more readily available.
Again, to be clear there are people who offer dog sitting and dog walking services but the industry is much smaller in France. Doggy daycare, on the other hand, is something that’s very, very uncommon.
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 says the stereotype, 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?
For the record, more and more parks are offering free waste bags and the French have gotten a lot better at picking up after their dogs.
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.
Unless it’s a national sporting event, memorial, public address, or tragedy, expressing patriotism in public is seen as a bit of a faux pas.
It might even lead people to believe you’re a supporter of the far right. Would the French spend hundreds of euros on an intricate flag and pole to decorate their lawn like we see in US properties? No way. Doesn’t happen here and would be quite unusual.
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. The Paris studios I’ve tried don’t compare and don’t have the cult followings you’d find in the US.
Little by little, yoga and Crossfit studios are popping up but it’s nowhere near what it is in the USA. I would say they don’t know what they’re missing out on. Dommage!
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.
If you want to have a meal, then focus on the meal. Meals are intentional. If you want to see a movie, then see a movie. The two don’t mix! 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!
Anything to add? What are some things the French would never pay for?