Sales Sales Sales

Something that I really dislike about France  and that makes me miss the US a lot is how they have been able to put regulations on just about everything… And that includes when there can be sales…

Therefore, as per the legislation put in place by the DGCCRF (or Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes, some kind of Office of Fair Trading), stores are authorized to run two five-weeks sales periods a year : the summer and winter sales. The summer sales usually start the last wednesday of the month of June and the winter sales start sometimes in January.

And it seems that French people really do love their sales. My sister-in-law was telling me that her assistant would actually ask for a day off on the first day of ‘les soldes’ and it seems that a lot of people really do rush to the stores on that day, a little bit like black Friday I guess…

That is usually my cue to avoid shopping areas. I once ended up at the Part-Dieu shopping center in Lyon on the first day of sales (I was going to the movie theater) and it was quite crazy. The lines to the dressing rooms and the cashiers were unbelievably long! And most stores looked like they had just been visited by some kind of tornadoes. Clothes were piled up everywhere and people were simply rummaging through those piles. What was really weird was that in some stores, it pretty much looked as if they had brought out all the clothes they had not been able to sell for the past 20 years or so: it seemed that some of the items in display could not possibly have been designed in this century.

Now, of course, like for every sales, you can find great deals if you know what you want and you know where to look… For me, it meant going shopping in the little town of Montélimar close to where my parents live: we walked around the little pedestrian zones, stopped-by for a diabolo-fraise in a cut little bar, and the best part of it was that stores were pretty much empty of customers. I am not exactly sure why… Could have been the really warm weather… Could have been that they are building some kind of shopping strips outside of town and that people prefer to go there…. I do not… Empty stores are perfect for my kind of shopping!


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