Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker

During the strike, an almost empty Parisian cafe is lit and waiting for customers. 
Wait, you say the strikes are still going on in Paris? Yes, why yes they are. What started on December 5th broke a historic record last week. As my friend was getting her groceries a couple days ago she overheard two women at the check out counter discussing. They said it may continue until February 6th!

The transport strikes are around pension reform and quite complicated, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the domino effect of other things that are affected, particularly in Paris. I mean the butcher (horse butcher).

Monsieur Leban, in his eighties and pictured in his apron, is one of the several remaining horse butchers in Paris. His customers, apart from locals, have dwindled. He's the butcher from whom my fictional detective, Aimée Leduc,  buys horse meat for her dog.
And the strike affects all the bakers in the boulangeries who rise early and get the  dough rising and ovens going.

The boulangeries are losing customers who struggle to get on the infrequent Metro or crowded busses and make it to to work. I've heard stories of people walking to work for an hour and a half, of bicycles and scooter clogging the streets and the pavement jammed.
And the candle makers are suffering.
The strikes are tough on business. Many small businesses with tradespeople and craftsmen and women like the candlemaker, have been forced to close.  On top of that, the continuing demonstrations by the gilet jaune protests every Saturday since October, have crippled commerce on streets where the protestors march. Many more cafes, bistros, restaurant fear having to close their doors.
It's the little person who suffers. Economically it's shutting doors and losing revenue in a domino affect.
C'est dommage.
Cara - Tuesday


  1. Seems a long time...is there any resolution in sight?

  2. The Parisians hope so! While people agree and support many of the goals, they are getting fed up.

  3. What a dilemma, Cara! The forces surrounding this issue are so complex. Yes, the pensioners have been led to expect to retire at a certain age and will feel robbed. Yes, continuing the practice opens needed jobs for younger people. But modern medicine has led to many people living well into their 80s and 90s, a huge drain on the public coffers—money needed for many other important purposes.
    That the shutdown is having such a deleterious effect on cherished small businesses makes the soup all the more bitter. I hope some sort of decent compromise can be reached. And SOON!

  4. Whatever the ending, if will be in tears for some. Sad.