It Is Mind Scrabbling

(Theresa Wilbanks) #1

When I saw Dora the Explorer Scrabble I did a virtual pirouette! It would be perfect for my two 8 year old English students, but then I saw that it was €41... In shock, I dropped it. Then, Uno, €21 and Monopoly €52... seriously.

I can fly to Scotland for €12 (Ryanair) and stay in a hostel for €13 and return with my Dora Scrabble and Uno, combined cost €15. That is €40 total for the games plus the trip vs the €62 it would cost me to walk less than a quarter mile and buy it.

More practical but less fun... I could order it from a US site and have it sent to my dad, then he could ship it to us for $52 total or €37. He could charge a $30 handling and inconvenience fee and it would still save me €1 and a 5min walk. He could throw in some dental floss that doesn’t break every time I use it - priceless!

Last year, we brought three pair of Levi’s back for a friend because together they were the price of what one pair would cost her here. Every year we load up on gear in the US, often 65% less than the exact same item if purchased here. Apparently, we are fortunate to have a concrete courtyard and were not aware of the weed wacker gear issues we would face if we had a yard...

‘I am an expatriate frenchman living in California. I have kept the family house in France. I would like someone to investigate why gardening tools like weed wackers and landmowers are so expensive in France. Check the Ryobi brand (4 cycle engine) for weedwackers cost more than twice when purchased in french. I eventually bought one in the US $150 and had it shipped to France. It seems to me that the middlemen in france and or the hyper markets are complice with the politiciens to keep competition out and prices high. I have been maintaining this family house in France for over 15 years and I have never understood why these things are so expensive in France.’ (from a comment on this article-

Why do the French folks put up with such ridiculously high prices. The exact question was found where all burning questions are answered, Yahoo Answers. ‘Why is France so expensive and why do natives put up with it?’

The best answer chosen, ‘Because the prices are high, when our currency was switched to Euros many not very honest people just changed the currency on the small priced items. That means that the price was multiplied by up to seven. Since then we kept our high prices.’

Although I don’t exactly understand that answer it explains why the Dora Scrabble box was so faded. It must have been around since the French Franc, ~2002.

More research led to the "Old Franc Conversion Theory" and the "Golden Ticket Mentality", but these theories create more questions than answers.

The following, however, was validating and we may follow suit to lower our grocery bill: ‘An increasing number of British expats living in France are buying everyday essentials like food shopping in the UK and having it delivered because it is cheaper.’ Then this from the same article, ‘One expat said that his car recently needed a new clutch, which was going to cost €300 from a local garage but he found one on Ebay for £38 plus £10 delivery,~€48’,

Why are ‘we’ striking over a 2 year increase in the retirement age and not this??? This is a strike I would join, if I were employed...

(Catharine Higginson) #2

We buy almost everything from car parts to toothpaste in the UK, US or elsewhere in Europe. Veg comes from the farmer down the road and if there was a shopping service near us, i would probably use it.

(Sarah Beattie) #3

The dawning realisation that you can buy online from the Uk and that, even with the carriage costs, it can be a fraction of the cost in France will have an impact. I bought all my kitchen appliances and the worktops and handles through ebay and other website. The young French man who works at my neighbour’s kitchen making business was so amazed by how little I paid, he went online and bought a Falcon cooker for his kitchen, direct from the UK. The French made sink, I bought online from the Uk, was sadly broken by the plumber. His insurer had to pay three times the price to buy the same one in France!! My neighbour priced up the European walnut worktops here - his suppliers’ delivery cost alone was what I ended up paying in total for the delivered worktops from the Uk (and mine were thicker!) The internet will eventually push prices down here as it has in the UK. It just takes a bit longer as most people haven’t been too savvy about it.

(Stuart Wilson) #4

Excellent blog. My sentiments exactly about striking over prices. I honestly believe we need the retirement age increased. Otherwise prices will go up even more. Now there’s a vicious circle.