Je suis French

I think I’ve finally become French.

At the supermarket this morning, my total came to exactly 15€.
I fished around my wallet and found a 20€ note.

So I handed that over.

With an apology, of course.

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  • Judith in Umbria
    February 12, 2007 9:17am

    And for entirely different reasons (different culture, of course) I ahve either gone mad or become Italian.
    Poor us.

  • GuyDerbordInAfrica
    February 12, 2007 9:50am

    I am French and I don’t understand the meaning of what you just wrote David! You must not be French!
    Did you know that the Ivory Coast producers of chocolate (they produce 40% of the chocolate in the World) use thousands of abducted children as slaves? Interesting article (in French to test your Frenchitude).

  • February 12, 2007 12:31pm

    I hate fives, they’re too small and they always get dirty, develop tears and end up wadded up in the small corner of my coin purse. But I do understand what your saying. Guess what? Someone asked me what my nationality was and I said “je suis francaise de l’origine etranger” and they said – oh. end of conversation! It’s a show stopper!

  • February 12, 2007 1:33pm

    I’m French and although I have lived abroad for a long time, I don’t get it: could you enlighten us?

  • Joseph
    February 12, 2007 4:40pm

    I’m not french, I work in a restaurant in Israel, and got a 5 euro bill in the tip jar- no one wants to exchange me for it!

  • February 12, 2007 6:27pm

    Ok…can someone who lives here please explain it better than I can?

    In Paris, it’s always your fault. If someone steps on your foot, it’s you’re fault (“What was your foot doing under mine?”) If you find a hair in your food, you apologize to the waiter for bothering them.
    The other day some guy eating a sandwich walks right into me, full force, and drops it. Needless to say, it was all my fault…of course!

    [GDinA: On another note, I tend to buy and promote chocolate from small producers when I can, although it’s very difficult here in France since I don’t know of many (Bernachon, Pralus, etc…but they’re not available in quantity in Paris.) Since I use a lot of chocolate, 3-4kg per week, I tried to purchase bulk chocolate directly from Michel Cluizel (which is not that small, but is made locally, near Paris) and they wouldn’t sell direct to me.

    If you know of any sources in France that sell artisan chocolate in bulk quantities directly to consumers, I’d love to know about them. You can leave that info in the comments area here since it would be helpful to other readers who may be looking to do the same by buying local.

    There’s been a lot of discussion about the working conditions in the Ivory Coast. Since I’m not a reporter, I advise people to do as much reading as possible for reliable sources. I wonder if people stop using chocolate from the Ivory Coast as a result, does it hurt the corporations or the people who work in the fields?

    You can read more at (in English): The Bitter Truth About Chocolate. In the comments are links to the response from the large chocolate companies, like Hershey’s and Mars, as well.]

  • Karene
    February 12, 2007 6:44pm

    Dear David,
    Maybe what your readers did not get is that before we get the Euro, everybody used to shop for at leat 100 balles (15€ ). Don’t worry I did and do exactly the same. You are French !!!!

  • Henriette
    February 12, 2007 6:52pm

    You forgot to mention what an incredible inconvience you are as a customer simply by being a…customer!!!;-)

    Thanks for making me smile!

  • expat
    February 13, 2007 2:41am


    You could also take a different tack by giving a Gallic shrug and saying a “Je n’y suis pour rien!”

  • February 13, 2007 6:38am

    Oh, I get D! it’s that change thing- even if the tab was 19 plus change, someone would ask if YOU have change. Few stores open with a working till and the onus is on the customer to provide the correct change. It dates to some archaic law… and yes, you must apologize for being in the wrong. Once again. But who cares? Life is good in the Hexagone, even this remote SW corner.

  • February 16, 2007 10:45pm

    How I miss paying in exact change! I have a mountain of change these days, because I can’t stand the New York eye-rolling and foot-tapping as I count out the right amount. Sometimes I go crazy when a store isn’t crowded and just pay out like forty pennies, and it feels great! I think to myself, “this would be ok in France, this would be ok in France…”

  • February 18, 2007 12:01pm

    Even on the road – paying tolls, (Stateside) I’ve had to swing a detour and take some backroads to hit a 50 cent, (rather than the 75 cent) tollbooth on the expressway, because I had the audacity to leave the house without quarters. Apologising while giving a handfull of pennies, dimes and nickels. It seems that some people think money is money, but some people just don’t?

    But now in these “speedpass” enlightened times we can pay slighly more for the convenience of bothering (and encountering)

  • Rona
    February 18, 2007 6:19pm

    Hmmm…yes, I should be living in Paris! I’ve had 18 yrs of practice apologizing for everything in NYC. I’d much rather be enjoying la vie à Paris.