mercredi, janvier 10, 2007

SOLDES!! and Canadian Bars

So, this morning I was waiting for the bus to get to work and I noticed that a woman near me was wearing a black jacket with a white maple leaf on the back. I got a bit closer, and noticed the following in badly-silkscreened lettering: "Enjoy the relaxing lifestyle of Canadian nature."

Wow.

I really wanted to sneak a picture of the back of her jacket, but I was at the bus stop with a crowd of people, and I would've looked really creepy, snapping a picture of the back of a middle-aged woman's body in public. So you'll just have to believe me when I say I wasn't making this up.

After work, I headed over to the grands magasins, such as Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. Why? Because there's:

SOLDES!!!! SOLDES SOLDES SOLDES SOLDES SOLDES

...or at least that's what all the ads around town have been saying. In fact, the Galeries Lafayette ads say "Soldissimes," which sort of translates into "super-soldes." Anyway, soldes is a French word for "sale." The grands magasins of Paris (Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, BHV, Samaritaine, Le Bon Marché) tend to have their sales at the same time, and the January sales here are similar to Boxing Week in Canada or Black Friday in the States. Everyone is getting rid of their holiday stock, so you encounter some pretty amazing sales.

I partially just went to see the human drama that is sale-shopping in France. It's consumerism as blood-sport. In Printemps, people were diving through bins of t-shirts, clutching their favorites to their chest; in the shoe department, people were clustering around the wearied workers, trying on anything that would fit, while the Prada shoes salespeople, with their "not on sale" sign, were left untouched. I managed to be completely unimpressed by what was on sale. Sure, there were some nice things, but generally the nice things weren't on sale. It was the first day of the post-holiday sales and I couldn't find anything to catch my attention.

Also: what's up with Levi's jeans in Europe? I mean, I always heard about how jeans in general are so much more expensive here, but Levi's jeans are NOT luxury items in North America (and they're viewed as the basic, cheap, non-label), but in Paris there was a whole section devoted to Levis jeans, right next to Diesel (and at similar prices). It's mad, I tell you. Besides, nobody's ass looks good in Levi's.

Anyway, I had better luck in Galeries Lafayette. There were some nice scarves on the main floor (alas, all cashmere and zillions of dollars) and a few nice ties. I eventually got a set of 3 really cute ties from the Nodus booth. I think I have more ties than I do shirts at this moment. I had made it upstairs and was chuckling away in the men's underwear department (it's hilarious to watch 9-5 businessmen shopping for thongs as if it were no big deal), when an announcement came on saying that the store was closing. It was only 8pm! Nonetheless, everybody made a dash for the cashiers. In total non-North American retail practice, all the salespeople started to walk up and down the aisles, telling people to wrap it up and get out. If ONLY we had been allowed to say that to customers when I was working in retail. When I was in retail, you booked at least an hour after work to wait for the final stragglers to leave and close up the shop. The woman who accosted me in the underwear department already had her purse over her shoulder, ready to head for the door.

After all of that mess, I headed over to the "other" Canadian bar (they're both owned by the same company), The Moose. The place is a short walk from the Odéon métro stop, on a small side street. The bar itself is pretty straightforward, doing their best to present an (anglophile) Canadian pub. The menu had standard pub-grub, Moosehead on tap (not my favourite, but alright) and a series of Unibroue beers in the bottle (Maudite, Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles). Of course, they also had hockey on the TVs. What did I do? I got a Fin du Monde, a big bowl of poutine, and I watched the game. Beauty, eh? Fer sure.

The bar itself was rather OK. The poutine was recognizably poutine, but they used grated cheese instead of fresh cheese curds. Meh. Also, the staff hiring policy was obviously "grumpy quebecois hippies or breast-enabled anglophones only." For whatever reason, the bartender kept on slamming his hand on the bar to punctuate phrases. I don't think he was doing it consciously, but it made my beer froth up. Also, the crowd was mostly French people, treating the place like a French Bar. That is, huddled in tight groups around tables, talking only to themselves.

One poutine and two beers later, I headed home and settled in. I managed to finally get the new memory installed into my laptop (see yesterday). Although I was a bit nervous as I did it, the new memory worked fine and my computer ran a fair bit faster. The change is most noticeable in startup times; the OS loads quicker and my programs open in 2-3 seconds. Also, content-heavy webpages load a bit more smoothly. All in all, I'm very happy I finally got around to it!

2 commentaires:

Marie a dit…

When I worked at Levi's in Mtl (oh yes, during the glorious days of cégep) a huge part of our clientele was French tourists who would show up with literally a shopping list with the dimensions of their whole family; they'd pick up 5-8 pairs of jeans to take back to France, exclaiming all the while how incredibly cheap they were. It seemed so weird to me, because really, why would you buy Levi's (unless you worked at their store and were forced to wear them every day)?

En tout cas, I'm sad to have missed your too-brief frolicking on North American soil...guess we'll have to make it up some other time.

LMGM a dit…

Yeah, that whole Levi's thing stumps me. Also, they had a HUGE section devoted to LEE's jeans (remember those things?), with this whole Eddie-Bauer-esque line of "I'm going hiking in downtown Paris!" shirts and sweaters.