Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sometimes all I can do is shake my head in wonder...

I was walking through Chatelet on my way to the metro after a lesson.  I crossed over Boulevard de Sébastopol in a hurry, but suddenly looked up when I heard a strange noise.  It sounded like une grève.  My first thought was that another strike was going to mess up my day.  I glanced around nervously, wondering who could be on strike and why.  And then I saw where the strike was...

That's right.  KFC (otherwise known as Kentucky Fried Chicken for those of you who are not American).  A fast food restaurant was on strike.  And only that one location in Chatelet / Les Halles.   

I wish I could have taken a picture, but I was in a hurry to catch the metro for my lesson in Clichy, so I didn't have time to dig through my bag.  However, the entire restaurant was covered in posters saying "en grève" and the employees were outside yelling and honking horns.  I still don't know why they were striking, but I'm sure it wasn't the most brilliant reason in the world, since in general it seems like the Frenchies look for any reason possible to go on strike.  It is the national pastime after all.

But for now, all I can do is just wonder and shake my head.  Sometimes I think I will never really be able to understand the French...


  1. I admire their courage in standing up for their rights but I do find strikes to be very disruptive and egocentric.

    For example, I only take the train once a month or so to go to Paris or Montpellier for work.

    The last two times I took the train they were on strike: 1st on the day I went to Paris and I nearly missed a really important meeting, and 2nd when I came back from Montpellier the day before going on holiday. Instead of taking 1h50 to get back, it took me 4 1/2 hours on a TER!!!

    So now I have no pity for the workers of the SNCF as they have made my day hell on the last two occasions I have paid money to them.

  2. I've got a family friend who is a manager at that very KFC. I'll ask her what it was about!

  3. Hahahahahaha!! Only in France. :)

    I love your posts, Michele. I read every one, even if I don't comment on each one, and your insights and observations are so astute. Keep up the good work.

  4. More info on the KFC strike...apparently it is more than just one KFC on strike. About twenty KFCs in Ile de France are on strike and have been for a few days. They are demanding higher salaries, a 13th month of pay and restaurant tickets. And apparently this is not the first time KFC in France has been on strike. I googled KFC greve and came up with a lot more responses than I expected...there was a KFC strike in 2007, 2009 and now 2010. And I'm sure that's not all!

    Karin, I'm glad you enjoy my blog! I appreciate you taking the time to read it!

    pigletinfrance, I agree. The strikes are something that I think will always really irritate me. I also find them very disruptive and egocentric. Everytime I hear about a strike it makes me really angry, even when it doesn't affect me because I just find it so inconsiderate!