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Everything posted by velcorin

  1. 484 cases, but can't all be proven. Lease your car from a Luxemburgoise(sp?) company and drive how the h*ll you like[:D] http://www.leparisien.fr/essonne-91/juvisy-2200eur-d-amendes-pour-le-recordman-des-exces-de-vitesse-10-09-2010-1062607.php
  2. I got the extanded family bit given to me on a plate, curtesy of the missus. From this side it's not all rosy integration stuff. I can look at the calender at the beginning of the year, and know exactly where I'm going to be, with whom, what we'll be doing, and what we're eating, on certain dates. Sometimes it makes us want to scream with boredom. Unfortunately, there is no "politically" acceptable get out. All the family thinks the same, but no one dare break the code, I'd assume it's the same in other French families, it's just duty, however unwanted it is, and however much you dislike other family members.
  3. French businesses treat e-mails as some sort of witchcraft, and to be ignored. Drives me up the wall. One of my German colleagues calls them (the French) technology deniers, unless THEY invented it [:D]
  4. It seems there are a few inconsistancies in the gendamarmes version of events at Saint Aignan http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/drame-de-saint-aignan-un-gendarme-va-etre-mis-en-examen-09-09-2010-1061138.php You'd have to question the Dwarf's political judgement if the police weren't absolutely, 100%, squeaky clean in this case. He's built his whole "Save Sarko's Skin" policy around it. If wasn't so cynical, it'd be funny. And the EU were having a go at him today.
  5. Seemed perfectly sensible to me. The more you drive, the more you pollute, the more wear and tear to the infrastructure, congestion you cause, the more you should pay. In Europe, the variable costs/km associated with driving should be at least twice what they are currently. Make everyone think twice before they drive anywhere. Make the middle classes live nearer to work. Stop the school runs. Just popping to the shops for a pint of milk? More video conferencing. Price people onto public transport. I'm struggling to find a negative side to pay/km[:D] The DE never read the dicussion document, and relied on a couple of rentaquotes for the story. They certainly know how to pitch a story to press Theiere's button[:)] Wonder what it says in the other 300 pages, or whatever? It'll never happen. European automotive industry has managed to shoot down anything from the EU that might just stop 1 car sale.
  6. [quote user="DerekJ"] But live there permanently...  sorry not for me. French customer service, shopping, prices, bureaucracy and the like (much of the things already mentioned in this thread) would send me crazy. [/quote] My wife (French) would crawl over hot coals to return to the UK, for all these reasons. Plus, suffocating family, total lack of work opportunities, rubbish TV, films, theatre, bissous, she can go on for hours. (It's not going to happen, unless I change jobs.) On the other hand, she fully intends on retiring back to France (we're in our 30s!), she can appreciate that then she can effectively pull up the drawbridge, and only interact with the bits of France she wants to, and not have to deal with the whole package.
  7. As a daily SNCF commuter, give me Network South East, even Virgin, any day. Weekly trains fail to stop at stations because the driver forgot, 3-4 hour waits outside of teminals, toilets never work. I've never experienced a derailment in UK or Spain where I commuted daily for the same number of years. 3 in France[:-))] Lines temporarily shut for no given reason. A management policy, not to tell their staff anything, so they don't have to tell the passengers. Constant begging. Smoking. I've seen drivers, frogmarched off trains by the Police, stinking of alcohol. On TGVs (which cost 10s of billions), offpeak, it is a pleasant experience. Commuter trains are somewhere in Dante's imagination. Bit, of a pet subject of mine, this one. There does seem to be a bit of a myth surrounding the French rail system. Point of interest. Rail workers get free travel, their partners, any children, in-laws, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers............And the pension bill is more than the revenue of the entire network.
  8. Quite apart from the political considerations, maybe the MOD might want to check the French media..................and not let them build any of them[:D] 2008 the Rafaele fleet was grounded for 5 months due to a virus in the avionics package. Admitted after the problem had been fixed. In 20 years, despite paying the best bribes, they haven't sold a single one outside of France. Definately not from lack of effort[:D] 2009 Bastille Day. 2 Leclerc tanks missing from the parade unit. When asked why, the Army admitted at any time they were lucky if only 90% were immobile and they didn't have enough good ones today[:D] I think was 4 years after commissioning before the CdG moved under it's own power[:D] NB the nearest I came to the Armed Forces was 2 weeks officer training with the Paras. Hated it, spent most of trhe time bored out of my mind. I admire anyone who came put up with it.  
  9. I wonder if some sort of urban myth has built up around UK personal debt? Certainly the personal insolvency statistics have stayed very low over the last 2-3 years, when, considering all the media hype you would have expected to see them spike dramatically. Mortgages in arrears more than 3 months (in a 3 year period) is around 2%, again low. Certainly the data doesn't support the media stories. In fact there is a serious negative side at an economic, and social level, if personal debt is not incurred. Japan is the classic example, 20 years of stagnation, slow economic, and social, death. Finding the happy medium is would be good!
  10. Will. Lagarde did propose a central register last year for credit cards, but more importnatly "credit revolving". These are easy to obtain loans, where you just have to pay back the interest each month. I know people who have got several, because they don't declare on the application form their other loans, and that cannot be checked. Anyway, the idea was quietly dropped. The suspicion was that BdF had done an initial trial, and the numbers were so catastrophically bad, that it was a case of "ignorance is bliss". One thing I always admire the French authorities for...........if you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question[:D] One pertinant figure, is that France, does have the highest level of personal insolvencies in Europe. Which has always suggested to me that the level of personal debt is many, many times higher than officially acknowledged. Considering the ease of access non-bank credit, it would seem people, eventually, cannot meet all their obligations. I think most British people are not aware, that in France, most personal finance credit is via non-bank means, the statutory rules do not apply. Just watch all the ads on TV for instant EUR5K loans.
  11. Unsecured UK debt is calculated on last working day of the month. Credit card bills are not yet due, therefore include all personal credit card, store cards and corporate card balances which are settled in full. The figure is highly misleadinding, is general ignored, except by lazy journos who haven't got a clue, but need a story. As a side issue the UK is the only country to collect such data, and therefore there isn't actually any other country to compare with[;-)]
  12. I'll be honest 5E my wife won't rent to over 60s. The law is just too restrictive on the landlord(lady in this case). So we end up actively discrimating against anyone over retirement age. It's not the fault of the age group, but the law. My speciality is not consumer finance, but corporate finance. However, from the position of a lender, one consideration I take, is the status of the borrower in respect of media/political interest. I would be very nervous about lending to an OAP. Specifically, if the asset had to be repossessed due to none payment, what would be the media, or political, reaction? Very negative to my company would be the assumption. Therefore steer clear. Similarly, steer clear of lending to charities, to old peoples homes, to anything which potentially could generate negative publicity. Unfortunately it is the way the world works. I know how the DM/DT writes it's stories, so blame them and their ilk around Europe.
  13. I wish you hadn't mentioned Sunday trading, my particular "most hated thing about France"....................I'm going to have to go outside for a fag, otherwise I'll ranting for hours. 2 people leave the flat at 7.00am, everyday, arrive back at 7.30pm everyday. We get Sat to do the shopping, banks, insurance, look at houses, furniture, cars, TVs..................and Sunday?..............nothing, nada, rien, zilch. Sorry couldn't help it. Going for a fag now!
  14. To be honest Chancer, I don't know everything they do, or don't do. I've had Works Councils in Germany, which are similar, but our lot seem to be the inhouse Business Prevention Team. Officially, they represent the workers in all parts of the business, we have 2 CE members on the Board. HR has to advise them of all actions. The company gives them money to offer perks to the staff, such as free holidays, childrens parties, works parties. They don't issue any Accounts, so I don't know where the money actually goes. I'm sure you're seen bits about some of the abuses that have gone on, in the media. How you get on the CE? Don't know. Officially there are elections each year. I've not been asked to vote in 4 years. Don't get me wrong. They do very valuable work. Anyone who's every worked in a large French business will know the management style is extremely confrontional, to the degree which would be considered assault in the UK!
  15. The man is a complete nut case (pun intended). You have got to read this, use Babelfish if you have to, it's just, well word fail me............ http://www.francesoir.fr/faits-divers/un-jeune-homme-mordu-au-sexe-par-un-pitbull.12765
  16. Congrats[:D] Sous chef with no paper? Well, at least he's a bloke. My limited experience of French woman, limited to my wife's own family. None of them can cook to save their lives. So if you're a bloke, and don't want to die of starvation, learn to cook. Fast. Or it's pizza emporter.
  17. True story, slightly off at a tangent, but vaguely thereabouts. One of staff I have, male, in his forties, BAC+lots, has a phobia about electricity, apparently he's always had this problem. He won't use the computer, telephone, etc, which makes actually impossible to do his job. He is so shy, he won't look at people, and won't talk to anyone. When I arrived, he actually spent all day filing, leaving me one body short for the tasks assigned, no increase in headcount permitted, so how do I get rid of Useless? Speak to HR, they speak to the union. Next thing a delegation from the CE turns up in my office. "No you can't get rid of Useless, he's been here too long, it would not be fair. In fact, we have reviewed the situation in this office. We demand you reduce all staff hours to match the number of hours he works, as it is unfair they work harder." 7 staff reduced to about 1 hour per day. To suggest it was not the result I wanted is a understatement, can't fault the CE logic though. I'm not going to be here for ever, and the CE can't get me sacked, as officially I'm a UK employee seconded to Germany, and employed by them in France. My decision? Don't tell the other poor s*ds, and tell them that it's been agreed that they will cover for Useless. Who employed the useless moron?, I don't know. Why?, I don't know. However it is irrelevant. He has the correct bits of paper, the fact that he is useless is not the fault of the person who employeed him. He had the pieces of paper, he's in........forever. France, and it's bits of paper..................[:P]
  18. I did find it slightly bizarre that they had to ask 50,000 people (in good old sexist France, they were all female), to find out what their customers wanted. One post on here would have soon told them, or visit 3 stores at random in the UK, job done.
  19. Currently, it is illegal to purchase medicines, human and animal, in France. Thanks to the pharmacy mafia. Estrosi has no intention of changing that position. http://www.leparisien.fr/flash-actualite-politique/medicaments-sur-internet-christian-estrosi-pret-a-saisir-la-justice-25-08-2010-1042711.php    
  20. For all you lovers (not!), of French supermarkets, Carrefour are trying to do something about it. Incorporating all sorts for 20th century (!) tricks, like zoning, wider aisles, nice staff (stop laughing at the back!), promotions people understand. No mention of getting the prices right, improving the quality of stuff, or actually having some stock, but it's a start..................... http://www.francesoir.fr/economie/carrefour-reinvente-l-hyper.11905
  21. We do have a couple of UK bank accounts, never needed to contact them though, all our income is here. Only my mum and dad to contact in the UK, they have Skype. French family all have Skype, mainly on mobiles. I've never needed to contact HMRC, central HR have done that. Outside of work, I can't think of anyone in the UK I'd call. I hadn't appreciated some people still needed a landline to make calls, I stand corrected.
  22. I assumed everyone used Skype, why the need for free international calls? Do some people still use a standard phone? My Dad pays GBP6.99 a month to BT, and uses Skype.
  23. TVA going from 5.5% to 19.6%. Ignore the bit about how much of the invoice will attract the increased rate. Currently they are looking at ways to tax the air you breathe, so assume it will be all of it (As of a couple of months France has had the highest budget deficit in the OECD, anyone notice the UK media stopped talking about that?[:D]) http://www.leparisien.fr/economie/internet-les-offres-triple-play-pourraient-etre-davantage-taxees-24-08-2010-1041573.php
  24. In France they are from Senegal, Cote d'Ivorie, in the UK it's Nigeria. in Germany Nigeria, Ghana. In many cases you/we all, have more money than they can ever dream. Not eating is a big motivator. I'm afraid you will have to remain ultra careful, they can't be stopped. Only deal face to face, with cleared funds from a European bank, never return overpayments (make it their problem).
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