23 July 2009

Never in America, or, The French and Taxes

As part of the economic stimulus package that the French government has put in place in the wake of the global recession, part of it was the reduction of the VAT (a sales tax, almost) from 19.6% to 5.5% for restaurants.

Naturally, most restaurateurs were ecstatic and went to the trouble of printing up new menus with the "Before" and "After" price. Not bad marketing all things considered, consumers like to know how much they're saving.

One evening while sharing a bottle of wine with a friend at a bar in the Marais called Les Philosophes, however, I noticed something curious. They had indeed printed up new menus, or at least a new front page, but it wasn't what I was expecting. The title read, "Restaurant contre la baisse de la TVA", or, "Restaurant against the lowering of the VAT."

What followed was a full page diatribe (Garamond, 10pt. type) on why they thought the lowering of taxes was a bad idea. I was already a bit too far into the bottle of red to be bothered to read the entire thing, but it really struck me as uniquely French: the government lowers the taxes and the citizens refuse.

Just like home, right?

1 comment:

  1. Guillaume11:36 AM

    That sounds very much like a Stephen Clarke comment !