Why Paris Limits Discounts

It’s the time of year when it’s fun to walk down a street like the rue de Passy in the 16th, or any Paris shopping street, to see what creative ways the window designers have come up with to show off the summer sale.

France is a country where most people do not really approve of market capitalism. This is a country where antique dealers have managed to make tag sales/garage sales illegal except once a year for an entire town, in the name of “unfair competition,” and where limiting soldes (sales) to twice a year is meant to keep big stores from driving small ones out of business by undercutting them. There are actually inspectors who go around making sure no one has sales at other times.

The American idea that when stores are open longer, people spend more money, is not considered relevant here. Even if it is true that companies make more money on Sundays or at night, the French courts have sided with unions who argue that employees should simply not have to work then.

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