Saturday, March 14, 2015

Smoke alarms

A recent French law has decreed that all domestic properties should be equipped with smoke detectors (alarms) by March 2015, which have been a feature of UK homes for probably 20 or 30 years.

Unfortunately, like so much well intentioned planning, this one seems to have gone terribly wrong.
France has some 30 million households, ranging from large houses to studio apartments, and according to the comprehensive guidelines published some will need several alarms strategically placed in order to be effective - hallways, living rooms, bedrooms etc. Let's say, as a very conservative estimate, 100 million alarms needed in a comparatively short space of time - a manufacturing/marketing opportunity handed to suppliers on a plate by the French government, a huge captive market........

But where are they, now that the deadline for installation has been reached? My own tour of  localsupermarkets, electrical shops, 'brico depots' - and the assistance of friends in my search - has not turned up a single smoke alarm in stock, with salesmen saying they don't know when or if they will be receiving any. As a last resort I finally tracked down one on for delivery next week!

This is the reality of the French 'market economy' - and surprisingly no-one seems to have commented!