Tuesday, May 19, 2015

March of technology - USA versus France

An interesting post, with nearly 150 responses, on the American home deco site apartmenttherapy.com *. It incorporates an eclectic list of various household items, classified as 'Nearly extinct' (mainly techology such as fax machines, address books, alarm clocks), 'Endangered' (desk top computers), 'Vulnerable' (books and magazines) and items defined as 'Defying the odds' (such as vinyl disks making a comeback, board games). The responses from forum members have for the main leapt to the defense of many 'traditional' items listed, ranging from bar soap to sewing machines. And in my own response I tried to give a 'European' view of some of the items listed, including:

- desk-top computers - as many readers pointed out they are essential for 'serious' writing or formatting text, needing multiple screens and extensive software, that does not suit a laptop. Also apparently for gaming (a new one for me!)

- books - Kindle and other reading devices never made a real inroad into France, and they seem to have vanished from bookshops and multi-facet stores such as FNAC. Book publishing and sales are increasing, with many independent booksellers continuing to survive. My own small town of Perpignan has at least six independent bookstores, plus FNAC, and at least 20 secondhand book shops or open air stalls that I know of.

- corks in wine bottles - In my reply I emphasised that no real wine lover would buy wine that did not come in a bottle with a real cork made of cork!

- mail boxes - Obligatory in France and often standardised, and can be opened by the delivery person with a pass key. Ideal for receiving small packages such as items ordered on-line.

- cash and notes - A system known as Moneo (a cash card for small purchases) came and went within about three years. Users found it simply too fussy when paying for a baguette or the morning newspaper.

This just a small selection and interestingly the list included the category 'Defying the odds' - including vinyl records and board games making a comeback. Added to real food, vegetarianism and downsizing I see these as welcome news!

* Source apartmenttherapy.com 'Going, going, gone - 30+ items that are disappearing from our homes'. Scroll down if the article is not still on the first page, as the site is added to several times daily.