Meanwhile, in France

The notorious Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, or CRS, are outraged at an official decree stating they can no longer drink wine or beer with their meals.

The idea that the riot police would even think of having a glass with their lunch will blow the minds of most Americans. Slightly surprise most English too.

I\’ve said before that one of the funniest (in the sense of, \”My God, what is Johnny Foreigner doing now?\”) things I\’ve seen was the bus drivers in Lisbon going on strike. They had a rolling blockade around the city a few years back.

Their complaint? That the new drink driving laws (a limit, I think, of 20 whatever units it is instead of the 50 more normal here) would mean that they couldn\’t have that God Given right of every Portugee, a tasca of vinho with their lunch.

Yes, the bus drivers went on strike so they could drink at lunchtime.

They won too.

6 comments on “Meanwhile, in France

  1. Hell it was’t all that long ago here that a pint at lunchtime was perfectly normal. Nowadays it would send me to sleep, but when I was in my twenties I’d probably do it twice or thrice a week. Mind you, I never joined the people who liked to drink lots at Friday lunchtime – that struck me as daft. But then I was a young academic and was used to working far longer hours than almost anyone who worked “in industry”; a legless Friday afternoon and evening would have been no use to me.

  2. This was a pleasant surprise when I went to Total’s offices. Drinking a glass of wine for lunch in Shell or Exxon would result in immediate dismissal. In Total, they sell it in the canteen. If you go to their head office for a seminar which includes a lunch, people would think you are some kind of weirdo if you didn’t drink wine. I was on such a seminar last week, and I drank plenty.

    Same goes for expenses. Exxon or Shell would throw a wobbler if you submitted alcohol in an expense report without prior approval for business development reasons. In Total, it is expected that you have a bottle (yes, a bottle) of wine with your meal (a few bottles if you’re in a group) and this gets signed off without batting an eyelid. First time I submitted an expense claim I crossed off the alcohol…my boss thought I had taken a funny turn.

  3. Well their black uniforms and body armour are NOT a familiar sight down my street, despite what your pant-wetting guardianista writes. (OK, if I lived in Villiers-le Bel I might be more familiar.)
    The story comes from last year where the CRS were mobilised to police a demo organised by schoolchildren and their teachers.
    They had a few wets on (non) duty, which is already banned. Now the bosses who sent them to bash the kids heads in want to ban booze in the canteen. I can quite see why opinion is divided about this decree.

  4. A fellow from the U.S. spent a few years working in London and was astonished at the extent of the alcohol consumption that took place during work hours. Every day, a pint at morning and afternoon breaks and another at lunchtime. He wasn’t so concerned with any effect on output or reliability as with the effect of such consumption on the pocketbooks of the journeymen and apprentice typesetters, etc. Said they spent enough to buy a very decent house.

    You may have heard of him before. He wrote his memoirs over 200 years ago and went by the name of Ben Franklin.

  5. The sniffy, purse-mouthed puritanism that accompanies workplace drinking these days is a powerful contributor to the decline of the gaiety of life.

    As a software engineer, I found that a couple of snorts of something boozy was not unconnected with the sort of free association that led to some of my most productive output. Obviously a heavy session was contra-indicated, but two or three beers? Got the juices flowing.

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