Brickbat: Slave Labor


French officials fined the Mamm-Kounifl pub in Brittany 9,000 euros after they spotted a customer returning some empty glasses to the bar. Customers have traditionally returned glasses to the bar out of politeness. But the government says that allowing that practice means the bar is using "undeclared labor."

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  1. Wouldn’t the government need to prove the pub is paying their customers to return their glasses?

    1. No, its not about paying or not paying the customers.

      Its about not hiring more people to do the job even if that would raise the cost of the service so much that no-one will go to the bar anymore.

      See, this is *France*, and French people aren’t smart enough to be able to truly consent to trading a little personal labor for lower cost drinks.

      1. It is similar to some union shps in this country where the contract says certain tasks must performed by union craftsmen even if they require no special expertise. The main difference here is that the government is enforcing it.

  2. I always return my glasses so I don’t have to wait for the staff to notice. It’s simply more convenient for me.

    1. Who
      Do you think you are?

      Stealing jobs from hardworking waitstaff.

      1. So hard working they never come out from the back room and don’t notice when I try to get their attention.

        Though that second part happens regardless of where I go. It seems I’m invisible to wait people…

        1. who said that?

          1. The ghost of Christmases not celebrated.

  3. a polite tradition

    They make it sound like this is some bizzaro action unique to one pub in the entire world. No wonder the French are tagged as a particularly impolite self-centered obnoxious culture. FFS, Yes Virginia, there are people for whom politeness and respect are part of their daily way of life. No, one is certainly not obligated to return empty glasses, but it’s certainly not uncommon.

    Something tells me my spouse would be arrested for self-bagging groceries in France instead of letting the local idiot bagger crush the bread under a pile of cans.

    1. It may have changed in the 10 years since I was living in Europe, but, as I remember, only expensive stores bagged your groceries (and they weren’t common) because the ridiculously high minimum wage meant that no store was going to hire someone to do it.

      My local Circle K here in the US bags my purchases but the local market where I lived in Italy wouldn’t.

      1. I would have figured it had to something to do with environmental regulations as well.

  4. We’re only a short distance from the day when cooking your own food will be considered theft from fast food and restaurant workers.

    And then there will be fist fights in the streets between the grocery unions and the fast food workers over who owns the right to feed you.

    1. If America were a civilized society that didn’t hate poor people, we’d have single payer for food, if not single provider. After all, food is a right, not a privilege.

      1. I know you’re beind sarcastic, but there’s a better case to be made for single payer food (absolutely essential to life) than there is for single payer medical insurance. When I suggest to my soft liberal friends that the government should run the grocery stores, they just say that’s silly. They can’t see it’s the same principle.

  5. “Customers have traditionally returned glasses to the bar out of politeness. ”

    In France? You are joking of course. I once had to lie to a bistro owner by telling him my father was wounded at St. Mere Eglise in order to get him to replace an extremely snotty waiter who was treating all the American tourists in our group with contempt.

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