Monday, November 9, 2009

Ice cream and France/America comparisons

A few weeks ago, while I was out on a day pass from the hospital, we stopped at a local ice cream place (which I just realized I can't link to if I want to maintain my thin veneer of anonymity). At this point I had been rapidly losing weight and had just been put back on a normal diet, so I decided to gorge myself on ice cream because I love it. It might be my favorite food, and if you look at Leesa's blogs, you'll see that I've eaten ice cream all over Europe, so I have a strong base for comparison of flavor, texture, and of course the amount of ice cream they give you.

I ordered a medium cup, so two scoops of ice cream. Not anything excessive, right? Well, I had forgotten how big American serving sizes are! I was handed a massive mountain of creamy goodness. I don't think this size exists in Europe, unless you can find XXL ice cream sizes there somewhere. Not only was this thing enormous, it also cost a mere $3.50. Dollars! $3.50! A medium anywhere in Europe will set you back an average of 4 euros, or $6. Not to mention the fact that it will be much, much smaller, approximately what we would consider junior size. This ice cream was so big that I had trouble finishing it. I know people say the serving size difference between the US and France is part of why we are all so fat, but I have to say I don't really think it's a bad thing. We get so much more bang for our buck here! I would much rather eat an enormous thing of ice cream that I find well priced than a tiny little thing for a lousy 5 euros.

Of course I don't have pictures. I'll just have to go back and get another one to prove how different the ice cream sizes are. The ice cream was of course delicious, but I think should have been stored at a less cold temperature because it was very hard. You don't want to have to chip away at your ice cream for ten minutes until it melts to the desirable consistency.

Another comparison: ease of getting things done. A few days ago an alert popped up on our TV, something about the switch to digital and that we need to get some equipment from Comcast to preserve our service. I don't really know what the deal is because we have new digital capable TVs and I don't know what the problem is. Anyway, the boxes we have to hook up to the TV arrived today. My parents set them up after dinner tonight, and they kept griping about how annoying it was that the boxes wouldn't just start working on their own once they had been hooked up, that they would have to call Comcast to activate them.

I burst out laughing.

I couldn't help it! How easy is this! We get these boxes that we hook up ourselves, then call Comcast, they push a button, and the problem is solved! Can you imagine how it would work in France? First you would have to call France Telecom to get the boxes sent. Then you'd have to call the guys from Neuf or Orange to come to your house to hook them up, but it would take a month to schedule it. Then they would tell you that France Telecom had sent you the wrong boxes, so you'd have to start all over from square one. You'd finally get Neuf to come attach and activate the boxes, but then your cable, internet, and phone would stop working. You'd call Neuf again, you'd have the same problems scheduling them, and it would take another month to get them to come out a second time. They might finally fix it, but chances are you would have some other problem crop up that might finally be resolved six months after you called France Telecom for the stupid boxes in the first place!

I really laughed at my parents tonight. They have no idea!


shannon said...

LOL! That is so the story of my life right now. Add to it the problems Natasha is having with the account we were assured was "bien ferme".

Leesa said...

Ahhhh!!! The ice cream adventure begins... You can just BET that you will have to go back for pictures, that's a given!!!!! Did you do that on purpose, by the way?!!!! : )

I can't wait to test out my new ice cream maker... I will let you know. First flavour will be cinnamon... YUM!!! Take care, Leese

Barbara said...

Hi Mira,

You are right to laugh and make little "problems". You have lived in France and have seen how everything here is long to set up,fix or change.

My current thing is in the "service après vente"; c'est à dire... trouver des sacs d'aspirateur.
Stupid... the aspirateur is only a few years old and no bags and no one in the stores can say IF or WHEN they can have others.Psst... I found them online so F it, Darty !

Enjoy that ice cream; best
medecine ever :) Hang in there my friend :)
Count your blessings !

Kinzie said...

And then Orange charges you 80€ for calls they said would be free, and another 70€ for a service you didn't order and furthermore can't use... Oy vey.

Jennie said...

Hah, I hated how much Americans complained about the little things when I was home this past summer. They have no idea how good they have it!!! (Well, with regards to the cost of living and convenience of everyday life). I wish they would spend their energy on trying to change things that actually matter, like ending war and getting health insurance...

Animesh said...

The $3.5 was the High-Fructose Cor Syrup :).

And US internet working easily? - Puh-lease!

Internet configuration anywhere is hard, and experiences can vary from person to person in the same country, owing to the number of components involved.

At least in France you get a router which has its WiFi secured by default, and the pwd printed on the bottom - which in my opinion makes an extremely important thing very very easy.


au soleil levant said...

Shannon - I hope all of your internet problems get taken care of soon!

Leesa - you know me too well! Can't wait to hear about how your ice cream adventures go!

Barbara - I didn't realize that the craziness went so far as Darty! Actually, I should have. Of course it does.

Kinzie - that annoys me so much! It's so irritating that all of these places you have to call all the time charge you to call them!

Jennie - we got health care through the House! Doesn't that count for something? So true that cost of living here is much lower, I've been amazed whenever I go grocery shopping at how cheap everything is compared to France!

Animesh - I know that you had problems getting your new internet line hooked up and had to call whatever company you use many times, so don't pretend that you had such an easy time of it :)

Zhu said...

I wouldn't know for ice cream, but yeah, everything is bigger in North America in general.

For example, when I arrive at Charles de Gaulle, the first thing I do is often to buy a drink. And each time, I look at my bottle of Coke or whatever and think "that looks... small!".

Junk food is super cheap here. Super big too.

As for the services... I have to agree with you, France is super complicated. Canada is so straighforward... and if you have the slighest ptoblem, you can always dial 1-800 for free pretty much at anytime of the day. In France, you have to dial a premium-rate number.

au soleil levant said...

Zhu, you crazy ice cream hater! But at least we see eye to eye on other things :) I really don't understand why free 1-800 numbers never caught on in France. I really do wish there were less junk food in the US, I just bought Cheerio's brand snack mix yesterday. Tasty, healthier than normal snack mix, but still not good for you!