Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Soldes

My dad (my real dad, not the host-dad), lover of black cashmere, modern men's fashion, and all things bargain, paid $1.20 a minute to call me internationally from California.

"Lauren, the soldes (aka sales) are going on in Lyon right now!"

The clouds parted, the skies opened up to the heavens and the angels started to sing.

But reality shook me as I immediately remembered:
1. I’m an Au Pair. I'm an Au Pair who is not inherently wealthy by any means. At all.
2. My dad was only telling me this so I’d remember to see if Celio Club had marked down the sweater he saw during vacation here.

And then the inevitable happened. I became nostalgic for a time that I previously loathed: the nine-to-five day job, a time of direct deposit and a salary larger than three figures.  Here’s the thing: the sales in France (and all of Europe) only happen twice a year.  None of this every-holiday-sale-stuff  (Name-drop: Macy's!)  Furthermore, they may not have soldes often, but when they do, they really do.

Some people collect antiques; some spend their earnings on restaurant outings; sports events, drugs, whatever.  I even know a woman who collects editions of Quicken software (sorry, Mom), and well, so what if I enjoy the occasional clothes and shoe sale.  I mean, can you really have enough pairs of black leather boots?!  Call me shallow, call me materialistic, call me selfish--I am all of those things and more; I’m American.

I don’t want to advertise, by any means, that money or materialistic goods will bring happiness.  Hell, I was the girl at North Country Elementary School who got her clothes from second-hand stores and Target; but then came the day that I tried on my first pair of Nine West heels, marked 50% off and take an additional 40%, and it was all over--I fell victim.  So all I’m trying to communicate is that if you’re between the ages of 20 and 29, looking at the possibility of becoming an Au Pair and you enjoy the occasional purchase, it’s highly possible that this job may not be for you.  Ditto if you place high importance on independence, privacy and vegetables.

Sorry, Dad, they didn’t have your sweater.


  1. I feel for you Lauren. Last week (and today) I found myself sitting in my cube stewing about how dull my existence is as a corporate lackey debating moving somewhere to become a bartender. Thanks for reminding me about the benefit of direct deposit and shopping.

  2. You will have way more memories than any of your 9to5 3figure salary counterparts will! Memories, stories, adventure. Hang on to what you have now. That day will come when you can shop till you drop : D

  3. I definitely agree with you S.C.! My memories and what I've gained from this experience are priceless. I think it's just that if I were to do it all over, I would have chose a different option to be here.. like a teaching job... or a rich husband ;) jk


  4. Admittedly, I did buy a few shirts at H&M. 3 euro a piece? I couldn't say no.

  5. Think you'd be better off being a teacher rather than trying to be a rich husband?

    All the best


    P.S. Does your Mom really collect editions of Quicken software?

    That is just so cool!

    I remember chucking away some really early Quicken when I moved over here! If only I'd known!
    Your Mom should blog about it! She really should!

  6. Oh I miss the days of a fat salary! I really really really really do

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog!!
    Your whole situation right now sounds fascinating, and I'm looking forward to keepign up with it!
    So sales only twice a year?! I don't know if I could handle this. But I'm sure you find some pretty awesome things!

  8. My life is a hot mess. I didnt know my site feed was wrong all this time until last week. Update it on your Google Reader-

    xo- Q

  9. Lauren, you are just adorable. I'm sorry I don't get over here often, but whenever I do, you crack me up. I'm with you on the soldes. I just bought a million pairs of jeans for 9.99 apiece. 9.99 marked down from 79.99! That's a happy day!

    Keep writing -- your situation as an au pair is a fascinating one, albeit not a well-paid one.