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Big Mac Conversion

It was one of those things you just have to do while on holiday in France; eat snails in a proper French restaurant.

But, the Escargots arrived in a form I had never seen before. Perplexed how to get them out of their shells I sat and stared. Picture the scene: frown lines on forehead, head hanging over plate of little mollusks; an elderly Frenchman from across the room, clearly realising the confusion not able to contain himself with outward and very pointed and guttural laughter, finally being handed the pre-requisite implements only to have the scene from 'Pretty Woman' with the waiter catching the flying Escargot come flooding back adding further pressure to the challenging episode.

It was one of those moments that just sticks in your memory.

There were many other fond memories: the Zimbabwean born USA winger running around Bryan Habana, and then Bryan presenting him with his own Springbok rugby jersey at the end of the game; the vicious local French support for the underdog at the Fiji game, the tremendous country of France, family, and of course walking around the cheese and cold meat section in the local supermarket. No jokes, four 20m long aisles, filled with every conceivable option and flavour, and realising it cost much the same price as it does at home and in still using the SA Rand!

This sparked my interest in doing the 'Big Mac conversion' for real. Yes, surprised? They do have Mikkie D in many of the 14th century little villages we passed through in the magnificently beautiful rural Provence.

So off to the local MacDonald's in our small town of Pertuis (Per-twee) where we were greeted by two well rounded Springbok supporters in full battle gear - flag, horns, jersey, socks and a pint of Castle in the car park! They were passing fearful looks at all French men and winking at all the passing 'French' ladies including my life-partner, imagining what proud, powerful and fearful warriors they must look like.

Well the Big Mac was 3.40 Euro about 33 Rand, and in Durban, RSA its 15.95 Rand. So the Big Mac costs a little more than double in France. With this widely accepted measure, this 'Big Mac conversion' basically means that as a tourist from South Africa, it is twice the price to exist in France!

Of course if you work in France and are earning a proper currency like the Euro then this conversion is invalid.

Discussing this with the petrol attendant yesterday, I explained that a litre of Diesel in France is almost double what we pay here. He was surprised and said we should, 'Then we stop crying about this in South Africa'.

It still confuses me though, why most of the food in France's supermarkets appeared to be much the same price as it is in SA? I don't suspect that the supermarket chains like Checkers, Pick 'n Pay and Woolworths are earning unreasonable profits compared to their international counterparts. Is it because the added costs of transportation, security, labour is causing the retailers to price our food so high?

Submitted by:

Gregory Bunyard

Gregory Bunyard is the Founder and co-author of the �Ka-Ching! Business Parenting Course� that aims at providing the necessary guidance to help parents teach their own children the vital financial awareness, investing, entrepreneurship and life-skills so desperately needed when facing the harsh realities of adult life. Find out more on http://www.ka-chingworld.com


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