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'France is finished? LOL! England's a disgrace'

The Local · 3 Oct 2014, 18:00

Published: 03 Oct 2014 18:00 GMT+02:00

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The outrage to the anti-France comments from Andy Street, the head of high-end British retailing giants John Lewis, came thick and fast.

By the end of Friday he’d apologized for a screed in which he called France “sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat” and noting the country is “finished” and “nothing works.” He even referred to one of Paris's main train stations, Gare du Nord, as the “squalor pit of Europe.”

The Local France's readers were pretty incensed by his words.

Joanna Hinds simply said: "France is finished lol? Check your own backyard luv ... England is a disgrace."

And Carole Armour added: "Top executive - I don't think so or at least not for much longer. And he wants to do business in France!"

Reader Brian Drakeford wrote a stinging upbraid of the sharp tongued exec on our Facebook page.

“How true, Mr Street, 'nothing works' in the British sense of that phrase, it annoys me a lot.

"But, by contrast, there are other issues, concerning the way of life (outside cities of course), that need to be put into a 'quality of life' equation.

"For example, you'll go a long way to beat the kindness of our French neighbours or the peace and quiet of the countryside surrounding us.

"You might also be impressed with a general lack of drunkenness in the towns and villages.

"The French find it perplexing that the average Brit needs to get drunk as quickly as possible, particularly British women - and let's not forget the fact that the constant and apparently urgent need to SHOP (especially on Sundays!) is missing in the French person's nature - thank goodness!

"I wonder if your John Lewis people show the politeness and traditional courtesy of the French and whether you could manage without the aggressive driving and incessant traffic to be found now in Cameron's Camelot.

"Add to that the general lack of litter to be found in French towns and villages, the wonderful traditional communal feasts plus the respect shown to the elderly in France and, lo and behold, there are things that DO work Mr Street; really important things to do with the quality of life, not just the value of investments.”

Another two readers pointed out an obvious consequence of making offensive comments about potential customers:

Reader Helen Moore got right to the point in her criticism of Street's words on our Facebook page.

"What an idiot. Granted, Gare du Nord is a bit rubbish (although refurbishment is planned) but the actual Eurostar terminal is quite nice. 

"And in my experience, 'things' work a lot better in France. And as for the comment about the food and wine, I think not...."

Story continues below…

But, of course, not everyone thought this bit of French bashing was off target.

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