Would you buy meat from a machine? Residents watch the first meat vending machine installed in the French capital, in Paris, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Would you buy meat from a machine?
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With their beloved baguette already available 24 hours a day, it seems only logical that Parisians can now get the Bayonne ham and Basque pate that goes so well with the bread from the first meat vending machine installed in the French capital.

In a city filled with small shops where long lunches remain a crucial part of the French "art de vivre," the gleaming red machine set up on the lively Rue de Charonne in eastern Paris seems a bit incongruous.

The area has at least two dozen butcher's shops and no shortage of meat, but that didn't deter the owners of one of those shops, Florence and Michel Pouzol of "L'ami Txulette," from investing 40,000 euros ($45,000) to set up their project, selling vacuum-packed meat from the refrigerated machine.

"We're closed two days: Sundays and Mondays," Florence Pouzol told The Associated Press. "So this is to cater for customers over the weekend. The idea was also to serve people after the shop's closing hours. We close at 8 p.m. but some people leave work very late and find the shop closed when they walk past it."

L'ami Txulette specializes in products from the Basque Country. From their machine, which takes cash or credit cards, customers can also get a large choice of traditional delicatessen including duck confit and beef carpaccio. There are also faux-filet steaks on display, priced at 34 euros per kilogram. On average, the products are 20 euro cents more expensive than those sold inside the shop.

A majority of shops remain closed on Sundays in France, but the Pouzols are confident that France is changing fast and so are their customers' habits.

"Our customers are young. There are also quite a few bars and restaurants along the boulevard," Florence Pouzol said. "When we see them during the day, they tell us: "Last night, I bought this, or that, and it was really helpful." We also have those who work in the cafes and restaurants and who come off work at 2 a.m. They tell us they were happy to buy an entrecote or something else to eat."

But not all residents, especially the older ones, seem ready to stop running errands at their favorite shop and switch to the meat dispenser.

"I'm so happy that I can actually go to the butcher's shop now that I'm retired and go there in person", said local resident Lydie Aparacio. "I think that it can be useful for people who are busier than a retiree. I don't use it because I have time."

While baguette dispensers have been enjoying a large success across France over the past five years, the meat vending machines business remains in in the embryonic stage in France. The first machine of this type was installed three years ago in the small western town of Garat by a butcher who set it up outside a bar.

According to the bar owner, it adds extra comfort in an area lacking services.

"We don't have a butcher's shop in town, the first one is located three kilometers (two miles) away," Jo Ferreira told the AP in a phone interview. "When you finish work at 7 p.m., it's very convenient to have this machine available. I love their minced burger steaks."

In the central medieval town of Mennetou-sur-Cher, popular with tourists, Pascal Bidron has installed a machine to sell his locally made andouillette, a sausage prepared with pig's intestines.

He bought a second-hand machine and put it next to his shop, which is closed for more than three hours during the daytime.

"I have customers coming from afar to buy my andouillettes and I wanted to serve them even when the shop is closed" Bidron told the AP. "I recently went away for two weeks and managed to sell 250 andouillettes during my vacation thanks to that machine. It's more than I expected."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are French shops closed on Sundays?
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COMMENTS (6)
  • wandap1-pay
    3/30/2016 - 08:25 a.m.

    This is a very innovating idea that helps the owner and the customers. Even though I wouldn't buy meat through a machine like the retirees, people who come during the store closing period could be able to.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    3/30/2016 - 10:16 p.m.

    I think that it was strange but cool at the same time to have meat dispensing machines. I usually see beverage dispensing machines but this is the first time I have heard of this. I have seen cartoons have sandwich dispensing machines but I didn't know that there was anything like it. France is a place that I have wanted to go and this increases my interests.
    I think that the shops are closed on Sundays because some people might go to church or they need to have a couple of days off.

  • holdeno-3-bar
    3/31/2016 - 06:05 p.m.

    French stores are closed on Sundays because the owners need to take a break. When talking about the new vending machines, Florence Pouzol said that "[the machine] is to cater for customers over the weekend" (par. 4) Store owners can't work every day of the week. So, they close shops on Sundays in order to recuperate.
    I was impressed by this article because people have found a way to preserve meat and make more revenue.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    4/04/2016 - 07:10 p.m.

    This just seems really unsanitary. I freak out about getting my meat from the grocery store so I don't know how I would react if I ever have to get it out of a machine.

  • aliviac-pla
    4/06/2016 - 05:53 p.m.

    The first meat vending machine was installed in the French capital which allowed people to be able to get their Bayonne ham or Basque 24 hours a day. Although the area has no shortage of butcher shops the machine has seen popularity. One butcher shops has even been able to invest in the machine to set up their selling of vacuum-packed meat and because the butcher shop is closed on Sundays and Mondays this allows for their customers to get their meat on days the shop is closed.The machine takes cash or credit and has a large selection of meat for people to choose from. It is also attracting the younger crowds rather than the older ones and some in Paris believe that the younger generations of France are changing.


    Although some people would probably be appalled at the idea of buying meat out of something like a vending machine this seems like it is going to be a good investment idea for some of those butcher shops and local businesses. For the people of France this may seem like a social change between the generations. This is much more of an attraction to the younger people and it may be that gap in generations that the older folks who have been going to the old shops in the cities their entire lives.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    7/24/2016 - 12:49 a.m.

    While I would never buy meat from a machine, it would be very useful for people who are always on the go, as noted in the article. It is an experimental attempt of business that makes sense in a place like France, where shops are closed on Sundays and during lunchtime. The meat machines will allow people to purchase food during the hour most convenient for them.

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