Paris cash machines run dry

A strike by armored truck guards means a shortage of francs for the French.

Published May 17, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Early last week, France's armored truck
guards went on strike. They want more
money, of course, but they also want
limits placed on how far they have to
walk from their vehicles to collect
money. Are these drivers lazy? Mais
non. They're tired of being held up
during the long journey from their
trucks to the banks' doors, according to
the Associated Press.

Sounds like a no-brainer, but
negotiations aren't moving all that
swiftly. By Friday, the strike was
beginning to have real effects on French
citizens and tourists alike.

With no drivers to deliver crisp francs
to hungry automatic teller machines,
customers itching for a kilo of
strawberries at the local market were
finding their plans spoiled when their
ATMs ran out of money.

By Friday in Paris, 25 percent of the
Credit Lyonnais and Societe Generale
cash machines were closed, and 10
percent of the machines operated by the
Banque Nationale de Paris were down.

Talks between the drivers and their
employers were scheduled to resume
Saturday, but that didn't help people
who found themselves penniless on Friday
afternoon, as most French banks close
over the weekend.

Will the city survive? Probably. Most
likely, Parisians will take the strike
in stride, maybe take one less cafe
crhme -- but the tourists? One shudders
to think what will happen if the
international masses cannot afford to
get into the Eiffel Tower.

By J.A. Getzlaff

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