The Mythical Polish Plumber Posted by Anna on Jun 16, 2008 in Culture
My favorite politician, Nicholas Sarkozy went to Poland a few weeks ago and chatted with the Polish honchos in charge, namely, with one of the ducks – Lech Kaczyński. (The surname “Kaczyński” comes from the word “kaczka” which means “a duck” in English.)
While in Poland, my favorite politician made the announcement of opening the French job market to the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004. And that also includes Poland.
This immediately made me think of the mythical Polish plumber. You see, the French are very afraid of Polish plumbers. Not sure exactly why. Maybe they have a phobia of Slavic men brandishing pipes and plungers. But when Poland joined the EU, there was much concern in France over Polish plumbers heading west.
Unfortunately, the French forgot that their difficult language is not as popular among Slavic plumbers as it used to be, and worried needlessly. The plumbers spoke mostly English and went to Ireland and the UK instead.
True, Poland always had strong historical ties with France, but after the fall of communism those ties have been shifting towards English speaking countries. And Polish plumbers were not stupid, they read the newspapers, listened to the news and had no intention of going to France in the first place.
This French fear of Polish plumbers was exploited by the Polish National Tourism Office a couple of years ago with this hilarious ad:
Translation: I’m staying in Poland. Come on over!
The model in the photo is indeed Polish, his name is Piotr Adamski, and isn’t he just adorable?
But now, starting July 1, Polish plumbers can go and fix pipes in the Land of Frog Eaters.
I wonder what kind of advertising campaign this turn of events will inspire.
plumber = hydraulik (comes from the Greek words for “water” and “pipes”. Simple, isn’t it?)