The Bon Marché

Topics: Au Bonheur des Dames, Le Bon Marché, Department store Pages: 4 (1737 words) Published: November 5, 2012
The Bon Marché
Michael Miller’s book, The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store, 1869-1920, is an expansive and interesting look back on a era of Parisian history that is best represented by its then-current trend and social innovation, the department store. The book gives a fascinating account of the store from its beginning to eventual common place status in 1914. The book gives an insight on the factors in which the store saw success, such as the management, the labor, and new marketing. It also gives light to the social factors that made the store possible (i.e education and economy).

Bon Marché is a book about the change in the 19th century French market and the effect it then had on the bourgeoisie class. The book starts, with its first part, by showing the Bon Marché’s emerging anew within Parisian businesses. This recreation of an older store into what would become the world's largest department store involved an evolution of traditional store culture. It required rethinking of original norms and practices in that current business culture. Before the revolution, stores in France were regulated via a guild system which created limits on what you could sell, where and how you could sell it, and how you were allowed to advertise it. The second part of the book can be seen as the real heft of the work as it was written with a grandiose sense of detail and was amply documented history. This part sees the Bon Marché within the new social and business environments, detailing the managerial practices that made the house of Boucicaut rise far above its competitors. Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut are depicted with a sort of fundamental compromised attitude towards their employees. They are not show as either pro-employee or pro-middle class, and neither are they shown as anti-worker. The book instead depicts the Boucicauts as ma and pa store owners (albeit in a large department store), employing a traditional system that was simply willing...
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