From a London Bathroom Wall, A Lesson in Complementaries

Am on holiday with the family in London. Pure joy — although my 6-year-old daughter, who’d recently heard that black pepper can force a sneeze, took a handful and somehow mashed it into her eye instead; tears ensued; but it was nothing a trip to Hamleys couldn’t cure.

At a very delicious Italian restaurant called Pappa Ciccia, there is a sign outside the basement toilets that carries a nice ode to what economists (and others) call complementarities:


I do not know how regularly Pappa Ciccia changes this message, but I will check back soon in case they have something good to say on market meltdowns or perhaps the ease of fraud.

Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.



View All Comments »
  1. john says:

    That’s a joke that appeared when the European Union was first organized.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. Rich says:

    You can find the same message printed on the wall at Pinocchio’s in Harvard Square.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. Amit says:

    this is an old cartoon, but with the with the last line(s) :

    The trains are run by the Swiss (Italians).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. Jennifer S. says:

    I heard it this way from Richard Thompson at a concert earlier this year:

    In Heaven,

    the English greet you at the gates,

    the French do the cooking,

    the Italians are in charge of the entertainment,

    and the Germans arrange everything.

    In Hell,

    the French greet you at the gates,

    the English do the cooking,

    the Italians arrange everything,

    and the Germans provide the entertainment.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  5. ming says:

    Read the joke in the picture! I first heard the joke at my commencement when our special speaker said it and everybody laughed out loud. It’s a good one!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  6. Michael says:

    Clearly the statement about the British police harkens back before RIPA.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. Daniel says:

    I heard it thusly:

    “The Canadians had the perfect opportunity. They could have had French cuisine, British culture, and American technology. Instead, they ended up with British cuisine, American culture, and French technology.”

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  8. Kirilius says:

    I forgot who was the famous opera singer who once said (I am quoting from memory):
    “Germans are born to compose, French are born to dance, Italians are born to sing and Americans are born to … pay for all this”


    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0