In 1953, the Salon des arts ménagers, the immensely popular annual exhibition of home appliances, décor, and housing plans sponsored by the French ministry of education, hosted a “Day of the Consumer” organized by the Union fédérale de la consommation (Federal Union of Consumption, UFC). The government's minister of economic affairs, Robert Buron, spoke to the attendees, informing them, “I am, in effect, the minister of consumers; I would even prefer to say the minister of housewives.” Buron noted that since the war, shortages and inflation had made the French economy a “seller's market,” but with the return of stability and market competition, it could become a “buyer's market” in which the role of consumers would be determinant. To be a good consumer, “which is to say, a good housewife,” was complicated, however, and many consumers had neither the time to make good choices, nor the awareness that wise purchasing decisions were good both for themselves and the national economy. Buron had come to urge his audience to be intelligent and well-informed consumers. “Consumption is not a passive act, but a decisively important economic act,” he explained, “I count on consumers as much as on producers. It is with a balanced effort from each that we can expect economic expansion and a higher standard of living.”
The women in Buron's audience – members of women's, family, and consumer organizations, as well as members of the general public attracted by the commodities and lifestyles on display at the Salon – were as eager as Buron for economic expansion and a better standard of living in France.