While it might take several decades for taxi drivers and restaurant servers to be replaced by robots, here are five traditional jobs in Luxembourg that will soon disappear forever.
Back when potatoes were believed to be sentient, every village in Luxembourg had a potato whisperer. These folks, usually a bit smelly under the arms, would lie in the fields and try to coax out the secret to a good harvest. Nowadays, farmers use fancy computers to communicate with potatoes. Most whisperers have transitioned to other public functions.
Not long ago, officials realized that very few Luxembourgish words had been written down, so they hired a lonely, bookish woman to sit in a room all day and write down all the Luxembourgish words she could think of. Now, five decades later, she’s almost done. When the last word is recorded, she’s going to retire and take a well-deserved break.
Once upon a time, nearly all wealthy Luxembourgish families hired fashion mixers to select for them a blend of styles from France, Germany, and Belgium — so as to not copy any one country too much. The fashion mixers would draw their inspiration from regional centers of haute couture like Chaleroi, Koblenz, and Metz, and they would carefully prepare weird ensembles for their employers. Although only one fashion mixer is still in business, the kooky, confused style of the mixers is still preferred by the upper classes to this day.
Travelling Country Crier
Way back when Luxembourg was a sleepy backwater country with nothing more than a couple of iron mines and a few hundred cows, leaders understood that the first step to gaining recognition was to inform everyone that Luxembourg exists. They hired a guy with very strong lungs to travel around the world and cry out. “Hey, ever thought of relocating your company to Luxembourg? Just a hop from Paris and a skip from Brussels!” Although the role of the country crier has been taken over by various agencies, he’s still on the government payroll because he’s 86 years old and they just can’t bring themselves to fire him.
Until a few years ago, Luxembourg City employed someone whose job it was to look at proposals for roadworks and approve or refuse them based on a comparison of the benefits to costs like traffic jams, inconvenience, and lost productivity. But who wants some kind of Negative Ned around, a guy who sits at a desk and says no half the time? No one. The authority of the roadworks approver was officially suspended in 2014 and the post will disappear within the next year.