Tuesday, February 12, 2008

B*tch Betta Have My Money.

Please excuse the title---that's all I could come up with on such short notice.

Look: we have already clearly established that French customer service = oxymoron, so I want to preface this post by saying that this is not going to turn into a rant about how much the French suck when it comes to customer service. Instead I just want to share with all of you some funny interactions I had today while running errands.

So today I had 3 errands to run. 1-Go to Castorama (the French Home Depot) and buy plastic protective sheeting for my studio, 2- go to the office supply store and buy an overpriced calculater, and 3- go to BoConcept and pay for the furniture that we ordered so I wouldn’t have to pay the creepy delivery guy on Friday morning.

Stop #1

I walk into Castorama and begin looking for my roll of plastic. Of course I can’t find it. I immediately notice that whenever I look to find a sales person they see my eyes trying to meet theirs and then they immediately scurry off like frightened rats. I think I actually heard them make squeaking noises as they kicked up dust to get away. This of course is not uncommon in Castorama culture. I think part of their training manual includes a hefty chapter on how to escape actually having contact with the customers. So everytime I’m in Castorama I like to wander around just looking at the other shoppers. It’s like Night of the Living Dead in there! A hundred dazed and lost people walking around, stone-faced, mouths agape like zombies, hopelessly trying to find…..staple guns and what-not. Meanwhile the sales staff runs and screams in horror. Next time I will bring a video camera. P.S. I never found my damn plastic sheeting either.


Stop #2

I walk into Bureau Vallee, grab my stuff, and head up to the cash register. The 98 year old guy who works as the cashier eventually walks over and starts ringing up my stuff as though working there were his punishment for some unthinkable crime. I of course immediately greet him with a hearty “Bonjour Monsieur.” After all, just because he's a Grouchy Old Bastard doesn’t mean my Momma didn’t raise me right. I have manners.

Finally he tells me the total and since I’m numerically illiterate in French I look to the cash register sign and read the total and then hand him my cash. (Seriously, if you want to see me go into convulsions, ask me how to say 94 in French. What’s up with all the math? 80 + 14...whatever man!) Anyway, he gives me change, and although I ain’t a math whiz I know something isn’t right. I snatch the receipt off the counter and glare at it like it just called me a a naughty name. Wait! Grouchy Old Bastard shorted me 1 cent! WTF? Just as I was about to point out his error, Grouchy Old Bastard opens the cash register again and hands me the centime then says: “Oh, good thing you looked at your receipt!”

Correction: That Grouchy Old Bastard tried to steal 1 centime from me! Good thing I looked at my receipt? No. Good thing I don't jump over this counter and break your f*cking hip!

Moving on.

Stop #3

I walk into BoConcept which is dead as a doornail seeing as how it’s 11AM and most normal people uhm…have jobs. Evenso, I am greeted by two chipper sales girls who actually recognize me from when I was in 3 weeks ago. I tell them I’ve come in to pay the balance on my furniture account and they trip over themselves bringing up my info on the computer. I hand the first salesgirl my money. (I can call her girl cuz she’s at least 5 years younger than me.) She then prints, staples and folds my 2 page receipt so it will fit perfectly in my handbag. The second sales girl then says: “It’s so nice of you to come in to pay. You really didn’t have to. If all our customers were like you it would make our jobs much easier!” At this point I am sure someone hiding behind the Volani bookcase has shot me with a poison dart and this is the hallucinogenic effect that one feels right before the poison quickly works it’s way into the nervous system and stops first the brain, then the heart. Clearly this…niceness can’t be happening.


Anyway, today’s lesson is buy 14 euro calculator from Grouchy Old Bastard-- get crappy service. Hand two girls a fist full of 500 euro notes---get customer service.

Live and learn.


Megan said...

Don't worry about the numbers. Everyone except the French thinks that their numbering system is messed up. Seriously, when someone sayd quatre vingt dix huit, is it 98? 4-20-10-8? 80-10-8? 80-18?

Andrea said...

LOL, living in France is fun isn't it?

Cherise said...

Ah, that's one bonus to the Swiss French, they count the normal way!

Too funny on the service. Do you think the furniture will be delivered with such niceness?

Angry Black Woman said...