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In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

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Great Barrington...
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In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

There was a nice article in the NY Times today called "A Guide to the French. Handle With Care".

The article covered a lot of ground, but I thought the topic on how customers are handled in France was particularly interesting.

I'll post the link but you might need to register (free) to read the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/weekinreview/23sciolino.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=the+customer+is+always+wrong&st=nyt&oref=slogin

Perpignan, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Perpignan
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1. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

I read it. The part about meeting the Swedish ambassador, his wife and other luminaries is ridiculous. The remainder of the article is clichés at their best (or worst !) :-)

Paris and Gatineau
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2. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

What Promeneuse said, exactly just a bunch of clichés. I always had good service when returning items, or talking to customers service. Anyway for most if not all short term tourism it doesn't have any importance.

Lancashire, United...
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3. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

HELP!!

I've read it and now I am full of shame, all these years I've been going to Paris I've apparently being asking for the toilet wrong as I (now shamefully) ask for toilette - help what should I ask for? (of course I say please, thanks etc)

please save my shame for my next visit!

Joanne

Williamsport...
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4. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

Perhaps it's because they value their employees more than revenue?

We could all learn from each other....it would give the world some balance :-)

Paris and Gatineau
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5. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

Joanne it is only in a private house that "rule" would apply. In a public café "Pardon, monsieur, les toiletes s.vp." is perfectly polite.

Perpignan, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Perpignan
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6. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

Well Joanne, I am in the same dire straits.... and French is my mother tongue.

I wonder what the author would suggest ! :-))))

Lancashire, United...
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7. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

THANK YOU!!!

I am so relieved! French is not my mother tounge but pride myself on trying (as bad as it may be!) thought I'd been embarrasing my self all these years without realising. I do wonder what they'd suggest too???

Merci!!

Joanne

Great Barrington...
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8. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

You know, I have to agree with the NY Times writer in some respects. For instance, I once dined in a rather nice Parisian restaurant. The waiter brought me the wrong meal. When I told him so, he said I was the one who made the mistake. Now I know my French is bad, but I know what I ordered, my dining companions heard what I ordered, and the waiter was clearly wrong. Not only would he not admit that he could have made a mistake, he simply refused to correct the situation.

Another similar situation I can recall is when I checked into a Parisian 3-star hotel. The desk clerk had my room ready, with a double bed. However, I had a printed (e-mail) reservation in hand, indicating I had reserved a room with two singles. Nevertheless, he suggested my e-mail must have been wrong or perhaps even tampered with. He eventually relented and switched my room.

By now, after over 10 years of travel to Paris, I have come to "appreciate" this sort of thing as one of our cultural differences.

Kamloops, BC...
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9. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

Hi, pixfield -

You find the greatest things -

I learned a long time ago simply to repeat whatever phrase is appropriate aa9often "Ce n'est pas correct" will do quite nicely), and to ignore, quite elaborately, whatever accusation of MY mistake is being made. It seems that those folks, and we all know who they are, can hand out the repetition, but become extremely frustrated and upset when it's handed back.

It's a case of a Mexican standoff, and he who speaks freely first, loses.

Kamloops, BC...
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9,743 posts
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10. Re: In France, the Customer is Always WRONG

Hi, pixfield -

You find the greatest things -

I learned a long time ago simply to repeat whatever phrase is appropriate (often "Ce n'est pas correct" will do quite nicely), and to ignore, quite elaborately, whatever accusation of MY mistake is being made. It seems that those folks, and we all know who they are, can hand out the repetition, but become extremely frustrated and upset when it's handed back.

It's a case of a Mexican standoff, and he who speaks freely first, loses.