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Interesting article in today's NY Times

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Interesting article in today's NY Times

There is a very interesting article, by Liz Alderman, in today's New York Times Paris Journal, " A Quest to Make Gruff Service in France More Gracious."

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1. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

Thanks for sharing.

Here's a link to the article: nytimes.com/2013/…

2. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

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London, UK
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3. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

The gross generalsations about the national characteristics of visitors is just as wrong as any generalsation of French customer service service. I don't want to be called by my forename by a stranger and anyway there is no way that a member of the waiting staff or a taxi driver would know it.

the big blue marble
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4. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

Euro, shockingly, many French have traveled and know exactly what good customer service is. They just accept they can't get it here.

Leiden, The...
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5. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

Try living in the Netherlands and you'll find that there is no Dutch word for "Customer Service" since it doesn't exist!!!!!

Been to restaurants where they are very nice and friendly, but leave you waiting for menus and slow service even though the place is fairly empty with plenty of staff.

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6. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

Two trips to Paris in two years and we found the service efficient and friendly if not warm. Yes, the menu does not arrive instantaneously with a waiter announcing his or her name. Frankly, I have no interest in his or her name and if I have come for lunch or a drink, I am content to wait and settle in.

We had not been in Paris in over 30 years at that point and marvelled just how good the service was. Maybe we were just lucky. In Marseille, on the other hand, we experienced some of the worst service we have experienced anywhere in a very long time. That however had more to do with a new server who was not destined long for that industry.

Anyway, in our experience, the myth of bad service in France is just that, a myth.

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Bouches-du-Rhone, France
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7. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

I love David Lebovitz's characterizations of his attempts to buy or return things in Paris. I've rarely experienced gruff service in France - except for this major salope at Air France in 1989.

It happens everywhere. I usually get along really well in Spanish speaking countries (despite knowing a lot less Spanish than French) but had a cab driver in Quito who pretended he didn't understand my simple, correctly pronounced "Terminal Carcelen, por favor." The much longer "bus station for the buses to Otovalo" worked, which was kind of ridiculous.


Metro Vancouver
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8. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

Poor or indifferent service happens everywhere, even in the US (in stores, as they don' t get a tip) and even in laid back Vancouver.

My travel buddy is Asian, doesn't speak much French, but as always been treated nicely in the 30 years we have gone to Paris. I let him deal with hotel desk staff, waiters, department stores saleswomen etc. just to see what they do....

But then everyone who knows him find him charming..even my grumpy dad (who can't remember his children names but remember my buddy foreign name..)...

People reaction to you--good or bad-- comes from the very first impression they get from you... (I know that I will be able to get along with a person--or NOT--the split second we first meet, and have been seldom wrong)

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9. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

I read an interesting book some years ago called "Savoir Flaire" about understanding the French, their ways of thinking, their conventions and their customs to help the travelers or ex pats get along better in France. My two take away messages that have always served me well are to 1) always say "Bon jour, Monsieur/Madame" whenever entering a shop or approaching someone with a question and 2) to always attempt to speak French, with a preface of something like "Pardon....je suis desolee que je ne parle pas tres bien francais, mais...." and then often English ensues. Knock on wood, we've always had delightful and helpful responses when we employ a little formality and a bit of humility.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Interesting article in today's NY Times

Another pot-boiler article. I do believe that a lot of hostility stems from cultural misunderstanding or non-understanding. There is often a kind of inside joke to French service. A tongue in cheek joking that can be interpreted as rude or brisk if one takes it seriously or straight. Often a playful relationship develops when the customer understands and joins the repartee. Or not...when the customer takes umbrage or offense.