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"I'll Miss the Pleasant Service"

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May 18th, 2015, 09:15 AM
  #1
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"I'll Miss the Pleasant Service"

So said my French friend after checking in for her return flight to France - having just dealth with another pleasant clerk and after three weeks of dealing with friendly American clerks, cashiers, waiters, etc.

She then explained that in France clerks and staffers are just not friendly but do their job perfunctorily. For the American traveler going to France you too may find the reserved stance of folks you encounter in business, etc and should realize this is the French tradition and is not necessarily rude as folks often call it.

Just view the formality as a cultural trait and don't take it personally - some French at least also find to rather cold.

In any case don't take it personally!
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May 18th, 2015, 09:37 AM
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It takes all kinds. Even in Paris a lot of the elderly go to the stores just so that they can chat with the cashiers and other employees. While I'm sure that about 90% of the workers will blow them off, they quickly find the 10% who enjoy chatting, too, so they know which days they work and what hours and even when they are going on vacation. The workers in turn remember to ask about their sick dog or the result of their medical exam.

Interestingly enough, as postal mail continues its steep decline (and the rest of us keep getting older), the French post office is beginning to provide 'social' services by its mail carriers to help seniors, including accompanying them to the bank and other such things.

Unlike certain other countries, tipping is forbidden for things like this.
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May 18th, 2015, 10:26 AM
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Interestingly we found the French service in shops, hotels excellent . It matches the U.S. in our book!
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May 18th, 2015, 10:49 AM
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In our part of France, many of the shopkeepers think visitors who come into stores and start looking around rude, or at best, improperly brought up.

Here, in a small shop, one is expected to greet the shopkeeper and the shopkeepers partner, say hello to everyone in the store, stroke the cat and pet the dog before saying that one is just looking. Of course, if you are a regular in the store or meet people you know, handshakes and kisses are also expected.
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May 18th, 2015, 11:30 AM
  #5
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My French son always makes a contrast to wiaters delivering food to tables in the U.S., where wait staff are groveleing often IMO for tips so may have an artificial friendliness about them - and the garcon or gal in a ordinary cafe - not proper restaurant for say delivering coffee and a pastry - the French garcon he mimics throwing the cup of coffee and plate with a pastry on the table and loudly saying "voila!" before dashing off never to return, having brought the bill at the same time.

Me an American find that kind of amusing - I've seen so many French garcons - waiters yes do just that and to me it is part of traveling - see how different folks do things with different strokes.

I rather detest the American system of having to get tips for wages - yes groveling at times for tips and going overboard often IME or at least for my tastes asking every few minutes "Is everything all right?"
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