Those gruff Parisians...

Aug 21st, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #21  
 
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Kerouac: I was in Japan before the 1964 Olympics, when there was a government campaign to change some habits of the Japanese. One thing they wanted to stop was the Japanese mens habit of urinating by the side of the road.

They wanted to improve some aspects of night life also. Bars were supposed to serve food as well as alcohol. I was with friends in an after-hours bar when a half-eaten sandwich was placed on our table, more or less in compliance with the new rule.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Aug 21st, 2013, 11:12 AM
  #22  
 
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One thing they wanted to stop was the Japanese mens habit of urinating by the side of the road.

The Japanese are very welcome to urinate alongside all the continental European men who pee everywhere on the roads of Europe to this day. And yes, I do it, too.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 21st, 2013, 12:10 PM
  #23  
 
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Everyone would be so much better off in Paris if they just drank more vin rouge.

French waiters and the snoots at Maille Mustard are my best amis after I have had three Klonpins and a bottle of Calon Segur.


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Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Aug 21st, 2013, 12:12 PM
  #24  
 
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Subsitute Rome or Florence or Venice for Paris in that statement and it would be right on as well.

I have encountered rude Parisian waiters as well as Roman, Florentine and Venetian ones as well - goes with being a tourist town and one-off clientele - not so much a French thing - ever go to New York City - man they can made French waiters look like pussy cats.

I think it is kind of due to the service charge system where waiters are paid a decent salary - like the professionals they want to be considered to be - and are not groveling for tips - if American waits did the things that article says French waiters do they would get no tip at all.

But are the French ruder than most? IME of decades of travel there no except in some tourist places in Paris - like the time I just went into an RATP Info office to rouse the brochure rack and from the other side of the room booms the voice of a younger gal who in French excoriates me "You come into an office and you do not say Bonjour?" I mean she was irate - I did not know that in a public information office that was the protocol and whatever - I was taken back by that kind of overt rudeness.

My French sons and his age group (well when they were late teens) also said they encountered many rude waiters - once in Paris they waited about an hour for service while the waiter was on the phone and when he finally came was rude.

These are exceptions I think and in all my years of traveling and living in France folks seem like anyone else - some rude but most very nice and helpful - especially outside of Paris - indeed I still remember in one village I was biking thru a village one small store proprietro lady running after me in the street because I had dropped a 50 franc note by mistake - I've had more of these encounters than downright rudeness, which often I think is in the ear of the beholder.

Some Americans can also act in a way that invites rudeness - like the ugly American who ordered Nescafe and spit it out saying "I can't drink this sxxx and yelling at the waiter that he wanted proper coffee.

Yes rudeness can be in the ear of the beholder too.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 21st, 2013, 12:29 PM
  #25  
 
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like the time I just went into an RATP Info office to rouse the brochure rack and from the other side of the room booms the voice of a younger gal who in French excoriates me "You come into an office and you do not say Bonjour?" I mean she was irate ->>

to which the reply is surely "you work in a tourist information bureau and you shout at the customers?"

<>

there are other cafes and other waiters.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 12:33 PM
  #26  
 
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there are other cafes and other waiters>

I think they were waiting for a train to Amsterdam at Gare du Nord area so were sitting without hurrying and the waiter probably sized up these teens going to Amsterdam for the umpteenth time as stoners who may order only a beer - I think they may have been loud and gotten the same treatment at any cafes.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 12:38 PM
  #27  
 
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I'd be loud if I had to wait an hour to be served.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 12:43 PM
  #28  
 
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Well actually ann they did get to be loud and demanding service but the waiter just stayed on the phone - yeh I'd get loud as well.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 21st, 2013, 01:36 PM
  #29  
 
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It's preferable that people behave in a way that is their culture.

It would make more sense for these tourist boards to send brochures out to the visitors letting them know that Pierre is a professional, he doesn't have to introduce himself and the food is excellent. He will not need to interrupt you to ask. Thank you.

I would write back and ask them to please send a training team to America. My mother is crotchety in her golden years and the last time we went to a restaurant she instructed the waitress to leave the food and if we need you we'll tell you.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 01:37 PM
  #30  
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"ever go to New York City - man they can make French waiters look like pussy cats"

Say what? Says who? I've been dining in NYC restaurants for 30+ years, and I can't recall the last time I received rude service. Service is not always perfect, but rude? I don't think so.

The restaurant scene here is extremely competitive. Owners who tolerate bad customer service won't have a business for very long, I can promise you that. In the off chance you do experience rudeness in a restaurant, a simple complaint may find your waiter without a job. It is that easy to get fired here.

Yes, you can find rudeness in NYC on a subway platform at rush hour or in a grocery check-out line at 6:30 PM. If you judge New Yorkers by how they behave going to and coming from work, you'd think we were all rude, angry animals. But when it comes to professional hospitality businesses, many of the brightest and best are here, doing one hell of a fine job and doing it with complete pride.

Most New York service businesses are NOT known for providing rude service. New York customers and owners won't tolerate it. Many New Yorkers will contact the Taxi and Limousine Commission if they experience a rude driver. Customers here are among the most demanding in the world. If you don't have what it takes, you WILL NOT survive.

As Liza sang, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." There's a reason why the song rings true.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 02:18 PM
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Say what? Says who? I've been dining in NYC restaurants for 30+ years, and I can't recall the last time I received rude service. Service is not always perfect, but rude? I don't think so>

I guess I was talking about my own experiences with down-scale snack type places like the coffee shop on Seinfeld and not proper restaurants or maybe it was just New Yorkers being New Yorkers - anyway here in the mid-west New Yorkers have a rep of being rude - which I think may be endemic in any huge tourist city be it Paris or New York.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 02:38 PM
  #32  
 
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My husband and I have been studying French for 10+ years -- a great hobby which requires frequent trips to France to practice! Our teachers have included those born and raised in France. It was from them that we learned that upon entering a store, restaurant, office, whatever, as one crosses the threshold one says "bonjour" to the room. The same is appropriate at departure "au revoir/bon soir" whatever.

I can recall saying "bonjour" one day as we went into a small restaurant for dinner down the road from the gîte where we were staying in the countryside near Pau; the room of all-male truck drivers and all-male wait staff/cooks looked up and chorused "Bonjour Madame." We had the prix-fixe" (the garbure was wonderful) and said "Bien sûr!" to some wine. The waiter put a carafe on the table and gestured to the Pyrex glasses and to just help ourselves. I noted that the carafes on all the other tables (of professional drivers) were being emptied! At the end of the meal the waiter eyeballed the jug and said 4 euros for the wine we'd had. And it wasn't bad!

Now I suspect that gesture of greeting "the room" is not necessary at Gallerie Lafayette or such, but in any small shop/office/restaurant I think it holds true. At first it is hard to remember, but I have to say by the time I get home, I walk into the neighbourhood pharmacy and say "bonjour!" and get all sorts of looks. Ah well, we enjoy learning and experiencing different places.

As for rudeness -- simply haven't experienced it in Paris or NYC by those in the service industry. Certainly we have experienced efficiency, but not rudeness.

I am sorry to hear of the experiences that some of those sharing their stories have experienced -- or their family members have. When I have experienced rudeness (drivers cutting in, rude gestures because I choose to drive the speed limit not well over it - I'm talking in Canada not Germany) I recall what my godfather told me, "As in a kick from an ass, consider the source.)
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Aug 21st, 2013, 02:44 PM
  #33  
 
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Everytime my French son - born and bred in France returns to France he comes back and says 'how rude the French are' - true and many of his relatives say the French are rude to the French and that ii is a cultural train - not in service industries but at least some French think the French are at times rude to each other.

Recently was with these French folk at a seaside cafe in a non foreign tourist town and they all were disgusted with the waiter for his non chalence and rudeness - true story so it does happen even to the French.

Whether foreign tourists pick this up in tourist places probably not as much as at least some French I know claim it is kind of a cultural train, much to their dismay - when they come to the States they all remark 'how friendly Americans are' - like saying high to strangers passing on the street - rare in France but common here and something the French I know seem to like and lament at the stern public attitude of French back home.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 03:12 PM
  #34  
 
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an aside. One year I went to France with a cast on my arm.
It was one of my best trips., a truck driver would raise his arm TO SHOW HIS CAST, entering a restaurant on the road a guy stood up to show me his cast, FEW TIMES LATER, I felt like I belonged to a secret society
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Aug 21st, 2013, 04:50 PM
  #35  
 
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I completely agree with Snobby.

Pal, you are making all this up just to take the Mickey out.


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Aug 21st, 2013, 05:00 PM
  #36  
 
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I thought it was Frank who sang that song, not Liza.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 05:24 PM
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Pal, you are making all this up just to take the Mickey out.>

everything I have reported is true - and these things happen to ordinary French and to me an ordinary tourist - folks not going to the typical high-end places I think most American tourists naturally want to go on the trip of a lifetime - in an upscale store or restaurant I would never ever expect rudeness or the staff would be toast - thus most folks here report they have encountered no rudeness but the French themselves and moi aussi have encountered downright rudeness that cannot be excused and also is not unique to France nor Paris.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 06:24 PM
  #38  
 
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There are the French and there are the Parisiens.
throughout France, the natives always acknowledged us when walking into the dining room for breakfast or dinner and also when walking on the same path.
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Aug 21st, 2013, 10:40 PM
  #39  
 
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There are real and comical antagonisms between northern French and southern French and bad service can be one of the consequences. In cases like that, often a foreign tourist will be served better than someone from another part of France.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 12:21 AM
  #40  
 
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Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis.
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