Those gruff Parisians...

Aug 22nd, 2013, 03:06 AM
  #41  
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"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"

The "coffee shop on Seinfeld" was a fictional place, as was the show, which was built and filmed on a Hollywood backlot. The classic NYC "coffee shop" of the 50's, 60's, and 70's barely exists today, and I sincerely doubt any are owned by native New Yorkers. Starbuck's took over the city long ago as the de facto coffee shop experience, and most coffee-loving New Yorkers today prefer fresh-roasted bean brew from places like Blue Bottle and Toby's Estate.

But thanks for coming clean on your experience (or lack of) with rude restaurant service in NYC.

"here in the mid-west New Yorkers have a rep of being rude"

The imagination and the lack of experience can be a funny thing.

I find that most people who have a negative opinion of New York City are people who have never been here, or are people who visited briefly and were overwhelmed. A lot of people who visit Manhattan are truly not city folk, and they find every aspect of life here jolting (re: my Ohio cousins). My dad, who possessed the driving experience and the road prowess of a seasoned cop, was shocked at the rules of the road in Manhattan in the 70's (which basically were none). He eventually grew to enjoy the challenge of driving here, but marveled at its insanity nonetheless. Ever since Bloomberg redesigned the city streets, my dad's experience no longer exists, too.

I realize that most of this conversation is based on restaurant experience, but I do a lot of fashion shopping in Paris, sometimes in very expensive stores. Compared to fashion shopping in NYC, I am often startled by some of the attitude I experience, and I don't startle easily. I speak fluent French, so I don't hesitate to return l'attitude. And sometimes I let the shop owner know how I feel about his/her conceit.

Let's remember, it's the French tourism board who is ramping up the charm offensive. Some Frenchman (or woman), perhaps with a head for business, thinks a cultural change may be necessary for a prosperous future.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 06:37 AM
  #42  
 
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FWIW, the French website Vie de Merde has someone reporting that a bus driver drove past their stop (in Lille) because they hadn't said "Bonjour" on getting on the bus (or at least, that was the excuse), sparking a lively online debate:
http://www.viedemerde.fr/inclassable/7749161
PatrickLondon is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:02 AM
  #43  
 
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Before our trip to France this summer (first time!), many people told us their stories of rude/bad experiences and that the French in general don't really like American tourists. That was not our experience.

We had very good service and interactions in cafes, stores, museums, as well as with everyday Parisians, who several times assisted us with directions in the metro and with the bus. Maybe we were just lucky first time visitors. We used our french as much as we could, but our command of the language is not extensive.

Although we don't have stories of rudeness to share with our friends (who seem a little disappointed), we do have stories about French drivers!
artfan is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:58 AM
  #44  
 
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I can't tell you how many people ask me if the French (or German or Italians etc) were rude to us when we spent time in Europe. I definitely tell them no, we were treated very nice by everyone.

I tell them that if you make a small effort to speak the language, and behave politely then you are treated kindly. I leave out the story from above since I feel that was partly my fault and not a reflection on the the French at all. I have only relayed that story here on Fodors.

Where is this myth coming from that the whole world hates Americans? I mean, I know that our government is disliked, but as a whole every country we visited treated us very kindly. I wish this myth would stop. I would much rather talk about the wonderful things we saw and did in other countries than deflect questions like this.
michele_d is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #45  
 
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the fact is that there are rude people everywhere. The man behind the butchery counter where i was looking for something for supper was very rude to me yesterday, so today, I went somewhere else.

it doesn't mean that all butchers are rude.
annhig is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:46 AM
  #46  
 
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ann...so true. We all encounter encounter rude people every day but it doesn't let me color my memories of a place. So I just tell everyone we were treated nicely, because that is what I remember...I do not want to perpetuate that myth any further.
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:56 AM
  #47  
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"The man behind the butchery counter where i was looking for something for supper was very rude to me yesterday, so today, I went somewhere else. it doesn't mean that all butchers are rude."

How simplistic.

A negative cultural attitude towards "serving" others, a negative stereotype, can take centuries to develop. I think it's silly to compare a long history to a one-time occurrence.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:00 PM
  #48  
 
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How simplistic.

A negative cultural attitude towards "serving" others, a negative stereotype, can take centuries to develop. I think it's silly to compare a long history to a one-time occurrence.>>

how is that simplistic, NYC or silly? I thought that I was doing the exact opposite to drawing a negative stereotype ie I wasn't tarring all butchers/parisians/french people/fodorites called NYCFoodSnob with the same brush.

perhaps I was being TOO subtle.
annhig is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:03 PM
  #49  
 
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Not the first time Paris tourist officials have issued such advice on how to treat tourists politely - about a decade ago it was given to shop keepers in general as well - telling them how to be polite when folks come in their shop and just look around, etc - reminds me of the Belgian bike shop I used to go to where I heard the owner ask what some of my colleagues wanted and when they said we just looking around he said "In that case there's the door".
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:15 PM
  #50  
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"how is that simplistic?"

I'm sorry, dears, I don't have time to hand hold and educate the young (and slow). I'm off to Lake Como, where the Italians provide the warmest embrace and the broadest smiles. Even the French know, if you want to experience delicious hospitality, go to Italy.

See you all in a month.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:21 PM
  #51  
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PS I hit Preview and my last post posted (as if I hit Submit). I never had a chance to edit. The page took more than 45 seconds to load, and I have high-speed FIOS.

There is something seriously wrong with Fodor's IT. If they keep this incompetence up, they will never come close to Trip Advisor's numbers.

One way to lose your user base: slow them down.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:27 PM
  #52  
 
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Don't drown.

We know you like to drink numerous Negronis then go swimming with rent boys.


Arrivederci, old thing!


Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:39 PM
  #53  
 
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Cigalechanta..this incident at Brasserie L'Isle St-Loius is the only time we've been greated rudely in oir many trips to Paris. The waiter corrected our pronounciation of each dish we ordered and was surly as well. We do not speak French but do try to use the polite terms the language of the country we are visiting. Maybe we just got their grouchy waiter that time. Needless to say, haven't returned to that brasserie.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:45 PM
  #54  
 
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>>A negative cultural attitude towards "serving" others, a negative stereotype, can take centuries to develop. <<

>>"how is that simplistic?"
I'm sorry, dears, I don't have time to hand hold and educate the young (and slow). <<

Evidently.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:57 PM
  #55  
 
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NYCFS - The same thing happened to me yesterday. Hit Preview and it posted.

Anyone else have this happen?
MaineGG is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 02:56 PM
  #56  
 
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Happy, my French not fluent. I'm sorry you didn't have
my enjoyable experience,
cigalechanta is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 03:04 PM
  #57  
 
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Did anyone (especially OP) actually read that pamphlet which was cited by the NY Times?
The essence is not a blanket demand that Parisians should act "nicer" but that different nationalities expect different experiences from a Paris visit. And should be treated differently.
Which could explain why some stereotyping about the "gruff Parisian" is really popular in some necks of the global woods, while other nationalities hardly ever make any fuss about it.

It's quite funny (and not too much off mark) how the Parisians (or their tourist authority) see their visitors..
As many posters here seem to be from the US: Aside from your need to dine in the afternoon (at around 6pm) your general attitude is described as a little high maintenance and that you need WiFi

In total, the general idea of the tourist authority's pamphlet is somewhat opposite to what the FoodSnob assumed.. the Parisians should not act "nicer" but more accomodating to every major visiting nation's pet peeves.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 03:16 PM
  #58  
 
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<>

I'm intrigued as to what NYCFS wanted to edit before s/he pressed submit.

this perhaps: <>

long time since I've been called young.
annhig is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 08:33 AM
  #59  
 
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The thing about rudeness is that it stands out in your mind and you often forget all the kindnesses that happen - all the folks that went out of their way to direct you somewhere, find something, etc.

Like the time I bought a bag of peanuts in the shell at a market in front of a mid-est run small grocery store - after I went to my picnic spot and opened the bag I saw the nuts were wormy and even for me inedible - I went back to the same guy who sold them to me and he say "No refund - you bought them - they're yours. Man I was so irate and that stands out years later over someone who did something really nice for me perhaps.

Rather than the good in people live on after them in this case it's the bad - the rudeness perhaps based on one event that folks talk about when they come home and then saying how rude Parisians were!
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 09:11 AM
  #60  
 
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Pal...very true...unfortunately.
michele_d is offline  

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