Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sometimes I wonder why I even try...

Or, "No milk for you!"

When we last saw our heroine, she was heading to the supermarket to buy some milk for her morning tea. I would like to remind you that this requires an extraordinary amount of effort on her part, because it means she must get up, get dressed and go out before having her morning tea.

Ksam: *arrives at the local Franprix and enters the store*
Cranky Employee: We're closed.
Ks: But you open at 8:30!
CE: No we don't.
Ks: Yes you do, I've been here before at that time.
CE: Are you trying to tell me you know when MY store opens?
Ks: It frickin' says 8:30 right on your window!!
CE: I've worked here for (insert ridiculous amount of years here) number of years and I can assure you we've never opened at 8:30.
Ks: Then why the hell is your door wide open?
CE: Leave! Can't you see we're busy stocking shelves?
Ks: *walks out shaking her head and wondering why she ever tries to reason with these people*

And all of this happened the morning after our dear Ksam got felt up in the movie theater by a 50 year old Frenchie:

Erica and Ksam sit down to watch the 5:40pm showing of "Two Lovers". An older gentleman walks past and then turns back and sits down right next to Ksam, even though there are plenty of other seats available.

Ksam: See what I mean? People are always sitting right next to me!
Erica: You should've put your bag down on that chair.
Ksam: I know, but I'm always worried about someone trying to steal it.
*The movie starts*
Ksam (What's going on here? Is that man stroking my leg? Or is that just his coat?) *moves leg*

The movie continues on, and a little while later Ksam feels something again. (What do I do? I don't want to just start yelling at him in the theater if it really is his coat...) *Moves leg again*

The third time....(okay, this cannot be a coincidence. Slams down hard on his foot and turns to glare him). Ksam prepares herself to say something along the lines of "Tu me touches encore une fois connard et je te coupe les couilles" (touch me again bastard, and I'll cut your balls off) in case it happens again, but the dude gets up and runs out of the theater like a little girl, leaving Ksam to feel dirty and slightly traumatized.

End scene.

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Blogger Emmy said...

eep. scarey stuff.

oh and, another excellent example of the high quality customer service this fine country has to ofter don't you think?!!

November 26, 2008 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

Ah Ksam, do like I do and never leave the house, then you never have to be disappointed...

Sorry you had a rough day! Today WILL be better.

November 26, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger L'Étrangère Americaine said...

Sam that's more action that I've gotten during all my time in France. :)

November 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Jasmin, you crack me up!

November 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Emily Marie said...

OMG, the same thing happened to me in a theater on the Champs like 3 years ago...I went to see a movie by myself and there was practically no one in the salle. Some guy walks in and of all the seats he could choose he takes the one right next to me!! Grossness!

November 26, 2008 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger David said...

Sam, come on, how long have you been in France?
You're making newbie/tourist mistakes here...

A store opens when the manager/clerk/whoever decides. Period. What were you thinking?

Always pout your coat/bag/whatever in the seat next to you in the theater and give up the seat only if the room is full.

November 26, 2008 at 2:39 PM  
OpenID sallymari said...

Yuk! What a creep - poor you :-)

November 26, 2008 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

what i dont get is the grumpy store owner outright turning away a potential customer and a profit (a small one, but still). He'd rather take the risk of pissing you off so that you never return there to help pay his rent than to take 2 minutes to run through the caisse (thus making you happy and earning a bit of money)...what the fawk is wrong with french merchants?

November 26, 2008 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Séverine said...

OMG, the EXACT same thing happened to me a couple of years ago. I was watching Bridget Jones at a time around 6pm. It was in a UGC theatre near Montparnasse, boulevard du Montparnasse.

I was traumatized. I got the nerve to get up and yell at him "je peux vous aider?!" People were wondering what was going on but the man left very quickly and I so so so so so regret not punching him in the face or asking for help from the other people next to me.
Since then, I don't let anyone sit next to me if there ar eplenty of seats available.

November 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

SO weird Séverine, this also happened at a theater at Montparnasse!!

November 26, 2008 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dang. I'm not sure I would ever go back to that Franprix again.
And I am surprised a man would do that if you were with another man. (he would be afraid of getting socked in the face)

November 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Animesh said...

here I am, my first view of your blog [finally!] :).

Milk with tea??? What are you, British? [or better, Indian? :)]

eww abt the guy in the theatre. You want a can of mace for Christmas?

November 26, 2008 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I think the store thing is a result of a general tenant of French culture: businesses exist to earn people a living, NOT to provide a service to the pubic. And when these two goals conflict (as in the case of a shop, which by definition, is supposed to take money and give people stuff in return, they can't wrap their heads around it. They see no commection between the fact that pleasing customers brings in more business and more business would mean more money. It's just STRANGE and I'll never understand it.

As for your movie "adventure"...ick!
Guess that's why god invented dvds... just kidding. Don't you dare let the pervs win. Carry mace and let 'em have it!!

November 27, 2008 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I had the same thing happen at an afternoon seance of a Woody Allen movie- how appropriate, right? I didn't bother trying to find something appropriate to say in French and just shouted at him in English at teh top of my voice and grabbed my coat and bag and switched seats. EVERYONE in the theatre turned to stare at him and he got up and ran out of the theatre. It felt very good but I have been very nervous ever since about going to movies alone during the day (with good reason it sounds like...).

November 27, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger David said...

Beth (and pretty much everybody else), concerning businesses it's called "cultural differences" you all seem to be considering as an absolute thing that the goal of a business is to please costumers in exchange of their money.

It's the way it is in a money obsessed society like the US.
That doesn't mean it apply everywhere and Americans traveling should start wrapping their mind around that.
In France, when you go to a shop you go into somebody's place.
When somebody goes to your place, do they do whatever they want or do they have to respect you and your rules because they're at your place?
Same thing when you're at somebody else's place, including a store.
Everything else is irrelevant.

Stop thinking on a money level and start thinking on a human level (I know it's a hard thing to do for some Americans) and that should start to make sense.

November 27, 2008 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

David (and pretty much every other French person out there), I think that what you are missing is that without customers, there would be no business. And in today's shaky financial times, do you really think people can afford to lose business? So I disagree, it's not irrelevant - if these people want to stay in business, they need to at least be decent to customers in their store.

And don't even get me started on the French people who refuse to sell you something if you don't have exact change...cuz everyone knows it's SO much more important to have change in your register than to make a sale!! :)

November 27, 2008 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger David said...

Sam, you're still missing the point.

The guy is behaving normally in a French context, so that wouldn't make him lose any business...

You're still thinking in an American perspective here, this is what I'm trying to tell you, you're not having the right thought process, because you're not in America.

If I go to Franprix and I'm told that it's closed, I won't say anything, I'll just come back later and that's it. Or go to another place if it's an urgent matter, but I'll come back to that Franprix next time if that's the one I'm used to go.

And I never had anybody ever that refused to sell me something because I didn't have exact change. Ever.
You must be doing something wrong.

November 27, 2008 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Oh David, you're so French. Always with the blaming. And I don't think any of us are missing the point here. We all *know* how things work in France, we just don't agree with it.

And I disagree that a French person wouldn't argue with a Franprix employee - that's a very French thing to do because French people are always right, n'est-ce pas? It's something I've picked up over here, it's certainly never something I would've done in the US.

November 27, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger David said...

In your previous comment it was not a question of agreeing with the thing but of saying that "he'll lose business etc."

And yes, I would leave without arguing with the guy and only an idiot would (but you're right, many idiots in Paris).
Sure "French people are always right", but in that case, the guy would be more right than me as we're on his turf so he has the homefield advantage and also for that reason I owe him more respect that he owes to me(see previous comments).

November 27, 2008 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

So now I'm an idiot. So glad you stopped by today, David!

November 27, 2008 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger David said...

Why do Americans have to take everything personal?

I meant a French idiot...
The Americans case has been dealt with in previous comments: "arguing because they're missing the point and thinking they have every right in the world and that the worker should be their slave because they are the all powerful costumer with the magic dollars in their hands"

November 27, 2008 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

And why do French people have such a hard time detecting sarcasm?

Not to mention the fact that this post was meant to be facetious in the first place, and not a criticism of France. People do blog for entertainment purposes as well!

November 27, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

I once was sitting in the metro and a guy started feeling himself up in the seat across from me. I started yelling at him and he quickly left the metro at the next stop.

God. That was ages ago. I think I had been in France all of 15 days then.

November 28, 2008 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

And now I've read all the comments and oops. My comment is at the tail end of a little argument.

I think at the end of the day, in this country, you still have to argue a little bit. You won't necessarily get what you want, but perhaps you'll feel a little better.... Though more often than not, arguing just plain old won't get you anywhere. You are more likely to get what you want if you don't making the French person feel like you are making them do what they don't want to do. It's an art.

A couple of days ago, I tried to return something to a store. When I was annoyed because they wouldn't do this completely reasonable thing (I've worked in stores, I know what can be returned and what can't), I asked how they felt about losing a customer. I was told that it didn't matter if they lost me as a customer. In other words, there'll always be more.

Whatever. It ain't a big deal. There are lots of other stores I can do business in.

November 28, 2008 at 3:12 PM  

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