Monday, 27 December 2010

Rude, Unhelpful And Snobby. Must Be French...?

This is when I really start to enjoy the Christmas break. The madness of the last two days has faded away, and I can just sit around the house, being lazy and enjoying my presents whilst reaching for the occasional home-made mince pie.

Several people have tried to persuade me to brave the sales, but the last thing I want to do right now is get caught in the middle of clamouring crowds. And besides, I'm quite happy with all the gifts I was fortunate enough to open on Saturday, many of which have already been added to my growing collection of essential oils and aromachemicals. Lots of new scented wonders to explore and evaluate!

The thought of shopping reminds me of my brief Paris getaway with Madame Persolaise. I'd like to write about it in more detail in the weeks to come, but today I think I'll just take a moment to return to the ever-popular topic of Sales Assistants. Essentially, all I want to say is that the service we received in every single shop was nothing short of impeccable. For some odd reason that Madame P and I have never been able to understand, British people are convinced that entering a Parisian department store or cafe entails putting up with a barrage of rudeness and brusque inefficiency. Well, I'm pleased to be able to report that this couldn't have been further from the truth last week. Wherever we went - from Iunx to BHV - we encountered helpfulness, charm and an impressive level of product knowledge. What's more, we also found a great willingness to speak English, which absolutely flew in the face of the old stereotype of the snooty Parisian shop owner pointedly ignoring tourists' cries of "Parlez-vous anglais?"

I've typed this before and I'm quite happy to type it again: shopping is always pleasant in France, especially when compared to the miserable experience it often is in Britain.

Now back to laziness. Where's that brandy butter...?

Oh, just one last thing before I indulge in another calorie-fest. Be sure to return on the 30th for a special inter-blog roundup of the perfume highlights of the past year.



  1. I am happy to hear that you received a nice treatment. My brother always says he loves Paris´s ways of receiving a customer. I have never been to Paris but to several other places instead, in the country. I love when they say Mademoiselle because here it is quite stressful and rude. As for Britain, I can only speak of London. But I remember I was most of the time sitting on a tea room and sipping hot tea while it was raining outside. Then, Bond Street, New Bond Street and so on, it was beautiful, but I was always in a rush, probably because I wanted so many things to buy!

    I am not going to the sales. it is crazy here:-)

  2. Sounds like your trip was successful- I'm glad to hear it!

    When I went overseas (just to London), I was endlessly prepared by my American friend living there that I will have to deal with rude locals once I get there, and that it will be because I was American. I can happily say that I only had to endure one rude person in the 10 days I was there and countless people I encountered- and that was the tube station guy. Looking at him only briefly told you that he truly hated his life. How can you get mad? Well, maybe I would have been mad in Chicago, to be truthful, I am quick-tempered at times. BUT not while traveling! It's not wise. The moral of my story (that many of you know all too well) is you get back what you put out.

    Anyway, hope the rest of your Christmas break is a good one, and we hope to hear some more about your experiences and acquisitions.

  3. Good for you!!! Relax and enjoy the season/moment is all but forgotton - we need to be quite sure it THRIVES!! Do you have favourite gifts, or, like yt, it is ALL Winter Wonderland?? :-) Please check out music from the Manhatten Transfer`s holiday album - ``Snowfall`` is sooooo dreamy, and here in Atlanta we had a RARE White Christmas! :-)

  4. To me shopping in France has always been a pleasant experience, unlike shopping in my city Amsterdam where sales assistants can be very rude and snobbish for some unexplainable reason.

  5. My husband and I just returned from a day shopping in San Francisco. It was a beautiful, productive day. The best part? pastries and coffee at a wondereful, local bakery -Tartine. Delicious!

  6. My husband and I just returned from a day shopping in San Francisco. It was a beautiful, productive day. The best part? pastries and coffee at a wondereful, local bakery -Tartine. Delicious!

  7. I don't know where that misconception came from but when I was in Paris, I was continually surprised by the customer care and the level of politeness and helpfulness (and I wanted to practice my French but they all wanted to practice their English). :)
    I'm glad to hear you had a wonderful time and got such lovely presents. Merry Christmas!

  8. Vintage Lady, almost all my shopping experiences in France have been very positive indeed. It's British sales assistants who could do with a few tips on general politeness and good manners.

  9. Carrie, isn't it weird how all these stereotypes get perpetuated.

    I'll do my best to write about Paris before too long.

  10. Linda, thanks for stopping by. A favourite present? Well, the Paris trip was a Christmas present, so I guess that would have to be my favourite.

    And as for snow, I think we've now had plenty in Britain, thank you very much!

  11. Cheryl G, San Francisco is one of several cities on my 'must visit' list. Perhaps I'll make it to Tartine one day!

  12. Anonymous, I've never been to Amsterdam, but I have to say I've heard only good things about it. Maybe we're all just rude to our own kind??!?!

  13. Ines, I'm pleased you were impressed too.

    The Christmas celebrations are going well so far. Today we've got more people coming over for scones, jam and cream. The calories never stop!

  14. The poor French, where did they get this sad reputation? I've always had a lovely time in Paris, and the people I've met there have always been charming and gracious when I attempt to speak my primitive French! I'm glad you had a great time.

  15. Marla, I can only put it down to jealousy. Perhaps all the other European countries wish they could deliver service as charming and efficient as that offered by the French.


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