It’s Not So Oui-sey

, , , , , | Working | June 10, 2018

(My husband and I have taken our five-month-old son abroad to a famous theme park for our first family holiday. We are staying in one of the park’s hotels and go there immediately after arriving to check in and drop off our bags. We don’t speak French, but as the majority of staff speak English, we don’t foresee any problems. We also request a travel cot from reception to be delivered to our room. We venture into the park and spend several hours happily exploring and taking pictures and get back to the hotel well after dark. Being very tired, our first priority is to assemble the travel cot and put the baby down to sleep. However, after a couple of minutes, it becomes clear that something is wrong, as the cot refuses to open. After giving the whole thing a final shake — more out of tiredness and frustration than anything else — the cot suddenly unfolds with a clatter. It turns out that in trying to close it, the previous user of the cot had forced it in such a way that one of the metal legs had broken clean off, resulting in the cot getting suck in the “closed” position and rendering it unusable. Now annoyed, as well as tired and frustrated, I call the reception desk and explain that our travel cot is broken and we require a new one as soon as possible. The receptionist is not as fluent in English as the one we spoke to earlier in the day, but she seems to get the gist of our request and says that she will send someone right away. Twenty minutes later, an employee appears at our door. He does not speak English, but walks straight up to the crumpled pile of travel cot, which we had left in the corner of the room. In three swift movements, he has it unfolded.)

Employee: “Ta-da!” *gives us a smug look at having assembled the cot so swiftly when we apparently could not*

Me: *holding out the broken cot leg* “Okay, and what about this?”

(The employee looked at the leg, then at the cot, and his face fell. He took the leg and started to drag the fully-assembled broken cot out of the room, shaking his head and saying, “Oh la-la, oh la-la,” over and over again. Five minutes later, a new cot was delivered by a different employee. I guess the receptionist didn’t quite understand when we said our cot was broken, not that we didn’t know how to put it up.)

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