Five Cents To Save The Whales Is Too Much For Some

, , , | Right | August 13, 2018

(Lately, a law was passed in France forbidding plastic bags in shops, to prevent pollution and people throwing plastic bags everywhere. Where I work, the CEO has decided to offer paper bags that cost 0,05 euros. You can, of course, leave without a bag or use one of your own. It is a Friday night. I am the youngest salesperson in the shop, so I have to attend the cash register. I also attend college for English studies. A man comes up to me with several items. At that moment, I don’t realise he is American and that he doesn’t speak fluent French.)

Me: “Would you like a paper bag?”

Customer: “I don’t care. Give me a plastic bag.”

Me: “I am sorry, sir. We don’t have them anymore; we just have those bags that cost 0,05 euros.”

(He is joined by his son, who asks me for a bag to carry the items, still in French. I explain to him that we don’t have free bags and that he will have to pay for one. Suddenly the older man starts yelling at me, in English:)

Customer: “I want a plastic bag! I’m an American! I shouldn’t have to follow French laws!”

Me: *in English* “Sorry, but you have to follow the law of the country.”

(His son brought a bag, clearly pissed at his dad and embarrassed, and they left. A week after, I learned that they complained about me and my “lack of professionalism” on the customer experience website.)


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Will Fight You On This Tooth And Nail

, , , | Healthy | August 5, 2018

(I study dentistry at a dental clinic in France. The dental clinic is split into what we call services: surgery, prosthetics, urgent care, etc. That means that a patient who wants the teeth we remove to be replaced by a prosthesis needs to coordinate his appointments with both services. It’s more complicated than just going to a regular dentist, but in France clinics make you pay exactly what healthcare reimburses, making it free for everyone, apart from “better” acts, like implants. The basic stuff is 100% covered, though, and that’s why poor people come here. Every service is clearly labeled. I have this interaction while working in the surgery service, with a patient who has six teeth left, and NO prosthesis.)

Me: “So, according to your file, we have to remove those three teeth.”

Patient: “But you will replace them, right?”

Me: “It says in your file that you have an appointment in prosthesis; they will take care of it.”

Patient: “But I want you to do it now! It’s in two months!”

(It is rather urgent that his teeth be removed, as they have already become infected in the past.)

Me: “Ah, well, then, we can remove the teeth now, and you can go to your planned appointment. In fact, it’s not that bad; we require about two to three months of healing before we can make a fully-functional prosthesis.”

Patient: “What will I do without my teeth, though? I’d rather stay like this and come back in two months!”

(The teeth we’re talking about are premolars. His front teeth, the incisors, are long gone, as are his back teeth, his molars. The premolars serve no purpose if they’re not surrounded or faced by other teeth.)

Me: “Are you sure? They could get infected again and cause you a lot of pain. They’re of no use to you, you can’t eat with them, and we don’t see them when you smile.”

Patient: “I want to keep them! What would I do without them?”

(I don’t know, the exact same thing you’ve been doing for the past ten years with your six remaining rotten teeth? He ended up leaving and refused any care. Bet he’ll b**** and moan when, in two months, they tell him they can’t do a nice prosthesis for two other months…)

Testing Out The Hiding Places

, , , , | Learning | August 3, 2018

(In France, teachers grade on a scale of 0 to 20, on which 0 is the worst grade, and 20 is the best. One day I get a nine in English. Upset with this score, I hide my test in my desk, under my textbooks. Several years after, my mother wants to replace my desk and finds my test.)

Mother: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Mother: *laughing* “Why did you hide such a good grade?”

(I looked at my test. My grade was nine… out of ten! I had forgotten that my teacher preferred to give two little tests in the same week on scale of 0 to 10, rather than a big test graded on the scale 0 to 20. I had let that bug me for years!)

Tat For Brat

, , , , | Right | July 27, 2018

(Like most French tattoo parlours, we work only with appointments. A lot of customers want to get tattoos right here, right now, so we decide to have one “walk-in” day per week, on Tuesdays. Most customers perfectly get the idea, and everyone is happy about this. It is a Friday. A regular’s daughter, age nineteen, comes in.)

Customer: “Hi, I want to get a small tattoo. A small bow, on the ankle.”

Me: “Great! I’ll do it for [price]. Do you want to get an appointment, or do you prefer to do this next Tuesday?”

Customer: *seems confused* “I want to do it now!”

Me: “But we can’t do it now. We work only on appointments every day but Tuesday. That’s why your parents and you usually come here on Tuesdays, right?”

Customer: *looks dumbfounded, pouts like a baby, wide-eyed, and says with a baby tone* “But… I want it NOOOOW.”

Me: *confused* “But, [Customer], I can’t do it now. I have a customer right here waiting for me. We work only on appointments, every day but Tuesday.”

Customer: *not kidding at all, now leaning her head as if it would change my mind, saying in a desperate tone* “But… I wanted it… I wanted it TODAY!”

(She looks like she’s about to cry.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, but I really can’t. I’m planned all day, today and tomorrow. You can come back on Tuesday if you want.”

Customer: *leaving, mumbling* “That sucks. This place sucks. I wanted it. That’s not fair. I want it. I want it.”

Coworker: “What was that? Did she think that puppy eyes magically cancel your other appointments?”

(I was told the next week she eventually got her tattoo, in a famous tourist walk-in shop, for three times the price I asked. Some people can’t wait, I guess.)

Cut In Line And I’ll Cut You Down

, , , , | Friendly | July 18, 2018

(I am waiting in line at the supermarket with my husband and my bad shoulder is a bit painful. I have arthritis and when it’s acting up, I am not very comfortable in crowded spaces because people tend to bump into me and the pain will get worse. There are about five other people in line before us. The woman behind me keeps bumping into me and pushing me. I think it is accidental at first. I tell her to be careful, and that because of my arthritis in my shoulder, it is really painful.)

Woman: “I really don’t care! It’s not my problem!’

(Less than a minute later, she pushes again, but much harder. I move to the side, holding my shoulder in pain, and by the time I turn to her, she has already taken my place in line.)

Me: “What do you think you’re doing? You know pushing me out of the way won’t get you to the cashier faster.”

(She looks at me for a second and turns her head back to ignore me. My husband, who is still in line in front of her, has turned around and is glaring at her. She is trying to ignore him at first, but when she realises that it is not working, she tells him that I was the one trying to cut in front of her! He just laughs it off and keeps staring at her. She starts to look offended. I step next to her and tap on her shoulder to get her attention.)

Woman: “What do you want?”

Me: “I told you that pushing me was not going to get you to the cashier faster!”

(She is not moving and even has an irate look on her face.)

Me: “He’s my husband! Go back to your place!”

(The woman turned bright red and stepped back in line behind me. I heard a few people laugh, and noticed they were all looking at her. I was in a lot of pain, but after putting someone back in their place like that, I had a smirk on my face!)

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