Monsieur Shouty-Pants: A Cautionary Tale

, , , , , , | Right | January 1, 2018

(I’m half French, and the following takes place in Paris when I’m flying back from a family event. My flight is cancelled, and the inevitable queue of disgruntled passengers is starting to build around the customer service desk. I am standing behind an American chap who is in full how-dare-you-cancel-my-flight, do-you-not-know-who-I-am mode, made worse by the fact that he is shouting in English and the representative is clearly French. He eventually storms off, I suspect without the ticket he needs. The representative shakes her head and gives a shrug as I approach.)

Me: “Quel gentilhomme charmant!” *What a charming fellow!*

Representative: “Ah, je ne m’en fous pas!” *I don’t give a f***!*

(She then realises what she’s said and turns bright red.)

Me: *in hysterics* “Ah, oui, moi je n’ai pas envie de le f***** non plus!” *I wouldn’t want to f*** him either!*

(She made sure I got on the next flight. I didn’t manage to get an upgrade, but I suspect I got home much more quickly than Monsieur Shouty-Pants.)

Not The Flavor Of The Month

, , , , , | Working | December 30, 2017

(My mother’s boss visited the headquarters of a famous coffee brand in Switzerland for her work, and while there was given a flavour that she never tried before and really liked. She is also a regular at a [Coffee Brand] store in Paris and has a regular order there. This happens after she goes back to that store.)

Boss: “Hi, I’m here for my regular order, but would like to change it. I’d like to add some decaf and [flavour].”

Salesperson: “They haven’t had [flavour] since before I was born.”

Boss: “Can we please check on your computer?”

(The computer is checked by an older employee, who doesn’t find the flavour and insists it has been discontinued as well.)

Boss: “That’s strange, because I was talking with [Coffee Brand’s Vice-President] a few days ago, and he gave me [flavour].”

(Only after that did the older employee admit that [flavour] was actually a new flavour that hadn’t made it to the Paris store yet. They gave her free chocolates as an apology.)

A Riot Of Color

, , , , | Right | November 16, 2017

(Within our copy store there are about twelve copy machines. Every machine prints in black and white, except one. Our only colour copier is right next to our office. On its cover, and on the wall right above it, there are two large warning labels to advise people about it, since colour copies are six times more expensive than black and white. One thing about our copy cards: first, you buy one for 2€ — 1€ for the card itself, 1€ for the credit, so six black and white copies or one colour one. Then you can add credit on it for a whole year.)

Customer: *holding a perfect copy* “Excuse me?”

Me: “Yes? Can I help you?”

Customer: “I just bought a card. I did just one copy, and now it says my credit isn’t enough.”

Me: *knowing where this is going, and pointing to the colour copier* “Did you use that specific machine?”

Customer: “Yes! But I don’t understand what’s the matter.”

Me: “This one is a colour copier. Copies are 0.92€ a piece when you use it.”

Customer: “Oh, no! I only wanted a black and white copy! I needed the text, without pictures! Well, now, I guess you have to refund me.”

Me: “I’m truly sorry, but we use only a card system. Hence, we don’t keep any money in our office, and anyway, we’re prohibited to do any kind of refunding.”

Customer: “Come on! Why not?”

Me: “This is a self-service. We can help you to do your copies, but if you don’t ask for our help, if the copier works fine — which it did — we can’t do anything at all, even if you mess your copy. I’m sorry!”

Customer: “But I’m asking for your help right now!”

Me: “I mean help before doing any copy.”

Customer: *angry* “But it’s false advertisement! You didn’t warn me about it!”

Me: “Actually, we did.”

Customer: *angrier* “Really? And how was I supposed to know that it was a colour copier?”

Me: “There are labels on it, and on the wall in front of you.”

Customer: *getting more and more angry* “Nobody f****** reads these posters!”

Me: *now bored out of my mind* “Yes, I think you’re right. And that’s the main issue there. We are in a library where nobody even bothers to read.”

(In a way, I guess being a smart-a** didn’t help me to keep that job more than four months.)

Cents-less To Argue

, , , | Right | November 6, 2017

(I am a cashier in a discount hardware store. The store policy is to sell plastic bags for three cents, but when my manager is not on duty, my coworker and I give them away when the customers ask nicely. However, this happens after checking out a lady, when my manager is on duty.)

Customer: “Do you have a bag, please?”

Me: “I have plastic bags, and they cost three cents. Would you like one?”


(The whole store goes silent and stares at us. Completely surprised at the sudden outburst, I let her glare at me a few seconds before responding.)

Me: “That’s probably because my manager is watching us today, madam.”

Customer: *suddenly quiet* “Oh.”

(She puts her hand over her mouth, then hurries to stuff her purchases in her purse. She blushes, not looking at me anymore.)

Customer: “I didn’t say anything.”

(She hurried out of the store, avoiding eye contact. Luckily, my manager just shrugged it off.)

Language Barrier Before The Ticket Barrier

, , , , , | Friendly | October 26, 2017

(I am visiting my dad in Paris, but since I live in Germany and both my parents are German, my French is a little rusty. After some stressful time on the train to Paris, I have to find the right metro. I am already near an anxiety attack when I am approached by an older lady. The whole conversation takes place in French.)

Lady: “One euro? Two euros?”

Me: *confused stare, since she has interrupted me in my search for my metro*

Lady: “One euro? Two euros?”

Me: “What?”

Lady: “Do you speak French?”

Me: “Um, no, I don’t speak it very well.”

Lady: *mocking tone* “Oh, you don’t speak it well? Oh, well, you’re in France, aren’t you?”

Me: “Yes?”

Lady: “So, you speak French!”

(I feel very oppressed by her attitude; her tone is outright aggressive, and she comes nearer and nearer, so I snap.)

Me: “What do you want from me? Leave me alone!”

(I walked straight away from her, but while I searched for my trains, she tried to approach me several more times. I’ve never run so fast to the station. And lady: Just because I am in France, it doesn’t mean I speak French! I was in Switzerland once, but I still don’t speak their accent. But the rest of my stay at my dad’s apartment was lovely, and showed me why I love this country!)

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