I was in a large French hypermarket today when I decided to buy a USB stick as I can transfer movies to it from my laptop and play them on the TV.
Ken: (takes usb stick with security sticker from display and walks to nearest cash desk) Can I pay for this here?
Assistant 1: Yes you can sir. (walks off)
Ken: (stands waiting for somebody to take cash. Assistant 2 appears, avoids eye contact, logs on to till, checks an invoice, logs off, walks away)
(After five minutes, Assistant 3 appears. Just as Ken is about to speak, large trolley-wielding lady pushes in front, thrusts receipt at Assistant 3 and fires off angry verbal volley. Assistant 3 shakes head, looks puzzled and walks off with customer searching shelves for ten minutes)
(Assistant 2 returns, still makes no eye contact, checks another invoice, logs off, walks away)
(Assistant 3 returns with angry lady, checks diary, checks screen, checks stock listings, shrugs, angry lady stomps off)
(Assistant 3 finally takes Ken’s cash)
Ken: Could you remove the security tag please?
Assistant 3: (smirks patronisingly at stupid Anglais) No sir, you have to take it there (points at Customer Service Desk)
Ken: (joins queue at Customer Service Desk, reaches front) Could you remove this security tag please?
Customer Service Assistant 1: (smirks patronisingly at stupid Anglais) No sir, you have to take it THERE (points at Security Desk)
Ken: (joins queue at Security Desk, reaches front) Could you remove this security tag please?
Security Guard: Of course sir! (takes Ken’s receipt & stamps it enthusiastically, reaches for tag removal gadget, swipes it, tag fails to come off. Guard tries again. And again. And again. Guard looks helplessly at Ken. Shrugs. Picks up phone and launches into volley of high-speed French. Sends Ken back to Customer Service Desk.
Ken: (joins queue at Customer Service Desk, reaches front, hands over USB stick and receipt, duly stamped)
Customer Service Assistant 1: (for it is she) (without a word, sighs, picks up her own security removal gadget, removes security tag, shrugs across the aisle at the Security Guard, thrusts USB into Ken’s hand, goes for break)
Is this normal French service – or could it be due to the fact it’s St. George’s day today..?