A friend in NZ was telling me about cases of Japanese tourists going into shock over their treatment when in France...bad manners, rude taxi drivers, waiters who yell, shop assistants who make you feel uncomfortable as soon as you enter "their" shop, etc.
To be honest, I kind of " pooh poohed" her (sorry MJ!) because I was rather convinced things were on the mend vis a vis attitudes to clients.
I really did believe that it was finally understood that " the client is king."
Today this thick-skinned desperateanglohousewife was reduced to tears. I joke not!!
Firstly let me tell you a bit about the Japanese tourist dilemma. Did some research and what I found quite frankly horrified me.
Of the one million or so Japanese who visit Paris every year, a dozen or so tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, suffering from what's become known as "Paris syndrome".
Some polite Japanese tourists suffer when they discover that Parisians can be rude or the city does not meet their expectations. For the Japanese - used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger - the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much.
The experience can apparently be too stressful for some and they suffer a psychiatric breakdown. The Japanese embassy even has a 24-hour hotline for those suffering from severe culture shock, and can help find hospital treatment for anyone in need.The only permanent cure is to go back to Japan - never to return to Paris.
Source : BBC NEWS, Europe
My fabulous girlfriends gave me a gift voucher for a back massage and a facial at a spa in Bordeaux city...down Cours Clemenceau. I was thrilled as had already been there a couple of times plus had given gift vouchers from there myself.
I went along last week to organise a gift voucher for another friend plus book my own appointment. I duly gave my gift voucher to the receptionist who appeared to take note of its contents, took down my name, phone number,etc.
I rolled up today 10 minutes in advance ( yes, am very "anal" about arriving on time!), gave my name and mentioned in passing that I didn't have my gift voucher with me as had come directly from work assuming that as she had already made the appointment, written down details, that this would not be of consequence. Wrong again!!
Madam, without your voucher you cannot have your facial.
But you saw/studied my gift voucher when I booked, I replied, rather surprised.
I was then told that I would have to pay with a cheque, then come back with the voucher to b reimbursed...
I didn't have my cheque book, I told them, and besides it was a gift and, as a matter of principle, I do not want to see the value of it. Minimum morality? I was then sent to the waiting room.
Another woman arrived hrumphing before she even opened her mouth.
Madam, she spat, apparently you have no cheque book, you either pay with a credit card or forego your appointment.
I responded in my casual smiley kiwi way that it was no problem, I could easily come back another day. I was then told on no uncertain terms that if I did that I would lose my appointement altogether. So I said I could hop on my bike and go and get it as only live down the road...still smiling.
She informed me that I had to cancel 24 hours in advance and that I was already losing time off my appointement and that they would raccourcir ( shorten!) my appointment accordingly....and would I please hurry up and take my decision as I was losing time off my facial (do they time them?) as we stood there talking. I tried to explain my misbelief and that the receptionist (who was standing there) had already seen my voucher, plus knew I had bought another for a friend the same day I booked.
Now I was shocked plus feeling insulted...was being treated like a dishonest con-woman and simply did not understand. I said in english, this is incredible! To which I was told it was not at all but " normal procedure."This is " procedure", and we don't know you...
I told her, voice shaking, I felt totally insulted by their treatment of me and could not understand what was going on...alors c'est quoi votre decision?
I tried to act graciously and went for my facial..but first went to the loos to try and stop shaking. Whilst I was there, due to the thinness of the walls, I heard the three of them talking about me. Example : " Pffff, elle est pas bien cette femme!"
So offended, I could hardly get up the courage to get out of the loos but managed to finally hold head high and move on to the appointment...which was definately shorter than previewed. Client sanction!!
The young lady who gave me my facial apologised for the problems and went ahead with a very quick back massage and facial which started by rubbing oil into my face WITHOUT removing my makeup first!!
For a spa which calls itself a "Villa" and pretends to be prestigious this was all a bit too rude. When I paid ( for my gift!), I mentioned that it might be an idea to mention to her colleagues that the walls of the toilets are rather thin and that I had heard everything that was said about me.
I cycled home, grabbed my gift voucher, went back there, left it, was duly given a cheque for the same amount I paid. Very classy!!
I stopped and spoke to a friend on the way home and simply broke down in tears. I was still shaking.
The client is definately NOT king in France. I was wrong.
I am saddened and disappointed. I am disappointed for all the good people in France, those who DO give good service and treat clients with respect. Ultimately, they suffer as their perfection is tarnished by such people as I encountered today.
Please tell DesperateAngloHousewives your opinion...