Finger waving cashier in Carrefour

Wandered up to an empty checkout in Carrefour (Dax) this evening in the hope of paying for the goods I had selected from the store and was unapologetically waved away as I didn't posses a Carte Pass (I think that's a Carrefour credit card) only a loyalty card.

If you ran a business would you tell your staff to turn customers away from the point of sale for not carrying the right card?

That is what I always told my children.....unfortunately now...when we go out for the day shopping, or just going to different towns to explore, its a case of trying to find a loo as I cant manage for a whole day. We have just come back from St Cyprien in the Languedoc and every day we walked for 5 or 6 miles...usually the length of Canet and back, same with Argeles and St Cyprien...which we do on alternatve days. In the summer there are loo's open...but come Autumn they are all locked up, which seems a bit strange.

My granny always said go before....

Frankly Im surprised no one has peed on the floor! this constant need for identification....its probably worth carrying birth certificate, passport, marriage licence, parents marriage licence, letter from utility company and Uncle Tom Cobley....on a daily basis (didnt we have a similar conversation last year when the breathalysers were supposed to become law?) end up being required to carry so much paperwork its ridiculous...and especially when its only to use a toilet....jeez! some of these jobsworths need to get a life.

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I needed the loo in our branch of ATAC in Cluny, which does not have public loos, but was allowed to use the staff loo. Intermarche refuses the use of their loo, you can be publicly humiliated as far as they are concerned, which is why I use them as little as possible.

Your wife has my utmost sympathy - I keep a mental record of loos throughout the southwest of France.

Good luck with the complaint and keep us posted please?

There are a few things done in American supermarkets which I prefer:

Bagging/sacking of groceries
Promptly opening more tills if the queues are backing up.
Return of shoddy or spoiled goods with no complaints.
Sale of OTC drugs (although I would prefer not to drive small pharmacies out of business).
Re-stocking of shelves in off-hours or after hours, not on Saturday morning when everyone including great-aunt Gerties are shopping and visiting
Decent mark-downs not just on about to go off meat.

I did wonder if my comments existed .....

was I dreaming...maybe I was

Well as some of you know j and I teach people to cook from time to time...usually clients who stay here at Clos des Saveurs.

So I thought, way back nice it would be to take people off to a herb farm and learn about all

the culinary and medicinal values of herbs.

There is a British chap in our local and famous market.

Thought that maybe he would like to share his knowledge and earn some extra

money....not a bad idea all round. But no he was rude in a very stentorian way as if

I had suggested he should brake the law or that I was.

Great British courage and bags of imagination eh?

But on another note the great British client is not always right and does not

make a fool out of Barbara.

Thanks to my odd sence of humour and with a little help from Michael Winner

who was, in his own right a rather tricky customer.

I think Vic’s point about rudeness in the photo thread was quite salient.

It goes further and includes what I call bad customer service from UK people. Before I responded to this today, thinking about it as an international phenomenon, I had been to market. I had hoped that one English trader was there, but she was not. I went to a second English trader where not only did I enquire if she knew anything about the 'missing' one but also bought stuff. So I was a customer and not just using her time. However, her response to my question was not exactly polite and also her abrupt additional remark about how I ought to go online to buy instead unnecessary. I will clearly not be using her again, as a response to her manners. As for the missing person, I'll catch her somewhere else or at home as and when for what I wanted.

If people wish to have and keep customers I think they would have a better chance if they were more encouraging rather than off-putting. No French trader has ever treated me that way, in fact where they have 'rivals' (which I am assuming is the case with the UK people) the two respective traders may well be found having a coffee together and not 'crossed swords' as one might imagine.

Ok...the following comments are aimed at every business in the world that employs numpties that think its ok to be rude to customers when the customer is not being rude to them. Regardless of whether they are on minimum wage, top dollar or are volunteers....

Damian...why are manners considered to be either 'subservience' and why is a person expecting, and incidentally, giving out good manners, called names like pompous, colonial etc? as I said Im a nurse, I have never been rude to a patient but have had plenty chucked at me. I am competent at finding out why the person is being rude and dealing with it rather than showing them the finger and telling them to 'spin on this'. As a student nurse in the 70s I didnt earn enough to eat for the whole month, so on top of my 48 hour working week I banged in another shift or two on an agency, minimum wage hadnt been invented but I maintained a good attitude and was never rude.

Later I ran a nursing home and dealt with difficult older people and, believe me, much more demanding relatives....I am not, ever, a walkover, but I dealt with the circumstances without ever being rude back.

Once, I queued in a supermarket when a young mum has unpacked all her stuff on the conveyor belt and the assistant allowed her to, only to turn around and spit back " I am closed....are you blind' so the mum had to go to the next till...(Incidentally, I had queued behind this mum for 15 minutes) so we join another bloody long queue (never have enough on the tills because they dont want to have to pay too many staff so they inconvenience their paying customers)....we get to the same stage when the next cashier raises a hand and tells young mum...' break' and walks off....we are expected to join the back of another queue. Now the supermarket have a crap argument this is not how you treat customers, and they need to train their staff to learn some manner and speak politely to customers.

I dont accept that if you earn crap money you act like you can be rude and do what you want. If you are in a rubbish job you maybe need to ask yourself why...and if thats because the person couldnt be bothered at school and have left school with nothing to offer but a bad are not going to get anywhere...or do you disagree Damian.When I worked in a hostel for the homeless we had plenty of inmates who couldnt be bothered and felt the world owes them a living, they kept their minimum wage jobs on average for a week, those however who wanted a better life and who decided to work hard and keep their heads down were noticed and promoted. We are the authors of our own destiny.

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Maybe the check out staff have strict instructions?

Maybe the uk and American supermarkets are better run?

The point was the shop was empty and there was no one else waiting - in fact the Carte Pass tills are often empty - probably because the staff do such a good job of deterring the shoppers!

Damain yes manners are a 2 way street.

Are you contradicting yourself?

Carole yes.....British people do forget they they are part of Europe and imagine

that they live in little America.

The service industry in Europe is not about Hi and cream cheesy grins

which are rehearsed in a chorus line.

We probably expect too much and our expectations wear blemishes.

Carol I have spent years in the US and find the bend over backwards approach to customer service embarrassing at best and patronizing at worst. My point is the member of staff is probably on minimum wage, is set targets for speed of processing customers and to be honest if they were having a bad day so be it .....end of.If I had a euro for ever Brit I see acting like a pompous, colonial bigot I would have a fair chunk of change. manners are a two way street. I have run my own business for over 25 years and staff are very important as long as they are not insulting to customers and vice versa everyone is happy. How ever if James was at the wrong till and maybe didn't see it was a credit card only, the assistant has to get the customers through the check out asap and so he would have caused a blockage for the rest of the people waiting to pay I m sorry you feel good service is a right, however, if you shop in a high volume, cheap price supermarket with tight margins I don't see how you can expect a Fortnum and Mason style approach to customer service?

God forbid that France ever embraces US style customer service.

I dont actually have a problem on a day to day level Brian...I just got fed up with comments about subservient staff which is rubbish! The best service I ever had was in a local shop in St Pardoux....a Lidl no less. I did a huge shop before I realised it I had filled the trolly....and thought, bugger as in all Lidl stores they tend to just sweep the stuff off the conveyor belt and you fight to get it in bags before it falls on the floor. Well this particular day I arrived at the till and no one was around (lunchtime) the young till assistant saw the trolley and sprung into action...she took me to a till and called out another member of staff to man another till as she said she was closing her's as this would take time...and she bagged everything for me as well...I was frankly amazed. I use the shop regularly now and always find the staff brilliant...

Ive travelled to lots of places around the world and manners are different wherever, I think Brits assume manners will be the same in France and that staff will be expected to behave the same in shops because so many Brits think France is Britain but with sunshine! The difference is that we are now more attuned to the USA than Europe.

Now I'm laughing because reflecting on some of the countries I have spent time in, manners here in France (which I actually find very good generally) are gold. I wonder how most people having a moan on here would survive in central Asian countries where customs and behaviour are simply very different to our comprehension. Then reflect on Norwegian friends who thought just about everybody in London was a money-grubbing pig given the lack of smiles and eye contact when they were shopping. I think these exchanges could go on for ever and nobody actually ever come out RIGHT. Everybody moans is probably the point that we should have reached several pages back, or does somebody wanna moan about that?

what on earth are all these comments about 'subservience'? last time I looked being polite, displaying good manners, not being chippy with anyone was absolutely nothing to do with being subservient! as a nurse who has worked in areas such as A & E and oncology where people are upset and often can be rude, and as a younger person working as a guest relations manager at the Intercontinental hotel in London,I was taught that dealing with rudeness is a skill. Its a skill that can be taught and should be taught to those who are dealing with the public. If people consider you deal with rudeness by giving the same back I would suggest you are either not in business or in diplomacy, because behaving aggressively is the way that fights and wars start.

It is not rocket science to learn to cope with difficult people. Look at M & S and Waitrose/John Lewis partnership. You will find staff who deal beautifully with all types of customers without lying on the floor and asking to be walked all over. I re-iterate, good manners cost nothing, chippy employees exist in France because its almost impossible to sack day that wont be the case.

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