paris

Goddess a few times a week

I am not a goddess in most aspects of my life, but I sure as hell am when I go shopping. As a consumer in America, I get treated like a goddess. Those who have never been outside the States, don’t know what kind of hell awaits beyond the borders.
In Europe, for example, there’s no such thing as returning stuff without a receipt. There is no such thing as returning stuff and get money back. They normally give you in-store credit and that’s it. There’s no speaking to the manager to complain…the manager doesn’t give a sh*t.

Before you say that isn’t true, I will admit Europe has improved their customer service a lot in recent years. Specially Germany. They have really changed their communication with the customers. But Italy…just try returning something in Italy. Or Spain. Try complaining at a restaurant that you don’t like the food. They will kick you out of the restaurant for the audacity to say anything back to them.

Once my Mother bought something at a fancy Italian clothing store for me. Unfortunately, I was too fat to fit in their biggest size. When we tried to return it, they said (after good half hour of arguing with the ladies that work at the register-guess what, no customer service section there), that we can get in-store credit. I said: “But I am too fat for all your clothing, nothing fits me.” Did they care? No. Did they try to appease me? No.

I guess what I am trying to say is…next time you have to complain to the manager because you don’t like a product…or you want to return it…or perhaps you don’t like the way you were treated…be happy you have the option of doing that. Somewhere else they would tell you “too bad” or wouldn’t even talk to you.

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French don’t eat snails anymore

“I can’t tell you what to do. If you want to go, you can go. I think you’re a little crazy, and foolish. I don’t know why you want to go there; French are lazy people who can’t finish a war. You’ll have frog legs for breakfast and snails for dinner…”– Albert Gunner

We (Americans) are familiar with many clichés and stereotypes about the French; we think they eat baguettes all the time, women don’t shave their armpits, everyone smokes etc.... In my book, I describe French lifestyle a lot… because I think the existing stereotypes don’t describe modern France so well anymore.

Here are a few facts:

  • Most French people really don’t care about Paris. It’s Paris vs. everyone else. Parisians dislike people from other regions, and other regions dislike the snotty Parisians. In recent years, Paris has become highly commercialized and living there is ridiculously expensive. French don’t consider Eiffel Tower sticking out of every corner is a symbol.
  • Some still hang up their clothing and let it dry in the wind (remember Americans, time before washer-dryers?)…
  • Or the emerging African/Middle-Eastern culture and the influence of their cuisine, lifestyle? I can’t tell you how many times we had a late night kebab (a typical Turkish meal).

The posh days of eating snails are out. French nowadays eat kebabs on the street and watch synchronized American movies. And they love fries and McDonald’s no matter how “unhealthy” it is for you.

Do you, my readers, agree with me? Can you add more “stereotypes” about France from your own personal travels?

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