French Observation 1/3

I arrived in Nice five weeks ago and the only past exposure to French would be with a ex-girlfriend and a few French friends, apart from that I only stopped in France for connecting flights and once went to Paris for the weekend so my exposure to French was somewhat limited and I didn’t know what to expect. I heard many things prior to arriving in France, the thing that kept coming up is that French people are rude and especially to English people mainly because of past conflicts between the two countries. But I personally have not had any bad issues with any French individual, however I did notice that in stores the cashers and customer service staff are not exactly the most polite people, having lived most of my life in London where customer service is expected in every transaction and having worked in high level complains / customer services, my experience to the customer services here in Nice was “shocking” to say the least, in England we learn that body language is very important, sometimes even more so then what you are saying. I remember the first day I was in France, I had to purchase a mobile phone contract and was just observing how the sales staff where with the customers, there was this one employee almost sleeping, talking to the customer and not even looking at his face, and the staff had a face that said “I’m fed up with this customer” and the customer didn’t even care, if the same thing happened in London the customer would have asked to speak to the manager, but the manager at this store was worse, he was yelling at the staff about a box which was left on the floor, but really making a seen, I only realized after that he was the manager. I feel that people here understand more the human side of things, I saw that the customer understood that the employee was tired after a long days work, and didn’t expect him to be friendly and with a “fake” smile on his face, in the beginning I really disagreed with this as I was always programmed to “over deliver” in customer satisfaction and be as nice as possible, smile, have a good posture and my bonus depended on this, but after a few days I completely changed my perception of what is bad customer services, I no longer expect staff in store to smile, I only expect them to fix any issues I have and in most cases they do indeed fix it but another issue is that they do it as slow as humanly possible but ill not get into that now. —

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