I feel it my duty tonight to point out (to those unable to avail themselves of the Gallic paradise) that La France in marche is not all unalloyed perfection: there is a downside.
France may well be the World Football Champions (deservedly in my view) but they are down there with North Korea when it comes to product quality and customer service. Going into any Chain retailer forces a person to adopt the Jon Cleese persona from the famous Monty Python parrot sketch. The following examples are all for real.
Example 1: Paint
Me: I bought this paint off you last week. It is totally separated and refuses to go back to being paint of any use whatsoever.
Salesperson: But you bought it in the sale, Monsieur.
Me: Marking something as a sale item does not give you the right to sell me something that is worthless.
SP: You bought it in the sale, Monsieur.
Me: That’s right. I bought it, I handed over money. Had the sale card said “Fucking useless diarrhoea only good for pouring down the bog” I wouldn’t have bought it. I’d probably have charged you for me to take it away.
SP: Your attitude is not helpful Monsieur. You must accept the risks of buying in a sale.
Example 2: Lawnmower
Me: I bought this lawnmower off you three weeks ago. It keeps dying on me after about forty minutes.
SP: How much lawn do you have Monsieur?
Me: About a hectare.
SP: I thought so….you are using it too much.
Me: I’m sorry?
SP: Your lawn is too big. This mower is not configured for continuous use of more than twenty minutes.
Me: I have read the manual, and this information is missing. It was also missing when your colleague sold it to me.
SP: But Monsieur, people experienced in these matters know what is possible. You have been using the mower inappropriately, and so the guarantee is invalidated.
Example 3: Branch lopper
Me: Hi, I put this new lopper in for repair under guarantee just over three weeks ago.
SP: Bien sur, Monsieur.
Me: You told me it would take six days.
SP: And we dispatched it to the Bosch service centre Monsieur.
Me: That was 23 days ago.
SP: But we don’t count Saturday and Sunday Monsieur.
Me: Fine. 23 minus 6 still equals 17. 17 is three times 6.
SP: But now it is the holiday season Monsieur.
Me: Does that have something to do with the price of fish?
SP: But of course, Monsieur: Bosch guidelines very clearly state that during the holiday season, the minimum turnround is three weeks.
Me: But it wasn’t the holiday season three weeks ago.
SP: Bien sur, but it is now. We must not dwell on the past. It is now the holiday season. You must be patient. People have the right to holidays, n’est-ce pas?
The common thread in all these exchanges is that the sole purpose of large French organisations is to put the customer where he belongs: in the wrong. If President Macron really wants to put France en marche, then he must tackle the four core problems with French manufacture and retail service: uncompetitive pricing, lousy product quality, atrocious after-sales service and Je m’en fou.
But of course, Macrony doesn’t give a crap about that; his sole purpose as President is to further facilitate the transfer of power from local labour and consumer to global capital. And in the course of doing so, he will remove all the elements of harmless eccentricity that give France its inalienable charm.
Baby, bathwater, etc etc.