They’re not just rude, they’re French

Rude personWe often hear complaints from visitors about alleged ill-mannered or negligent service in cafés and restaurants. Writing in the Globe and Mail, Canadian travel writer Katherine Gougeon has offered some advice on this issue: “When it comes to service in France, North Americans should brace themselves for culture shock. Workplaces are about providing employment, not service. It falls on the customer to earn respect and the right to be served. It is customary to greet staff with a ‘Bonjour, Monsieur’ or a ‘Bonjour, Madame’. This simple gesture identifies you as a civilised insider worthy of respect and attention. With waiters it pays to remember that in France they are not struggling actors but career professionals who care about food and drink. If your waiter ignores your request for a coffee it’s not out of disrespect or laziness but because taken with your magret de canard it would prevent the meal from being enjoyed. Most times service people are not just rude, they’re French.”

From Riviera Reporter Issue 129: Oct/Nov 2008