The French Version of Best Buy

The only Savories we got to make besides baguettes!

This will probably be my last entry on Paris Level II.  I think I have told you everything interesting except my exasperating experience at the French version of Best Buy--Darty.  As you know, perhaps you have read my blog faithfully, I dropped my camera the day Bill came and he dropped his that night. So I do not have pictures of the delicacies we made the last two weeks, unless a kind classmate took one and emailed it to me.

The service in France can be amazing and fast.  In a restaurant, the waiters are fantastic, or in boutiques the sales people really know their stuff.  Or it can be horrible, like the elevator company, the people who call the elevator company, some of the mercurial cab drivers who drop you off where it is most convenient for them, or the people behind the window in the Metros who despise you for existing. I thought I better buy another camera because I had so much time left in Paris and surely would have lots to photograph.   I walked over to Les Halles (where I swim, BTW) to the Darty store.  I thought the service might be a bit indifferent, but not like this!  

In I walked, where there were many people lolling around in red shirts of various fits.  By this I mean, some tucked in, some out, some unbuttoned, some wrinkled, you understand.  No one walked up to me so I walked around for a while, found the camera section, and figured out what I needed. Finally I went over to a small group of red shirts and asked if someone could aidez-moi? (Hopefully I said could you help me or aid me.)  A guy said Oui and I told him I needed a camera and I would like the Cool Pix that was locked up.  While I was asking him questions, he was looking everywhere but at moi, smiling at les jolie femmes, waving to his friends, checking his cell,  totally disinterested with me.  I decided to cut my losses and get out of there before he died of boredom.   He had to ring it up, but could not take money, only provide me with a form to take to the cash register.  On my way, I decided to pick up a scale, to see if all the patisseries were adding the kilos, but had to get a voucher for this.  Big mistake. Huge.  I go up to the cash register, wait in line for at least 20 minutes, although there was only one person in front of me.  She had an issue I could not understand and it took several people to help her.  Now, please understand, there were about 5 people behind the counter.  One girl sat and just stared into space, another woman was on her cell phone, a man of some higher rank was going up to everyone and kissing them on both cheeks, and ca va-ing all over the place. When it was finally my turn and the line behind me was growing at a fast pace, she slowly rang up a form, then told me I had to go to the BACK of the store to get my scale. I am not sure why they did not open another register the others, but they did not.   So I grumpily walked to the back of the store and waited in line again while several other people behind the counter kissed and greeted each other- maybe a shift change?-and caught up on a bit of news.  A girl finally came out from the back, got my voucher and disappeared in the depths of that back room for a small eternity before she presented my scale to me.  But, toute alors!, they had no bags, could I wait while they got some? Non.  I did not know if they would go to China to get them.


The next day at school, I had a change of heart as my friend and I decided it would be ridiculous for me to use an adapter in my own country to charge a camera I bought in another.  You see, my old Cool Pix used batteries, but my nouveau Cool Pix is chargeable.  Darn you, Aston Kutcher!  I knew this meant another fun trip to Darty so I steeled myself for more wasted time. And I did.  Waste more time.  A lot more time.  I waited in line, while the woman  fooled around with two other customers, then she told me I had to go to the back of the store to get some form, then bring it back up to her. Aughghggh!  I knew what the back of the store meant.  It makes the DMV look like Disney World.  I stomped back there, only to wait in a very long line of irritated French people, while one guy filled out all the forms and many other counter guys lazily hung out.  When it came to my turn, after I had almost stripped to my birthday suit because it was roasting hot in there, he tried to get me to buy an adaptor.  He tried to get me to buy another camera. He tried it all.  But by this time I was tough and no amount of sucre parle would wear me down.  I got my form, went to the front, waited in yet another line and a new girl was totally freaked out by this return.  She must have been very new or else the French never return stuff. The boss had to come over several times to help her as he decided I should get cash back and not a charge card credit.  I would have taken dead monkeys just to get out of there.

From this very long story, you can learn:

  1. Don't buy small appliances in France

  2. Don't go to a big store like this if you want to do anything else at all that day.

  3. Smile instead of scream.  I cannot imagine how long I would have waited if I had acted the way I really felt.  I would still be there.

  4. Wear a bikini because the French have not quit got the whole temperature regulation thing down.

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