For the past two weeks I have been engaged in a Don Quixotic venture to recover about $70 lost to an irresponsible bed and breakfast owner who stood me up during my latest trip to the U.K. I reserved a room in a place near a London airport through an Internet hotel operator, and when I showed at the appointed time and day, there was no-one there, a cell phone number pasted to the door, and a neighbor told me that he had had it up to.. HERE with the guy's incapacity to deal correctly with clients.
I sent several mails to the English tour operator, a big business, and received warm, friendly, and personalized replies in almost all cases. (sympathetic even...)
My only contact with the French branch of this outfit was... a short, cold, impersonal form letter telling me basically, that they were IN NO WAY responsible for what had happened, and that basically, I could take my complaint and shove it where the sun never shines.
Pause for a minute to allow your imagination to run free and play with how YOU would feel if you got that kind of a letter. Or... how you would feel if every time you wanted to contact your telephone company, you only got a recorded message, and there was NO WAY to EVER get hold of even a real TELEPHONE presence. A... PERSON, with a name, maybe even a... FACE.
Let it sink in.
Then, tell yourselves that this is what I/we deal with EVERY DAY in France. Those... cold, brutal, impersonal form letters, written by no names and nobodies.
Is it any wonder that many French people turn around and commit suicide when they finally encounter the straw that breaks the camel's back ?
Whereas... in the States, for example, people in similar situations... take out their rifles, their machine guns, their grenades, head for the local McDonald's or church, or school, or whatever, and promptly proceed to take themselves out with company, at least.
Culture shock. Yeah.
Today I feel like bitching about this cold, cruel, impersonal society.