They live in Paris.
And Paris is no America.
In France, torrents of smiles, deluges of friendliness and avalanches of first names do not mean good service. It means you’re surrounded with drunken people. And drunk people rarely wait tables. Parisians are quite categorical when it comes to waiters in Paris. They know for a fact that they are all “pas aimables”. Most of them are actually “des gros cons”.
That reality is non negotiable. Parisians will never accept for anyone to pay a compliment about Parisian waiters. Being able to b.itch about them is one of the rare things that connect Parisians to the rest of the world.
The Parisian never wonders about the causes of what he reckons to be poor service. He will systematically dodge the question by a “c’est pas de ma faute s’il a un job de merde”. Usually adding “y a 3 millions de chômeurs. S’il est pas content, qu’il fasse un autre boulot, putain”. Parisians are people of compassion. They will never put their own rudeness and absence of smiles in question. Neither will they ever include tipping in the beautiful scale of their transatlantic comparisons.
In Paris, clients and waiters don’t think much of each other. In an admirable whirlwind of reciprocal passive aggression, tensions add up and poor service usually ensues.
For that matter, when one day, for some peculiar reason, the Parisian or the waiter happens to be in a good mood, the interaction feels like a fresh breeze in the desert, a lightning bolt of conviviality. The waiter will immediately be qualified as “hyper sympa”. The Parisian will enjoy the moment immensely and ultimately pass on the address to all of his friends.
The idea to try to be more friendly in order to make happier moments less rare never crosses the Parisian’s mind: “C’est pas à moi d’être aimable, putain”.
Clearly, the Parisian is not ready for America.
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Useful tip: Parisian waiters like dirty jokes.
Sound like a Parisian: « Il est vraiment pas aimable, c’est dingue…»