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An American in Paris?


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I assume from you brief CV that you are not French. How are you treated by your French counterparts and restaurant staff? If you are American, I presume your American guests appreciate that. How do your French guests react, or do they know?

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I'm treated very well by the French... I also work in a very cosmopolitan establishment, alongside people of all cultures and nationalities. I'm sometimes regarded as a bit of a curiosity with my accent (though perfect French), but this is perceived as being more "charming" by our French guests...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Not all Americans have bad manners, although, when we do come up against a spoiled American, it can be very disagreeable...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Of course...but the subject was Americans...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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True, the original subject was how I am treated by the French, but the response was to a question concerning bad-mannered Americans...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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  • 2 weeks later...
True, the original subject was how I am treated by the French, but the response was to a question concerning bad-mannered Americans...

Granted, spolied people with poor manners hail from every walk of life. On the subject of ill-manered Americans. I have witnessed several "ugly American" episodes while in France, which made me embarassed.

Every person is different and comes equipped with their own set of tricky circumstances. Do you find that you must make slight adjustments in your approach to difficult guests depending upon what part of the globe they come from? Does cooperation with an American work differently than cooperation with someone who is Turkish?

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I don't deal with people on a "nationality" basis... everyone is different, and I've had nice and less-than-nice people from all walks of life...from my experience (speaking as an American myself), my best and worst experiences have been with Americans...

I take each person on a one-on-one basis..

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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my best and worst experiences have been with Americans...

Any guess on why that is? I often feel the best and worst tourists I've observed in France are Americans, but I suspect it's that I notice my fellow countrymen more than I notice others and that I also tend to take pride or shame in what my fellow countrymen do.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I guess there are multiple reasons...some of the bad are:speaking immediately in English without trying any French at all, or even hazarding to ask if the person spoken to speaks English... Lack of manners is a problem as well....all day long at work I have clients coming, and in response to my "Bonjour", immediately say "Question....", or "I need....", or "Do you have..". Very rude indeed. Maybe they don't realize it though...

Otherwise, I have other clients who try to speak French, who apologize for their lack of French, who are understanding, want to discover, are knowledgable already, have lived here,etcetc

But, yes, sorry to say, Americans have an irritant-factor higher in intensity than other nationalities, they are also the coolest clients.... a country of contradictions..

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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"Cool" as in hot, hip, interesting, etc. or as in aloof and impersonal? I've been buying my moring croissants at a little patisserie here in NY that's several blocks away from my place for several years since it's opened. Nevermind for the moment that quality seemed to have slipped. When it opened, the proprietor was always behind the counter greeting each customer with a grand "bonjour." Even after the shop got going and he found the need and ability to hire salesclerks, they were usually young French women who also greeted each customer. Gradually I found the greeting going away and I had to speak up quickly to get my "bonjour" in before I heard "next." More often or not, the staff is young and French, but business is in the New York style these days. The service is not any less friendly and no one is rude, but they've adapted to the New York style and pace. I suspect it's unfair to speak of your Americans as rude, it's a matter of ignorance of local politeness. I frequently have to remind myself that I'm not at home when I'm in France. As much as I generally prefer their manners and polite formality, I tend to quickly revert to my local manners as soon as I return to the states and need to consciously take an effort to draw up my French manners.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Cool, as in interesting people... but I'm just surprised sometimes that a small percentage of highly educated, supposedly well-mannered and cultured people can act so badly...

Normally I have no problems...it's just that when I do...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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