Today I've been out and about Paris, shopping at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. When looking at fall handbags, I noticed that in some small boutiques such as Chloe and Gucci, barriers were set up to prevent too many people from entering at once! As though, 75 people suddenly were going to rush the handbag counter! Not likely, with those exhorbitant prices - i.e. 1,925 euros (more than $2,000).
At the Burberry counter at Galeries Lafayette, a female salesclerk was extremely rude, leaning directly in front of me to straighten a handbag a man had just put down. So in French, I said politely, "Pardon me for disturbing you." This is the normal expression here, both when interrupting someone to ask a question and when reminding someone they're out of order. She frowned at me and flounced off behind the counter. Was it because I was carrying a Longchamp bag? Needless to say, no sales commission for her today. (OK, I admit I bought a new Longchamp bag).
At the same department store, a dance troupe was performing in the middle of the main floor. So many people gathered to watch the act, the fire department arrived for crowd control. I never did figure out the occasion for the performance.
On the street, a man wearing a pin-striped suit and tie was holding a half-empty bottle of red wine and drinking straight from the bottle. In between swigs, he'd remember a stack of newspapers (similar to the Big Issue in London) balanced on top of a trashcan and offer one to passersby.
A young woman was walking down the street in a tres chic ensemble, complete with short skirt, black tights and high boots - and a jaunty newsboy cap, with the price tags dangling from the back. Evidently in her hurry to complete the look, she'd skipped a step.
And in another of those instances with which we struggle to understand French logic, a friend recently bought a new cell phone. Last week she was in Korea and the phone packed up. As it's still under warranty, she took the phone, along with receipt, warranty and original packaging back to the sales point in Paris. The customer service representative informed her she must write the company a deposit check for 120 euros - just in case the phone problem was caused by something she did wrong and the repairs weren't covered under warranty!