Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A lesson learned

We had a lunch party today, 27 people. As is usual with any group of French they arrived over a period of time with the agreed time about in the middle.
We cooked them an individual quiche with green salad for starters, chicken basquaise with cubed potatoes and a vegetable mix for main dish and an ice cream dessert for dessert. They had a small glass of wine, or coke or orange juice for the non drinkers.
For this we charged €9.90 a head (£8.60 at today's exchange rate)We also allowed them use of the large room for an hour or so after the meal so they could chat together.

We believe a good time was had by all, plates were cleaned and everybody was happy. Until that was it was time to pay the bill. Madame queried the coffees, "I thought they were included". J pointed out that what we had agreed was to substitute the wine we include for lunch for soft drinks, something we would not normally do.
They begrudging paid up but it left a bitter taste. Did they forget? Were they trying to get one over on us? We ended up being made to feel guilty for charging them when we were within the agreement to do so.
The lesson we learned today is to do a quote. Get it on paper and get it signed. It may be tedious but at least both sides will know where they stand and neither will have any nasty suprises.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Promotional Prices

Went to a supermarket the other day to buy some starters. They were advertised as a major promotion €5.30 reduced by €2.65 to half price.
When I got there they were pre-priced at €3.80 but went through the till at €5.30.

It gave me a warm feeling inside, putting prices up to bring them down in a promotion, it was just like being back at MFI

You've had your chips

In general the service in stores here is ok if not quite what we were used to in the UK. However we have recently had 2 instances where customer service is nowhere near acceptable. We have a panini oven which recently broke. We had to take it the 50kms to Poitier, to be met by a barrage of questions from the repairers. Is this the original box? ( you have to keep boxes in France as they form part of the guarantee apparently)
They then queried our receipt as it was from an internet electrical store and not from DeLongi themselves.All this was aimed at rejecting the repair. Eventually agreeing to do the repair they had no idea how long it would take. We rang them yesterday at 10am as we had to go to Poitiers and could collect it without a special journey. This was two weeks after they had taken it. Their answer, we are waiting for parts no idea when they will be received or when the oven will be ready. They rang at 3pm to say the oven was repaired and could be collected. Are they taking the piss or just unorganised?
The second example was at METRO (Makro in the UK). We bought a chip fryer from them last year as they sell professional equipment, not cheap but specifically for professionals. The machine broke down in March, the on off switch was faulty. We took it back, 100kms round trip, they mended it and two days later did the 100kms round trip again and collected it.
This week it broke again same problem, J rang them.We asked for the chipper to be changed, no chance! Bring it back. we take it back, another 100kms, no idea when it can be repaired, lots of shrugs and questions. they wanted to know how many chips we fry and if they are fresh or frozen. Again, all of the questioning is aimed at rejecting the need to do a repair.
There is never an apology, no sign of sympathy or understanding of the problems the lack of a machine can cause. J asked why they didn't suggest we buy two machines in the first place so we had a spare when the machine broke down again. This was met with silence. When we asked how we are supposed to cook our chips for the next few days, we were told that he had worked in a restaurant and they had alternative plans to allow for product failure.
it was a good job that my french is not up to interjecting!!!

My task today is look at where we could place a new front door as an alternative plan to allow for product failure!!!

Ps we have a spare fryer but that's not the point