I laughed, he yelled – cultural differences

I know, it’s been ages since I posted.  I need about 10 more hours in a day.  On to the post ..

Has anyone else noticed that the French have no problem getting angry and speaking their minds?  sometimes at the tops of their voices? 

Yesterday I was talking to someone about making an appointment for Mark to show his house.  After we’d agreed on a time he asked  me what the house was listed at.  "Huh" I thought, "it’s your house"  I asked him if he had changed the price and he said he just wanted to know  what it was listed at.  So I looked it up.  French numbers aren’t my strong suit but I managed to tell him the price.  He then said "that’s right".

I laughed.  It struck me as very funny.  He asked me why I was laughing.  I said no real reason, it just seemed funny.  We said goodbye.

Two hours later the phone rang.  I answered.  It was the client.  Not yelling but in a ‘strong’ voice he said that we couldn’t show the house tomorrow because he was not pleased that I had laughed.   I was stunned.  I fumbled with abject apologies in French, didn’t matter.  He said that he didn’t want to deal with someone who couldn’t comport themselves on the phone.  I asked if there was anything at all I could do to change his mind.  He said no.  But we have a client who is interested in buying your house.  Tant pis, he said – or words to that effect.  As my brother would say "I guess he wants to see what his nose looks like sitting in the palm of his hand.

Normally I would have flipped him a mental finger and found another house to show the client but … the client specifically wanted to see this house, and it isn’t our listing.  It’s listed by the Immo that we work with.

The resolution came about 6 hours later.  Phone rang, woman said I’m the wife of M. X.  You can show the house on Friday.  If anyone is interested in buying it please encourage them to make an offer.  We will consider all offers.  Pragmatism wins the day! 

I’ve had a couple of other being yelled at times here.  The first time I was so stunned that I started to cry.  Yes, I admit it, big tears rolling down my face.  The man yelling at me finally looked up, saw the tears, and said – not yelling – oh Madame, je ne suis pas méchant.  (I’m not malevolent)  He was lovely after that.

The second time was also over the phone and I went to apologize in person and it was as if it had never happened. 

The good thing is that the French really have an ability to release their anger and usually at the person who caused it.  The bad thing is that it’s a huge shock if you’re a polite Canadian.

About Sam

Sam started Aude France as a companion site to her real estate site Aude France Property so that she could have a place to write about life in the Aude. Now that she's in Canada she writes about things that can affect owners and buyers in the Aude - or anything that strikes her fancy. On Pinterest you can find her by searching for Sam Mooney or clicking this link
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