I live in a country where shop people are not particularly nice.
Let me describe a likely shop visit:
You enter a shop (lets say shoes) saying ‘Bonjour’ and the sales person either ignores you, looks at you scornfully for having interrupted her/his… reading, chatting with another sales person, phone conversation with her/his mother, nail filing/whatever the male (non gay) equivalent of that is…, or responds with a neutral, not at all engaging ‘Bonjour Madame’.
Fine, I say to myself, I didn’t come here to discuss the weather or my life, so I’m quite glad to be left alone to browse.
Trouble is, I found a pair of shoes that I would like to try in my size. I look up and the sales person is yet again ignoring me. I demonstratively clear my throat, ‘hem hem’. Nothing.
I take the shoe and walk up to the counter. The reading/phone conversation/nail filing blissfully continues.
I put the shoe on the counter with a slightly annoyed ‘clink’ (yup, high heels…) and the sales person looks up astonished, like she/he is seeing me for the first time.
‘Oui Madame?’ she/he asks.
I’m thinking ‘Do I need to draw her/him a picture?’ but quietly ask ‘Could I try this one in size 41 please?’ (yes, I have big feet – unlike Barbie who I’ve read would topple over if she where a real life babe).
The sales person takes my shoe and vanishes in the back of the store while I sit down on one of those square, fake leather pouf things (not a poof! –a broad, backless, cushionlike seat).
After quite some time she/he comes back with a box and puts it down next to me to return to the counter. I try on the shoe, left, right, walk around a bit, admire my calves in high heels, decide the take the pair, put them nicely back into the box and take them to the counter again.
The sales person scans the barcode, gets my credit card, hands me the ticket and puts the box in a bag which she/he he hands me. Not a single word (unless I forget to enter my pincode in time, in which case she/he says loudly ‘votre code s’il vous plaît!’).
I leave the shop a happy owner of sexy high heeled shoes but flabbergasted at the treatment received.
Now, I am not a fan of the American opposite either, where they great you with a huge, white smile and yank out the ‘Hi, how are you today?’ at anyone who even slightly attempts to cross the entrance to their shop, but couldn’t care less if you dropped dead right there and then – come to think of it, they possibly do mind because they’d definitely not make employee of the month if that happened on their shift.
But the real, honest and friendly welcome and care in shops does exist elsewhere (like Belgium, our neighboring country, for example – even in Germany, glaube es oder nicht…).
But in wealthy little Luxembourg, sales people probably don’t have to sell that hard, or be nice for that matter.
Because the money is there and whether they are nice or not, a woman needs a shoe when a woman needs a shoe…
Come to think of that then… Luxembourg probably has shop people that are well read (at least in the category of Shopaholic novels) and have the most nicely filed nails and best relationships with their mothers.