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Death.... then integration


Nicole
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I have just returned from our local shop / café / bar / post office.

This village shop is run by a husband and wife, in

their fifties who make am excellent team and have always welcomed us

since we arrived 6 years ago.

After all my letters had been weighed and stamped,

the lunchtime baguette purchased I settled myself at the bar with a

small cup of deliciously hot strong coffee. Not long after, a woman

breezed into the shop giving Joelle four kisses, quite normal practice

for close friends and family, but her husband received just a nod of

the head, which to me seemed a bit odd. The woman and Joelle chatted

for a while and after she left I asked why Yannik had received such a

cool reception. They both laughed, and Yannik replied ‘Although I have

lived here for thirty years, I’m a foreigner like you… my grandmother

isn’t buried in the village cemetery !!’
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It definitely must be a local / regional attitude.

Last week I attempted to walk out of the bank and was reminded in no uncertain terms that I had inadvertently forgotten to kiss the young lady banker goodbye. My mind must have been on other things because she is a VERY attractive young lady but the whole bank were made aware with "hey, what about my kisses". [:D]

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"Last week I attempted to walk out of the bank and was reminded in no uncertain terms that I had inadvertently forgotten to kiss the young lady banker goodbye. My mind must have been on other things because she is a VERY attractive young lady but the whole bank were made aware with "hey, what about my kisses"

and this happened where exactly? UAE or France?

It does not sound like the France that I know.  Unless you know the bank clerk outside of the bank personally, IMHO it would be treated as the height of rudeness to exchange kisses in a formal business situation of clerk and client.  Who initiated this greeting by kissing?   I wonder what the French contributors think of this?

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We had some French friends, a widowed grandmother, her only child, a daughter, the son in law and  two teenagers. The grandmother lived in a village and the rest of the family in a town nearby but they spent every weekend at the grandmothers home, when ill health happened to the grandmother the family converted a basement to a granny flat and she lived with them in town in the week, still returning to the grandmothers home each weekend. The grandmother relied heavily on her son in law, but when he was proposed to be deputy mayor of the village she let it be known she was voting for his opposition on the grounds that he was a local chap where as the son in law came from a village 70 miles away.......
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I have noticed that parents greet my son's teacher with two cheek kisses but so far, despite meeting her twice per day in the playground for 8 months, I get a head nod.  Mind you, I am probably 30 years' older than her (OK exaggeration - 20 years at least) and 6 inches taller.

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[quote user="Ron Avery"]

"Last week I attempted to walk out of the bank and was reminded in no uncertain terms that I had inadvertently forgotten to kiss the young lady banker goodbye. My mind must have been on other things because she is a VERY attractive young lady but the whole bank were made aware with "hey, what about my kisses"

and this happened where exactly? UAE or France?

It does not sound like the France that I know.  Unless you know the bank clerk outside of the bank personally, IMHO it would be treated as the height of rudeness to exchange kisses in a formal business situation of clerk and client.  Who initiated this greeting by kissing?   I wonder what the French contributors think of this?

[/quote]

In Villedieu les Poeles (ie France). The kissing was initiated by the Bank Manageress in the first instance, not by me. I do not know any of the bank staff outside the business situation. I was surprised but not averse to the idea of kissing either the manageress or the young lady in question.

edit. Maybe I am a very kissable person (in my dreams) [:P]

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[quote user="Ron Avery"]

"It does not sound like the France that I know.  Unless you know the bank clerk outside of the bank personally, IMHO it would be treated as the height of rudeness to exchange kisses in a formal business situation of clerk and client.  Who initiated this greeting by kissing?   I wonder what the French contributors think of this?

[/quote]

I think Ron is a tad jealous[6]

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[quote user="powerdesal"][quote user="Ron Avery"][/quote]


edit. Maybe I am a very kissable person (in my dreams) [:P]

[/quote]

Steve, you must have that "je ne sais quoi", animal magnetism, whatever.  Hows abouts you turn up here in Charente and let the locals judge for themselves?

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[quote user="powerdesal"][quote user="Ron Avery"]

"Last week I attempted to walk out of the bank and was reminded in no uncertain terms that I had inadvertently forgotten to kiss the young lady banker goodbye. My mind must have been on other things because she is a VERY attractive young lady but the whole bank were made aware with "hey, what about my kisses"

and this happened where exactly? UAE or France?

It does not sound like the France that I know.  Unless you know the bank clerk outside of the bank personally, IMHO it would be treated as the height of rudeness to exchange kisses in a formal business situation of clerk and client.  Who initiated this greeting by kissing?   I wonder what the French contributors think of this?

[/quote]

In Villedieu les Poeles (ie France). The kissing was initiated by the Bank Manageress in the first instance, not by me. I do not know any of the bank staff outside the business situation. I was surprised but not averse to the idea of kissing either the manageress or the young lady in question.

edit. Maybe I am a very kissable person (in my dreams) [:P]
[/quote]

Maybe you are SOOOOOOOOOO rich the bank manageress wants to keep you in her sights? [Www]

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[quote user="Ron Avery"]

It does not sound like the France that I know.  Unless you know the bank clerk outside of the bank personally, IMHO it would be treated as the height of rudeness to exchange kisses in a formal business situation of clerk and client.  Who initiated this greeting by kissing?   I wonder what the French contributors think of this?

[/quote]

I ve never seen that in my whole life... [blink]  ( I am french )

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Do you tutoyer or vousvoyer the bank staff and particularly the manager Powderesal?

If it is toutoiment then perhaps, just perhaps a bisous would have been in order, although I would save it for social non-proffessional occasions especially with the manager.

But if you must toutoi and bisous in the bank you are supposed to do it when entering, not be reminded when leaving[6]

A manque de respect one way or another!

Its not easy for an etranger to avoid offending people here is it?

Editted

I still get tripped up by saying bonjour/soir etc more than once in a day, its not that I have forgotten seeing the person before that day (which is why they are so offended) just the habits of a (UK) lifetime where we say hello for the second occasion.

My biggest faux pas is when I have finished working on the building  late as usual and pop in next door for a swift half just before they close, I often walk staright to the bar to order my drink when I have a proper "bloke thirst" but in my haste offend everyone there that I know including the owners by not doing theobligatory  introductions first.

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JR,

I have never used "tu" in respect of the any of the bank staff, I do not know them at that level and obviously they are not family.

Please read my reply to Ron, the Manageress initiated the bisous when I entered the bank, having left her office to greet me when she saw me arrive, it was not me giving "offence". Perhaps I should have kept her at arms reach and lectured her on the innappropriate behaviour. I suspect that sort of action would have been more disrespectful. Similarly the young lady I referred to who is our "personal account manager" (or whatever the French term is for that function) greeted me with the relevant bisous, again initiated by her not me. She is the one who required the kiss on leaving, as I said in my first post.

Perhaps our French forum members could advise me how to avoid being kissed by the French staff as it is obviously bad mannered of them and I would not want to give offence by turning away or holding them off at arms length.[8-)]

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[quote user="powerdesal"]


Perhaps our French forum members could advise me how to avoid being kissed by the French staff as it is obviously bad mannered of them and I would not want to give offence by turning away or holding them off at arms length.[8-)]
[/quote]

As another French forum person, I find it hard to imagine being kissed by the bank staff...and I have never witnessed such an event with other clients.... but maybe I have the wrong kind of relationship with my local Crédit Agricole, as I find most of the staff there equally unhelpful and clueless.

PDS I am therefore intrigued, very intrigued....

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Perhaps the kissing hides the cluelessness.[6]

I suppose the ultimate would be getting kissed by one of the crones at the Hotel des Impots. Though I did get a long and rich laugh when I asked whether I should declare my (ex)wife as part of my patrimoine and whether there was a write off for les belles-mères.

 

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Steve - I wonder which part of France you are talking about? The staff in our Credit Agricole are very warm and friendly, especially our Nathalie. She has invited friends of ours to the Bank dinner and always greets warmly. She has never offerred to kiss us, but I can imagine it as a possibility. In this area women often kiss eachother, but men only shake hands with men.
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  • 3 weeks later...

We initially found moving to France hard after living in Andalucia for 6 years for this very reason.  There the level of familiarity is much more noticeable, although you would still definitely need to know the appropriateness of certain actions.  Moving to "tu" is quite rapid, much more so than in other parts of Spain, but you have to gauge the move pretty shrewdly!  And two kisses on the cheek is so common that I still have to think twice here as it is very usual on first introduction in Spain on social occasions, almost like the British handshake. But even there I would find it amazing in a commercial situation - the bank teller might be calling you "tu" after a few visits unless you make a point of using "usted" (vous) - sometimes used as a "distancer" in various circumstances (a whole other story) - but any kisses would be most unlikely!

All in all I find it easier in France now, "vous" almost invariably (we've never yet got to know anyone where "tu" might be used) and, so far, no kisses!

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