Our local branch of a major French supermarket chain is a paragon of utter and complete inefficiency. For one thing, the layout of the store is not designed well, which means that among other problems the checkout area is always overcrowded. (I frequented another branch of the same store when I lived in the 15th and they had a much better floor plan.) The chain recently changed names and brought in some new store-brand stock, and then moved about 90% of all the stock around to new locations in the store; and just when you think they're finished with all of that and you know where things are again, they find some new change to make, like today when I discovered they'd moved the entire fresh O.J. cooler contents to a dark corner of the yogurt aisle (hidden behind a big pillar so that I had to ask three people before I found ONE who actually knew where the cold juice was) so they could put the holiday stock of fish in its place. (The rest of the fish products are in their usual spot around the corner in another aisle, so of course it makes sense to put THIS fish near the fruits and veggie scales, right?)
I've gotten used to a lot of the annoying stuff at this (and every other) store, and can now wait rather patiently in the long and endless lines, but one thing still totally pisses me off: how they do their livraisons (deliveries). A home delivery service is a wonderful thing when you don't have a car and need to do a large shop for a family of 5 plus one cat, so I'm grateful such a service even exists, and since I routinely spend at least 100 euros, it's always free, too, though I do tip the delivery guy a couple of euros.
But never mind that they don't seem to have one dedicated register for deliveries; no, they move it around depending on the day of the week and the time of day, and sometimes it's near the entrance (another very bad idea because it then blocks the entire bread aisle) while other times you just get in any line near the exit and tell the cashier you've got a delivery. The usual procedure is this: you put your purchases on the belt, they ring up your stuff, you put it all back into your store shopping cart (no "bag boy" there to do it for you), you pay, and then you fill in your name, address, door code, etc. on a form, and they give you a sticker to attach 2 copies of the form to the handle of the shopping cart. You push your cart off to the side, hopefully not blocking the path of other shoppers (although sometimes you don't have much choice... as I said, bad store layout). And you're done.
This is not always so bad... in theory. But there is one completely stupid aspect of this procedure that, if they changed it, could make things easier both for the shopper and the cashier (because really, the cashiers are also helpless victims of this bad planning. THE STORE ONLY HAS ONE NOTEBOOK OF THESE DELIVERY FORMS TO GO AROUND. FOR ALL REGISTERS IN THE STORE. Which means that if someone at another register is also doing a livraison -- as was the case today when I was at the check-out -- the cashiers have to pass the notebook back and forth, and make the customer wait.
Which is what happened to me today. Not only did I get a cashier in training who didn't even know how to do the livraison stuff, but she made several mistakes ringing up my order, asked me three different times if I'd already given her my frequent shopper card to scan, and then when the other cashier was finally done with the delivery notebook, my cashier expected me to wait AGAIN while she rang up another guy's stuff. All the while, a manager is standing RIGHT NEXT TO ME observing it all, and doing nothing about it.
That's when it happened. I blew my stack. IN FRENCH.
The next thing I know, I'm spouting off about how I already passed the through the line and had waited long enough, and what a crazy system this was to only have ONE notebook for the deliveries, and that the cashier clearly didn't know what she was doing, and I had kids at home who were waiting for their lunch (ok, I lied about that last one, but in France sometimes playing the "mommy card" works). Next thing I know, Mr. Manager-guy takes the notebook and is trying to figure out what to do, and HE clearly doesn't know either. Looking helplessly around, he passes it over to his female colleague, a supervisor I recognized who seems to know what she's doing. She took over finally, and before I knew it, I was done.
That's ALL I was looking for. Just get me the hell out of the store and train these new people on your own time. Or change your system so people like me don't have to wait longer in the check-out line than it took for me to shop for an entire cart full of groceries. But the best part, for me, was that I was successfully able to get pissed off, make my point, AND get my way... in French.
Maybe that's the secret. I just have to be pissed off more often. Take THAT, la langue français!