12.5.06

Paying the bills


I went to their office, to pay my electricity bill. From the outside I could hear the customers yelling and the employees barking. Once I was in, I woke up: No yelling, no barking, just a clean, silent office. There were 5 employees, and 4 customers, still I had to line up... French public companies typically staff their operations so that for each 4 idle employees, one fifth employee has enough work to do. Customers have to wait, the French employee's coffee break and their favourite newspaper have priority.

The offices are quite nice, they are located in prime locations and provide an average area of 100 square metres for each employee, so that they can stretch after reading all those well written French newspapers and invite their friends to a coffee.

Working for a private company, everytime I go to pay my bills, I ask myself: "What if they outsourced all these jobs?"... Yes, I know the coffee break would be shorter and their "vital space" would be reduced to a 2 square metre cubicle, but hey think of the advantages: Courteous and efficient service, lower bills, and a more fulfilling career path for the employees themselves.

I glimpsed some hope when I heard that Italian ENEL wanted to buy French EDF. This could have been a great success story if they had only sold off some central offices and fired the most lazy employees, but then the French government made a move to save the coffee, the newspapers and the customer queues by blocking off the operation.

When is France going to get its share of globalisation?

17 Comments:

Anonymous Boris said...

They won't, because it's too late, they're too stupid to be able to make changes, and they don't want to lose their "acquis sociaux:". "Acquis sociaux", doesn't it summarize everything? To me, it means stillness. What has been "acquired" cannot change. They still think that the 1789 Revolution should have freed them from their wealthy enslavers, which is why money remains the No1 French taboo, and why they'd rather get paid doing nothing than work and strive for success (and financial reward in the end).

The next President/Prime Minister who will manage to make France go forward will be the one who has the balls to actually change things, even if it means sending the Army to get everybody off the streets and back to work when they next demonstrate about losing their rights. I might sound a bit harsh, or on the far right side (I actually consider myself more of a lefty), but having travelled the world for a big part of my life, lived in the UK for 2 years and then in Australia for more than 6 years, it still amazes me that the dear France where I was born keeps hitting the wall again and again, without making the effort to actually climb over the wall. Or take another road.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Uranus said...

Boris,
You mentioned it, the "Revolution" is to blame for most of the sins of what I call the "French civilisation".

The Revolution (capitalised) is always the trick, the joker all those who don't want to change resort to in order not to change anything.

Some people say "let's change something!" and them most reply: "No, we already had our Revolution".

The other day, De Vil, that prime minister who never won any election said it: "I represent the values of the Revolution". In November, Chirac said it too: "Those who attack private property are attacking the Revoultion"... The Revolution here, the Revolution there, it is a weapon for all seasons.

And what changed the Revolution? A King for an Emperor? Power from the hands of one family to another?

They talk all the time about their Revoultion, but they are the most conservative country in Europe.

10:25 PM  
Blogger rhino75 said...

Of course, that said, EDF is one of the French companies which is actually pretty efficient, don'tcha think? I'm not really sure why.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Boris said...

The French live in the past, and thrive in melancoly and nostalgy. How can a people like that achieve anything in times of increased competition?!!

Just look at French popular culture. It's still the 80s!!!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Uranus said...

rhino,

Sadly, I have to recognise that I agree with you. As a resident in France accustomed to being insulted by almost any employee of both the private and industrial sectors and from a variety of industries, including restaurants, clothing shops and almost every single public office, I have also noticed that EDF offers one of the most mediocre services, which positions it at the leading edge of customer service delivery in France.

I wouldn't mind if they did it "free of charge", but I happen to be one of those taxpayers paying for their newspaper, their coffee with friends and their do-nothing attitude.

I googled, with no success, for an information I read some months ago that compared the number of employees, the turnover, earnings and number of customers of the big European utilities. What I can recall is that E.on or Enel served the same number of customers with 3 times less employees...

Taxpayers and shareholders in Germany or Italy can probably write more cheerful blogs about their power suppliers than me.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having lived in France for 5 years now, I have learned that La Poste is definitely one of the worst services in the country. I went to La Poste in order to send a DVD to my mother in Ireland for Mother's Day. I wanted to buy an envelope at the counter to put the envelope into before posting it of course. The member of staff informed me that in total including post, this would cost me 15E ! Incredible. I always send packages home and knew this would not normally be more than 4E ! I told La Poste I wasn't gonna pay 15E, instead I went next door to Carrefour, bought a pack of 10 envelopes for 2E, put the DVD in one of them, weighed in at the self-service machine and the postage came to 3.50E. So in total that's under 5E and not the 15 I was asked for! I showed my envelope to the same member of staff and he said laughing that it would never get there. I posted it on Friday morning and my mother opened the envelope on Monday.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

WWAAOOWW !! Awesome site !!

I just discovered your blog : great job you're doing !
At long last somebody is just telling the real naked truth about that stupid country and that bunch of idiot a**holes known as the french people !!
Keep on the good work !

Kill the french ! Free the world !!
Andy

11:34 AM  
Blogger nouille said...

I read last week that Americans are responsible for 29 percent of the 33,300 jobs created in France by foreign companies.

That's more than the UK (8 percent) and Germany (20 percent) put together!


It turns out that American naivete is good for France.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Uranus said...

Anonymous,

I feel for you! My last post was about my most recent visit to EDF, but the previous time, I had to wait for 20 minutes because the receptionist was shouting to the customer who apparently didn't have paid on time and had to go through some involved process to get the service restablished... After 20 minutes, the customer was about to leave when she asked "and if I pay with my debit card?", and the employee answered with a white face: "Yes, we can accept that"... and then the customer burnt in rage shouted: "If you accept debit cards why did you argue with me for 20 minutes over my cheque book??!!! This wouldn't have happened to me in any other country!"...

Andy,

I am glad you like the website... If you have visited France and have some experiences worth sharing, please share then!

Nouille,

Your figure is probably right. In addition to that, I recently read that France is the second biggest recipient of migrants' remittances, after Mexico, which only makes me think of how necessary is reforming the labour market to avoid that unefficient EDF public employees steal thousands of jobs from those efficient and keen to work French people.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I though it is funny and this explains many of the stuff we discuss in this blog, btw, a French guy in my team gave me the link.. I think it is kind of obvious I dislike Frenchies-Wannabies from Paris....only Paris.

http://www.therockalltimes.co.uk/2001/11/12/french-gene.html

The text is the following:
French isolate stupid gene
Discovery will lead to golden age of genetically-improved French teenagers
by Lester Haines

French boffins claim to have isolated the "stupid" gene in what is being heralded as as major breakthrough in genetic engineering.

The tiny slither of DNA, which has been found in 94 per cent of French teenagers, is claimed to control stupid, tiresome and petulant behaviour.

The team behind the discovery have spent five years and FF90 million locating the gene from among four million suspected mutations.

Speaking yesterday at his laboratory near Paris, chief research scientist Dr Henri DuPont Nordel predicted a bright future for humanity as a result of the discovery. "This is le Saint Graal [Holy Grail] for French geneticists. Once we have eliminated the offending piece from DNA," he explained, "we will have removed the need for French teenagers with too many hormones to stand around at the bottom of Tube escalators shouting meaninglessly."

Other spin-off benefits are believed to include:

* An end to French people shrugging and pouting at even the simplest question
* Reduced occurence of colour-blindness in clothing
* Elimination of the desire to put rucksacks on the front of the body rather than on the back like normal people
* No further collaboration between French governments and invading German armies

British genetic experts have cautiously welcomed the news, but noted in a press release: "When they have isolated the gene which makes your French unspeakably pompous about food and fine wine, then that will be news."

Cheers

Brighton Rules

MR T

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Dutch Papa!! said...

Uranus,

I think we have a WIIINNNNEERRRR. Yes, I think there is no f**ing doubt that La Poste has the award to be The place without customer service care, no procedures, no guide-lines, no manual, non..non... non.... At the same time I think we need to send a really specialized group of merde-experts, to see what kind of SHIT the employees have instead of brian, just to see the type cuz we already knew they have SHIT... the only question is to see what kind of MERDE they have... I am wondering to know.

I am amazed to see the % of jobs US provide to Frenchies-Wannabies living in Paris, but I think this fact has been blocked kind of wire that avoid them to see real world. Otherwise, be sure they could have been organizing a great riot requesting: to kick out these american companies, but requesting also to keep their jobs in this american companies (hehehehe), to get a rise in their salaries, more bred on their work places, Colombian Coffe, Stop the movie The DaVinci Code cuz it is not spoken in French and Champions final must have a French soccer team hehehehhe NO joke, as incredible this may be, they can be soo stupid to request all this.. so lets keep the secret and avoid Frenchies-Wannabies also might request Antillas and old Colonies become French properties again hehehhehe


Cheers

BRIGHTON RULES!!!!

MR T

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live here too and don't like a lot about France either, but what about you - how about addessing the question on everyone's lips -- if you hate it so much here ... why are you still here?

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
I regularly unswer that question: I am not French, meaning I am not a coward, neather I run away from unfairness nor collaborate with the unfair.

Yes, I will leave this country soon, but rest assured that this blog and my fight against French civilisation will continue.

Uranus

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your are Nice. And so is your site! Maybe you need some more pictures. Will return in the near future.
»

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3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uranass.
Fuck You Jack ass.
Merci!

6:51 AM  

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