It's not just a stereotype that the French are rude - it's true. They really are quite a rude species. They don't give a damn that you might be offended by their rudeness. After six years in France I still don't understand it.
I pride myself on my political correctness and polite demeanor - I apologize for things that were never my fault to begin with and I am overly sensitive to other peoples' feelings. I never cut in line and I offer for people to go ahead of me because, well you know, I'm nice. I'm so stupidly American nice it's rough sometimes.
Now the French don't see this as being nice as a good quality but rather as a pushover maladie. A dumb pushover, no backbone whatsoever. The kind of girl you can walk all over because she'll never raise her voice.
Well, a new me is slowly but surely developing and she pops out of nowhere when I least expect it. Two such incidences happened just today:
I had to go to a cell phone store for work. I knew they would probably close at 7pm so I left work at 6.30 and arrived at the store at 6.45. I had fifteen minutes to get done what I needed to get done. Only, the big gate in front of the door was already halfway closed. As I approached the gate, an employee came up to me and told me it was already closed. "What time do you close?" I asked, clearly noting the 9am to 7pm sign on the door. "6.45," he told me. And instead of just walking away and letting it go, I said, "well you should change the sign on your door then!".
Normal Me would never say that. Normal Me would smile, say, "ah shucks, I guess I'll come back tomorrow then." But French Me was pissed. They clearly closed 15 minutes early and clearly lied to my face. Bastards!
I made my way home by foot only to be drawn into the organic food store BioCoop. So fun this store of random pastas made of chestnut flour and gluten free cookies with organic cotton panty liners! I toured around and chose some organic salsa and lavender detergent and then tried to find the line to pay. Now if there is one thing the French are horrible at it's defining and then standing in lines. The stores don't know how to indicate where the line starts and the French people don't understand the concept of one line, multiple cashiers, when one cashier finishes the next person in line gets to go. It's beyond me. So, I was having trouble finding where the end of the line was located and I had to flip flop twice to feel like I had marked my spot. However, a woman with a stroller was having the same difficulty, sort of but not completely behind me. Now I am a softy for mothers with babies, but something in me just thought tant pis for her! I have been standing in this nondescript line! I will not apologize and let her go ahead! Stupid BioCoop and the French lines! And I held my ground and I went next - not without a slight pang of guilt, but enough was enough!
I really don't know where these outbursts are coming from but I would predict that it has a lot to do with survival of the rudest in the wilds of France. Only the rudest will survive!