Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Business, Lyon-style

In Lyon, stores tend to be closed Sunday and Monday.  That means that Tuesday marks the first day of business after a couple of days off -- and more businesses take days off here than in the United States, especially during school holidays.  So, come Tuesday, the market at Croix Rousse is extra busy (and has extra vendors), stores have longer lines, and everyone has more business to conduct.   Like everyone else, I'd saved up a number of errands for today. 

My first stop was the mobile phone store.  There was one guy working the store when I arrived, and there were already three people in line.  Rather than get impatient, I just made a good mental note of who seemed to be last -- and who was already there, so I knew my place in line -- and settled in for a wait.  Soon after I walked in, another woman came in.  Then soon after, another man, and another woman.  The man serving customers had made it through one person, so the queue was getting quite long.  Eventually, he walked to the back of the store and called for some additional support -- but not with any real urgency.  By then, I was the next person due to be helped.  When the woman came out and asked me what I needed and I told her (a mobile phone with minutes, as I'm getting an extra one to have on hand for when my husband/kids arrive), she shrugged and looked at the line of people and said, "Does anyone in line have anything quick?"  She then gave a few examples of "quick" business (things that didn't involve starting a new line!), but no one took her up on it.  Once she was satisfied that it was actually my turn, she gave me her full attention.

At that point, I'd probably already been waiting about 20 minutes.  If someone had stepped forward, it wouldn't have been a problem for me, but I can imagine how frustated someone in the US might be if, at the open of business, a line of 8 people was piling up and the store didn't have enough service people on hand to deal with them quickly or skipped across the line of people!

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