les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Extreme jobsworths

Now and again in France you come across people who practice the art of the extreme jobsworth.
It was our privilege to meet a splendid example this morning at the lycée where Catrin wants to go.
We both went to give Pat some getting about practice (her back is improved but not yet right...)

We arrived at the reception with Catrin's dossier. Up the stairs, first floor, door on the right, "Service scolaire".

Well we found the right area but no door was marked service scolaire.
Someone walked by, "Hallo, are you looking for something ?"
"Yup, service scolaire"
"It's that door, knock."

I knocked. Nothing. I knocked again. "UNE MINUTE !"

Some pupils came up. One opened the door, then shut it again quickly.
After a brief discussion between themselves they decided to come back this afternoon.

We heard various noises come from inside.
It appeared to me that someone was having a fairly animated argument on the phone.

The door opened. Two women walked out.
The first, a small elderly woman looked at us and said "Oh non !"
The second smiled. They walked off.

We waited. There were chairs. We sat.

The elderly lady came back.

"What is it ?" (Note, no bonjour... that's offically impolite)

"It's a dossier of inscription."

"OK"

"The only thing is that there's a problem with the date of the exam, my daughter is supposed to be on a school trip."

She made to give the dossier back. I didn't move a muscle.

Pat said, "but the American teacher said it was possible to do it on another date..."

"Who did ? Oh well, if she wants to make personal arrangements that's her business but as far as the lycée is concerned....."

"OK. Bye bye."

I was trained in the art of the extreme jobsworth at the language school where one of the teachers was just like that. I quite admire it in a way. It's better than television, at any rate. In the bus on the way home I reminded Pat that every time Catrin is ill or there's any kind of problem it's that lady we'll have to deal with.

No comments: