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How to apologize

Posted by leslie-179832 - Created: 13 years ago
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I have made a very bad faux pas this evening at my local Le Eclerc where I buy my roasted chickens.  I did not compute that from 10 Euros I should get back 4.50 from a chicken that cost 5.50. somehow I had it in my head that the 5.50 on the register was what I should get back in change. (ok, ok I am dyslexic!). The woman who served me gave me a handful of small change ( 4.50 worth) and I asked her if she had a 5 Euro bill instead. She said no and something after that  which I did not understnad, but I argued with her because I saw the woman before me give her a 5 Euro note so I knew she had one.

Anyway to make a long story short, the other servers got involved and I counted outthe change and counted it wrong and said it was not enough. It was not 5.00 euros, yes, I was still stuck on this number! Finally a girl came over and spoke in English to me, which up set me as I can speak French and I said " I speak French, its ok,..." Well I finally got the message that I had miscalculated and said I was sorry, but they would not hear it. They looked at me like I was a creature and the girl, who spoke english just kept saying in english " excuse me for my English". I tried to make it right, I tried to say they were correct and I was being an airhead, but it did not work.


I would like to apologize tomorrow again, but any suggestions of what to say??????




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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by rosetta-185721 - 13 years ago

hi Leslie,

glad it worked out. I've noticed that the French never apologise when they are in the wrong. Anyone else noticed that? The best you'll get is, sorry, but it wasn't my fault, it was x,y,z's fault.

I ordered a food delivery from Monoprix on July 13th, they didn't deliver the cold stuff and the next day was Bastille day and I'd needed the cold stuff for a dinner I was having. The next day I went on vacation. Went in to sort it out yesterday and explained what happened. They said I could have exactly the same food as was ordered. I said I wanted my money back and an apology for the inconvenience. Got the money back eventually, but the apology was completely out of the question!


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Posted by leslie-179832 - 13 years ago

Just to follow up on this, yesterday I went by the Le Eclerc traiture and apologized to the young woman who tried to speak in English with me. I did not do anything special, like bring flowers or give chocolate, although very thoughtful ideas, and she responded with the HUGEST SMILE! said she was sorry also.

I feel very happy again and although I get frustrated at times with the locals, in the end, if you show you are genuine, so do they.

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Posted by illywhacker-181711 - 13 years ago

Dear Ron,

I fear you have misread Leslie's post. She was afraid that they might

'think I am some arrogant, obnoxious American'.

She was therefore not expressing her view of Americans (as far as I know, Leslie is American), but the possibility that someone else might form this view of her. Such a possibility certainly exists, as you acknowledge in your post. Whether holding such a view be right or not, it would damage her relationship with a neighbourhood store.

Moral: look carefuly before you jump on your favourite hobby-horse.


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Posted by Ron-181036 - 13 years ago

Dear Leslie:

Perhaps a small box of chocolates would help smooth things over.

I hope you don't think I'm "some arrogant, obnoxious American" for suggesting that course of action though. I would hate for you to lose yet another nights sleep over one more faux pas.

It's kind of funny in a way, some people in the USA refer to some Europeans as being arrogant and obnoxious. I can only assume that they come to that conclusion by meeting all of 25 people from Europe (not individual countries or regions mind you - because, as we know, all "Europeans," as all "Americans" are, the same....). I dismiss their comments to just not having traveled, not bothering to know other cultures, jingoism's, or maybe the few people they met were actually arrogant and obnoxious (hardly indicative of the people of an entire country though), etc.

I did not expect such a comment to come from someone in such a multi national community such as the cda. But at least it shows me that people throughout the world have more in common with one another than they have differences. Oh well.

Kind Regards,


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Posted by Living in Nice - 13 years ago

How was the chicken?

Can anyone tell me why sometimes you can get a chicken for 3 euros - sometimes 10 euros - and they still taste like chicken!

Whats this fermer stuff - am I paying so Mr chicken can run around better and enjoy the fresh mountain air - or are they meant to taste better because to me they all taste like chicken.......especially if throw on a decent curry sauce.







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Posted by ifs-194624 - 13 years ago

Maybe say the point you were making is that the price is only 4.50 in car4, they owe you 1 euro, and what are they going to do about it???? :-)

Seriously we have all been there before and the fact that you care is maybe more important than whatever (if any) apologies you make.  And that you remember next time.

I still regret a mistake made in Zambia 10 years back, and another made some 7 years back in the bank in which I used to work.  Each time the person could not really defend themselves which makes it a worse error than yours.  Mine was an honest reaction too but too aggressive and over the top which yours doesn't sound like.

I can't undo these actions.

But I hope I've learned.


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Posted by Dutton-193987 - 13 years ago

Hey, Leslie - take her some flowers. You will not need to say anything more and all will be forgotten.keyboard not detected press F1 to continue

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Posted by Jan-181414 - 13 years ago

Don't let it get to you.

If it was the other way round, and it was their error, do you really think they would spend all night worrying about it.


'anything for an easy life'

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Posted by leslie-179832 - 13 years ago

Tony and Anita,

Thank you for your honest and human response. I know you are right, but I still have this need to go over there and apologise again so that they do not think I am some arrogant, obnoxious American. I was unable to sleep at all last night as this scenario kept playing in my mind!!



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Posted by Tres-196587 - 13 years ago

Congratulations on being human!!!!! We all make mistakes which thank goodness, brings all of us together regardless of creed, or culture. All you can do is hold your hand up to your mistake (which you've done) and apologise, you can do no more. It's not your responsibility how others receive your apology. Warmest of wishes


Tony and Anita