It's no secret that dealing with French bureacracy can be a Kafka-esque cauchemar. And so it has proved this week with France Telecom, whom I've been calling on a daily basis for some time now (all on a premium rate phone line of course). Their approach to customer care makes British Gas - my previous benchmark of bad customer service - seem like a model of corporate civility.
The problem is that my broadband connection has not functioned properly since Christmas but every time I call France Telecom I am told, 'Madam, your connection is working perfectly.'
This week, in despair, I posted my dilemna on www.totalfrance.com (an excellent source of information on all matters French). One member kindly helped me to identify the problem as the level of 'attenuation' or signal on my line. 'Get on to France Telecom and insist that they come out and deal with it,' he advised.
Easier said than done. Yesterday, I devoted an entire morning to this task, begging a succession of operators to send an engineer out. All to no avail. Finally, I put the phone down and wept, not sure what to do next. In the meantime, thank god for the internet cafe on the square.