This is one of a few entries I wrote, and was unable to post, for the past couple of weeks. Please accept my apologies for bringing you so much delight all at one time!!
There is real customer service in the world, people!
You will find it in Quebec.
Other people, when they travel to la belle province will tell you about the beauty of the scenery, the incredible food & wine, the thrill and wonder of history in a 400+ year old place. So you’ve heard it all before and we can move on. To the service!
Everywhere we went – large chain grocery stores (where one can buy the most amazing things, from fruits & cheeses one never sees in Ontario, to incredible fresh, prepared foods that make one want to cry, one is so happy….), Mont Blanc ski lift lines (well, that would be Jeff alone), liquor stores, delicious restaurants, tiny epiceries in the neighbourhood where we were staying – we were treated like we were special, like our custom was actually important to the people whose business we were patronizing.
My spoken French is poor, although my ability to read it good and to understand it when spoken to me fine; Jeff does not speak French at all. It did not matter in the least – we made the effort to say “bon jour” when we walked into an establishment, because that is how every single person who walks in is greeted!” (Can you imagine anything crazier than saying hello to someone who’s come into your shop??) And from bon jour, we generally, although not always, segued into English. But it didn’t matter – we were still important customers to them! Every moment of their time we needed, we got. We weren’t made to feel as if we were imposing. We weren’t made to feel rushed. We weren’t made to feel stupid for being in that establishment. And not once did I feel like a middle-aged invisible woman – how amazing is that?
(My middle-aged woman friends will tell you what that experience is like. I should blog about that some time….)
And it’s not that we spent a lot of money anywhere because this was a holiday for fools who aren’t working (much) but when we did drag out a couple of twenty dollar bills, they were appreciated.
I would like to add, at this point, that part of the reason we didn’t spend a lot of money is because nothing was really expensive, not even in the tourist-oriented businesses and activities. Aside from dinner our first night in the city, and that was an intended splurge which we enjoyed thoroughly (and paid for just a little the next morning), the single most expensive purchase we made was 90 minutes of time in a caleche ride. And even if I had to save up quarters for a year to do it again, I would. Our driver was delightful, Quebec City is so fantastic, and the air of romance could not be denied.
Merci, Quebec. Je t’adore! And we will be back.