Like everything else in the universe, the Internet has its advantages and disadvantages. Its main advantage, of course, is that it vastly facilitates communication, making it easy for me to harass women I barely know with “sext” messages. Oops — wait! I didn’t mean that. Those words don’t reflect who I am.
I meant to say: its main advantage, of course, is that it vastly facilitates communication, making it easy for me to stay in touch with family, friends, porn-addiction therapists, etc., all over the world.
And its main disadvantage, of course, is that it vastly facilitates communication, making it easy for spammers to fill my in box with crap, my heart with bile and my mind with venom.
On a slightly more sanguine note, it also makes it easy for businesses to bombard their clientele with questionnaires. In the old days, customer satisfaction surveys had to be conducted by mail, telephone or strip-o-gram, which was expensive and time-consuming for the surveyor.
But now any company dealing in any kind of good or service can solicit its customers’ reactions automatically at no incremental cost. Nonetheless, being a surveyee wastes as much time and energy as ever, so I don’t often respond to these inquiries, especially when my mouse hand is worn out from deleting spam. Or from Photoshopping all the, ah, I guess you could say “selfies” that I take for my, ah, personal communication projects.
Anyway, the surge in service surveys has been on my mind this week because I just returned from a vacation in Basque Country, a region that straddles southwestern France and northeastern Spain along the Atlantic coast. And one of my favorite parts of the world, as reported in a previous C’est Ironique.
A couple of weeks ago, accompanied by one friend and one wife, I flew to Biarritz, rented a car and spent two days in an apartment in San Sebastian, Spain, followed by one week in a gîte (vacation rental house) in the charming French village of Sare.
And when I got back to Paris I received, in rapid succession, customer feedback forms from Air France, Hertz, Airbnb, Gîtes de France and Air France again (they counted the return flight as a separate “passenger experience”). I was surprised that there was nothing from the highway department asking me to rate the hand driers in the Biarritz service plaza men’s room. (Which by the way are also a waste of time and energy.)
This made me wonder: what if all foreign visitors to Paris received an overall satisfaction survey about their trips? I imagine the questionnaire would look something like this…
Thank you for choosing Paris
Your opinion is important to us! Yeah, we know that there’s strong evidence to the contrary, but humor us. To find out how we can make our city more visitor-friendly, we’d like to ask you a few simple questions.
Is the objective perception of the physical world conditioned by subjective psychological factors?
Oops — wrong question! That was from the “Bac” philosophy exam. Sorry! We meant to say:
What was the purpose of your visit?
_ Scouting out residential possibilities in case Donald Trump gets elected
Who accompanied you on this trip? (Check all that apply.)
Did you take a cab into Paris from the airport?
If you answered “yes” to Question 3, given the amount of time you spent together, do you now consider your taxi driver to be a member of your family?
_ Yes, we call each other every Sunday.
_ Yes, we have our own private nicknames for each other. And for each of the passengers on the bus that blocked our path at Porte de la Chapelle for an hour.
_ Yes, we’re all now living together. In the cab, at Porte de la Chapelle.
If you stayed in a hotel in Paris, how would you rate your room in terms of size, comfort and amenities?
_ Perfectly fine
Wait! We meant in relation to its price.
_ Oh — horrible
_ Is this a joke?
How would you rate the cleanliness of France as a whole (scale of zero to 10)?
How would you rate the cleanliness of the city of Paris (scale of zero to four)?
How would you rate the cleanliness of the Paris sidewalks (scale of zero to zero)?
About food: did you try any of the famous signature dishes of French cuisine while you were here?
Did you have steak tartare?
With the raw egg and everything?
On a hot day?
If you answered “yes” to questions 11, 12 and 13, how would you rate the decor of your hotel bathroom?
_ Oh, lovely
_ Nice enough, I guess
_ Okay, but kind of boring after the first few hours
Which of the following adjectives would you use to describe Paris? (Check all that apply.)
If you happened to travel out of Paris to the Basque town of Ascain two weeks ago, did you see any particularly idiotic misuses of quotation marks on restaurant menus?
This place is closed “Wednesday.” You know, the day that comes after the real Wednesday.
Wild “turbot” for “2” people with seasonal “vegetables.” So for all we know it’s actually a wild sardine for one and a half people with seasonal grass clippings.
Please complete the following statement (check all that apply):
I would recommend a vacation in Paris to my…
_ Alter ego
_ Imaginary friends
_ Other personalities
_ Ventriloquist dummy
One last thing: during your visit, did you attach a “love lock” to a bridge or anywhere else in Paris?
If you answered “Yes” to Question 18, please enter your postal mailing address here: ______________________________
We’d like to send you a small gift to show our gratitude.
You may have your choice of the following items (check one):
_ One million padlocks, delivered by a specially trained courier who will solder them in large bundles to your house, car, furniture and jewelry to see how you like it.
_ A plastic bag containing a generous, ready-to-eat helping of steak tartare (serves two).
_ A personal, private message from a Paris-based Anglophone humorist.
© 2016 Paris UpdateFavorite
An album of David Jaggard’s comic compositions is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, for purchase (whole or track by track) on iTunes and Amazon, and on every other music downloading service in the known universe, under the title “Totally Unrelated.”
Note to readers: David Jaggard’s e-book Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011 is available from Amazon as well as iTunes, iBookstore, Nook, Reader Store, Kobo, Copia and many other distributors.