(asked by db, the same as the previous question)
Other than that, best blog yet, and quite true too.
First of all, thanks for the kind word.
Now, the Gallic shrug.
First of all, I must underline that the Gallic Shrug “exists” only in the English speaking world, or should I say in the eyes of the English speaking world.
I have never heard of the Gallic shrug in the mouth of people from other countries.
Most likely because:
- Most other countries have their own equivalent to the Gallic shrug.
- I guess it surprises (or used to surprise) the Anglos to encounter this in France (you know how they are with France, always fantasizing and imagining France as heaven on Earth and other foolish things like that) while they expect it and are not surprised by it in other countries that are “less civilized” in their unconscious mind.
Then, what does it consist in?
Well, youâ€™ll find sites, books, people thatâ€™ll tell you itâ€™s a shrug, with sometimes a pout or whatever else.
Actually, the Gallic shrug is more a state of mind than an actual gesture.
For example, I almost never shrug when I do a Gallic shrug.
And what does it mean?
Well, it basically means “I didnâ€™t mess it up, you did (or somebody else), not me, so why should it be my problem?”
Itâ€™s more or less the French equivalent to “Deal with it” and/or “Shit happens.”
And I assume itâ€™s an issue for the Anglos, and especially the Americans because theyâ€™re under the strange assumption that they never have to fix their own problems or clean after themselves.
The most obvious thing being the customer service thing.
While I agree that customer service is good in the US and sometimes sucks in France (but not as much as Anglos think, they just donâ€™t know the unwritten rules), the general understanding that the one who pays that has all the rights, and the one that is being paid who has to be a slave to the former one just doesnâ€™t apply in France.
Money doesnâ€™t regulate the relationship between customers and sellers. Itâ€™s just one of the two items that are being exchanged.
Hence, people encountering the “Gallic shrug” if they ask the wrong person to solve the wrong problem. Because not anybody will help you in a store when you have a problem, only the person whose job is to solve this problem, if such a person exists.
Now, Iâ€™ll conclude by saying that this state of mind that I find very healthy and honest has one major downside: the administration!
Because everything administrative is so complex, nonsensical and quite Kafkaesque in France, nothing is nobodyâ€™s problem, and yes it is a big pain in the ass to deal with the administration when thereâ€™s a problem in this country, because itâ€™s never the clerk problem (of course itâ€™s not) so theyâ€™ll be rarely helpful on the matter, and believe me it makes the French mad too…