Friday, 4 February 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Allo Dahlin', Awight?'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Allo Dahlin', Awight? ~

Allo Dahlin', Awight?, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

The phone companies are funny here in France. I'm with one called SFR, which I think stands for 'Screwed For Real', but it could be 'Suckers For Reaping', I'll have to check. Others players go by the names of Orange, BouyguesFree, and all the other hangers-on with special deals and bought-up second-hand bandwidth to flog.

To be frank, it's a consumer's nightmare. They're all as crooked as a dog's hind leg for a start. I mean, they are. It's a fact. There's always some court case or other for dodgy practices and fixing prices and nasty little surprises when you want to leave them, and as for their pricing policies and trying to compare them... well, look up 'obfustication' folks, and you'll find French phone companies are described quite precisely right there.

I won't even bother going into all the convoluted ways in which they present their offers or try to make themselves look more attractive than their competitors just long enough, the length of an in-your-face ad campaign with very dubious claims, to get you to sign up for about half your life with them. We know that getting a new client costs far more than keeping a current one, and companies like these, along with the worst of all, the banks, play on this a lot.

They make ridiculous profits and desperately want to keep it that way. Amazing coincidences are suspiciously frequent like when as soon as Free said they were bringing in 'free' calls to all mobiles from fixed numbers that ALL the others quickly fell into line. B*st*rds.

When you go along to renew, or ask a question or change your 'plan' the sales person often gets all smart-arsed and tries to make you feel like he's your new best friend by telling you that your new price will be cheaper than before, with added services. What they don't do is tell you that without being asked. So you go on paying more than you should for months and months. Cute.

Having said all that, I don't want to be taken for a whinging pom, so I'll actually finish on a high note by saying that I'm actually rather pleased with SFR. Maybe it's due to some draconian sales training programme, or being assessed on customer feedback on their 'in-boutique experience' or what I don't know, but the sales assistants almost fall over themselves in the high street stores to be helpful and do their best for you.

And at the end of the day (month, year..) it is nice to walk away with more for less, isn't it? God bless SFR, their funky quadruple play, and all who mail in her.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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