Generous Shopclerks

gladiolasOne of the zillion things I love about France is that very often a shopkeeper won’t, for artistic reasons, upsell you. This afternoon I bought flowers on rue Caulaincourt in the 18th. I asked for 6 stems of gladiolas, to which the fleurist responded, “five or seven–it should be an odd number.” I agreed to seven and asked why. “It looks much better,” he declared. I asked him to add one stem of white lilies (€6,50) to the bunch. “Ah no,” he said. “That won’t look good at all. Leave the gladiolas on their own.” Similarly, my caviste gives me a discount on the wine I buy from her. After having purchased one bottle, she informed me I was a bonne cliente.

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