“Jaw With John” – Paris je t’aime, But I’m Going to Bitch About Seeing You For Free

A few months ago a friend and I were in Paris. She had some family friends (whom she had not seen since she was young) who were available to host us for free.

Now, I have always been taught that when entertaining, a guest comes first. These people, however, made us feel as though we were an inconvenience to them and their two children, though we only slept on their pull-out couch — that was it.

The father in the family runs a touring company, and my friend thought we should ask for a tour, to be polite — with the intention of paying him.

He gave us a very short tour of one of Paris’ museums — one of my favorites — for free. But the tour was odd and he acted a bit rude, challenging my knowledge of the museum and the paintings and rushing us. I did not enjoy it.

Later on in our visit, we came home late (about midnight) after going up the Eiffel Tower. We did not have a key and he proceeded to go to sleep. Luckily, the au pair let us in. But after that behavior and his lack of an apology, I decided I can’t stand him.

Now he sends me emails about giving a review of the tour (which he insists must be a five-star review). I have refused. Should I keep ignoring his emails? Or should I write the bad review because the world has a right to know?

I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but what kind of host leaves someone locked out and then goes to sleep — and then demands a five-star review? — Frustrated with Friends of a Friend

Dear Frustrated:

Let me get this straight: you’re complaining that you got to stay in Paris FOR FREE and got a personal tour of a museum FOR FREE?

Wow.

I don’t even know where to begin.

Firstly, it was on you to get a spare key or set up some type of system where you could get back into their place/meet up with them to get the key if they weren’t home. That’s just common sense. I did it when I stayed with a friend in Hong Kong and again in Chicago. Communication is key, especially in a foreign land. You’ve now learned this for another trip.

About the curt tour, as you described it. Perhaps something was lost in translation. What he might have perceived as gentle ribbing might have been rude to you, but he was doing his job (FOR FREE) and trying to engage you with the museum and the pieces. You know what else you could have done if you didn’t enjoy the trip? Gone again. That’s right. You could have gone back and taken the time you wanted to see things you didn’t before.

As far as the review goes, you don’t owe him 5 stars if you didn’t feel it was worth 5 stars. If reviews are anonymous then give whatever you feel best reflects your experience. But I ask you this: Did he give you the full tour as described by his company? Because if he did and it was a sub par experience then by all means give whatever rating you want (but if it were me I’d probably still give it 5 stars because it was FREE). If it wasn’t then think before you type and submit.

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