Sunday, 17 March 2013

Taxis and whatnot

This is really a small portion of what could be a huge rant about how Anglais are treated in Quebec. But, that is really too big of a topic for me to handle here, and one which I am certain would get me into some trouble if I did. So, allow me to restrict myself to transportation in Montreal.

Say, for example, I wanted to order a cab. This seems simple enough. You find a phone number, you call it. . .right? Wrong! In Quebec, prior to making such a call, you desperately search the web for a company with service in both English and French. Should you fail to do this, and you call one of the French companies instead (even though pretty much everyone here speaks some degree of English) the dispatcher will straight up hang up on you. Rude.

Or, for example, say I want to ride the bus to the airport. Nowhere is it posted that this is a $9 trip. The driver will explain this to me in French, will not explain it in English, will become increasingly frustrated with me, finally explain it in English, and then kick me off the bus. When I attempt to explain why I was confused (AKA I thought my transit pass had enough $ on it for a $9 trip), he will say (in perfect English) "I don't know English". Rude.

What ticks me off here isn't so much the rudeness (although that is bad enough), it isn't this stubborn adherence to the French language in a world where English is the global language, it isn't even the general lack of common courtesy and concern for one's fellow man. What bothers me, more than anything, is that this sort of behavior is absolutely illogical in any sort of a setting where one is intending to generate a profit. Montreal is a city with many English speakers, and many French speakers. By catering to both, you are maximizing your profit. By catering to only one or the other, you are cutting your profits in half. Simple good business sense seems to be greatly lacking in this city.

To demonstrate the reverse: were a French speaker to wander into a store in Saskatchewan (where French is poor at best and non-extant at worse), the storekeeper would not automatically turn this customer away with a brisk "I do not speak French". I mean, certainly some assholes would, but this wouldn't be a common practice. Instead, the storekeeper would do her utmost to try to understand the potential customer. She would point, she would grasp at her rudimentary grade seven French, she would flap around and grunt until some sort of meaning was exchanged. At the very least, she would be intensely apologetic. The point is, anywhere else in the country, all customers are created equal (unless they are rude or have a history of not paying). The money exchanged is the same no matter what language you speak. Obtaining money is the entire point of a business, ergo the language spoken should not prevent someone from giving a business money.

In conclusion:

1 comment:

  1. we would flap around and grunt and point, wouldn't we? hahaha