Customer service in mobile phone shops in France has done a 180: The motto, ‘the customer is always wrong’ used to be de rigueur, and the only way to get what you wanted was either to flirt outrageously or scream like a harridan (I had both techniques down pat). Now it seems all of a sudden that ‘the customer is always right’, which is oddly disconcerting.
Yesterday I visited not one, but two mobile phone suppliers. Before anyone thinks I’ve totally lost it, let me quickly point out that this was out of absolute necessity and not choice. One of the horses had tested the sturdiness of my phone’s glass screen with its hoof (hoof: one, phone: nil) and as a mobile phone is essential given my inclination to fall into deep ditches in the middle of nowhere, replacing it was a matter of urgency.
The first boutique was unable to help me because, despite having the phone I had painstakingly tracked down, ordered and already paid for online in their possession, they claimed that ‘my order had failed’. They unequivocally agreed that it was outrageous/unbelievable/infuriating/beyond obtuse and criminally time-wasting, which completely took the wind out of my sails. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do because their ‘management are scumbags’.
After a 45 minute wait surrounded by people with banana-shaped upper bodies, it was much the same story in the second shop. It would appear that from a telecom point of view, I have ‘special needs’ far too complex to fulfil, especially in view of the fact that everyone’s bosses are unprincipled reprobates. I’m still not sure how I feel about having my phone requirements sentenced to the ‘special needs’ category.
Despite returning home 20 years older and still phoneless, I was able to muster just enough courage to once again locate what I wanted online. It was delivered the next day and I was so anxious to get it up and running that I inadvertently set the language to Chinese. It was a long and arduous task – 長和艱鉅任務 – coaxing it back to French, but I definitely felt it was a sign; in future I’m off to Beijing to buy my phones – it’ll be far less hassle and I’m keen to test my new-found language skills.
This recipe uses raw cocoa powder which means that the cocoa beans have been processed without using the high temperatures detrimental to its nutritional content. Raw cocoa powder contains natural mood stimulants as well as arginine, an essential amino acid that helps to reduce blood pressure. It is also a very rich source of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including high levels of magnesium to aid heart health, build strong bones and relax the muscles and the mind.
100g spelt flour
75g almond flour
75g raw cocoa powder (can be replaced by regular cocoa powder)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g extra virgin organic coconut oil
200g cane sugar
4 large organic eggs
1 teaspoons almond essence
2 tablespoon rum
Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and set aside. Cut the butter and coconut oil into cubes and leave to soften at room temperature for a few minutes. Beat with an electric mixer for about ten minutes until fluffy and then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk for another few minutes. Lastly, add the rum and almond essence and gently fold in the flour. Transfer the mixture to a buttered loaf tin and cook in a non-preheated oven at 160°C for about an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.