Friday, July 29, 2011

Little Reminders + A New French Word







Râler -- to complain, to moan (to growl). More loosely translated to make a loud and disagreeable fuss about a problem with a person in a service position, i.e. the cashier at Monoprix for example, while the line behind the leur or râleuse is approximately two kilometers long.

The French, and they are the first to admit this about themselves, are complainers. I suppose it's because they are living in arguably the most agreeable culture in the world they become prickly when the cashier at Monoprix tries to explain they have mistakenly chosen something from the "new collection" and not "les soldes" and she cannot give them 50% off even though some other client may have carelessly mixed the regular priced item with the markdowns. Now, that is an argument that could take a good 15 minutes.


Above explanation brings me to a solution by Christine Lewicki who has decided to control her own tendencies to complain at high decibels and is sharing her secret on her web site.

She suggests we wear a plastic bracelet for 21 days and each time we have the inclination, wild urge, to growl, we look at and/or touch the bracelet and remember how we are trying to re-condition our impulses from negative to positive. If, however, after a valiant effort, we fail the bracelet is to be moved to the other wrist and the calendar moves back to day one.

Not being a huge râleuse myself -- although I believe I am capable of enormous bodily harm when someone cuts in front of me in a movie line on the Champs Elysees -- (a very common practice btw) I believe a ribbon would be a more comfortable option particularly for sleeping and steamy summer days.


Taking her idea to another level, I think it's rather brilliant for any habit we might like to break like mindless snacking for example. Each of us could no doubt fill in the blank for an inclination or habit we would like to jettison.

What do you think?

14 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

Ah, one of my favorite words in the French language, VERY evocative. And I have been known to "raler" myself (yes, please pretend there is a circumflex).

Of course, I prefer to keep my ranting and raling to Mondays (when I feel I can get away with a Monday Morning Complaint Department), but at present, in the summer doldrums with un adolescent who is driving me crazy (and eating me out of house and home), I might make an exception and bitch and moan on a vendredi as I don't think I have done any such emoting this week.

(Or have I?)

Might I offer a cranky complaint about women who allow their "muffin top" spillage to distract my view at the local supermarché? (I tuck mine out of sight. What can I say? Think it's tied to mindless snacking, or simply a trend-run-amock, when we ought to know better?)

une femme said...

My mother used to embarrass the hell out of me when I was young when she would râle (sorry, my past perfect conjugation is failing me at the moment) at poor blameless sales people when they were out of her size or the color she wanted. So I tend to overcompensate by being agreeable (almost) no matter what. Maybe I need a plastic bracelet for that.

aBroad said...

I live in a place where the raleur is taken to a level of brilliance and I can only hope to achieve the same effects that I have seen here.
Stand in the grocery store line, for hours, while a pregnant woman cuts in front with 3 bags of groceries, then uses a charge card, then asks the bagging to be just so ... and watch the señoras behind her.
You can't really hear them, but the eye rolling, arm waving, hand gestures speak louder than any words.
I enjoy these shows so much .. I know I will never achieve the South American talent for letting someone have it with hardly a word spoken :)
I am getting pretty good at eye rolling though.. ( it probably doesn't count because I wear sunglasses all the time :)

Anonymous said...

Very good idea about the bracelet to curb bad habits, like mindless snacking, or in my case, my quick temper. Just wondering. Does the urge ever go away? How many times are we allowed to indulge, and how much? I am pretty disciplined, and allow myself a large chocolate ice cream cone on Friday evenings after work. I look forward to it all week long! BTW, very interesting subject on The Rich Life (on a Budget) yesterday.

Splenderosa said...

Having been on a diet all my life, I've rinally realized one must keep the metabolism going by eating small small portions about 6X a day. This seems like a whole lot of trouble, as in the past I wouldn't get hungry until about 3pm, having only coffee until then. No sugar, no white anything ever. About the complaining, it really doesn't do any good, over here our service people are usually from other countries and they don't understand anyway. As my age advances I find I'm only drawn to places where I know I don't have to complain as everything is always correct, you know?

Chicatanyage said...

Love the word "raleuse" has a great ring to it. The bracelet technique should definitely work it's technical term is called "anchoring" training the brain to form new habits. It is used a lot by people like Paul McKenna to create a new stimulus response reaction especially for weight control. Personally I think I might continue to indulge in a good "raler" should the occasion merit one.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

The bracelet idea is a great one...
there is such power in refocusing ones thoughts and actions. I wonder if it works with my armful of bangles!

I really dislike loud outbursts and displays of bad behaviour.

We were in the slowest line going through the market checkout and people were getting all bothered and huffy and I thought how is that helping anything?

knitpurl said...

The reference above to handling "situations" in a South American country was inspiring. Rolling ones eyes speaks volumes if someone else sees it. I've left stores, merchandise, and loaded carts when piqued by customers ahead in line during my entire adult life (I sheepishly write). Patience is not my virtue. With advancing age I suppose I ought to find patience somewhere.

The bracelet, sounds nice, but would end up a gimmicky thing on me. Discipline is my only salvation.
xoxox and Bon Weekend, C.

Anonymous said...

Ha!! I have just this minute written an email of complaint to one of our department stores. The older I am getting the more I am willing to complain about bad service. When I reached 50 a relative said "welcome to the age of complaint". I am also more willing to avoid places where the service is below par which seems to be more and more places these days. No wonder I do a lot of buying online.

cheers Di

Duchesse said...

Ms Lewicki has taken this idea
from the book "A Complaint Free World" by by Will Bowen (whom I hope she credits. The book is valuable reading, and Bowen describes what going complaint-free does for you.

I have head the French characterized as chronic complainers. It's a quality I've worked to decrease in myself and I do not enjoy it in others. Bowen's little book shifted my habits.

Duchesse said...

Having read a few comments I am back to say that Bowen does not suggest one swallow bad service or injustice. Making a request for a solution to an issue is not the same as complaining.

he takes on the sour carping, moaning and reflexive negativity that unfortunately do seem to increase over 50.

Tut said...

I love the râler! Have you heard the term "resquiller", meaning to sneak ahead in line?
Madame Tut
www.ParisAtACertainAge.com

Tut said...

I love the râler! Have you heard the term "resquiller", meaning to sneak ahead in line?
Madame Tut
www.ParisAtACertainAge.com

Tut said...

I love the word râler! Have you heard the term "resquiller", meaning to sneak ahead in line?
Madame Tut
www.ParisAtACertainAge.com

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