I went to the Centre Pompidou today to see the Robert Rauschenberg exhibit with Maylin. Now I remember why I usually don't take her to museums these days. If you like a whirlwind tour of art, take my four year-old daughter with you. If you want to savor each piece and actually have time to think about it, don't take her along. Oh well. I think she liked some of it, but she was pretty antsy. I should have gone straight to the Rauschenberg instead of going to another exhibit beforehand and the museum's main bookstore.
At the bookstore, I had a truly French experience. I was trying to return an art book I had bought on the 29th of September. I went back last month to return it, but ran into a closed museum due to the social demonstration out in front. So I tried again today and was soooo disappointed to find out they didn't do returns. Not at all! There was nothing on the receipt about this. Well, I was just about to leave huffy and puffy when I realized I could ask if they did exchanges. To my surprise, they did! Geez, if I hadn't asked the right question, I would have been stuck with my expensive, not-so-good art book. This is the way in France. Sometimes, people in the service industry will not volunteer information to help you out -- you have to just expect this. And you have to know what to ask.
The employee told me to go pick out the books first and then he would do the exchange. It was Maylin's lucky day -- she got to pick out two, very nice books. When I went back to the guy, he looked at the receipt and muttered (to himself and to his colleague) loud enough for me to hear that the book was sold over a month ago. I was thinking, he better not penalize me for that -- that's not written on the receipt either!
Fortunately, the exchange went smoothly, but I was a bit put out when he refused to return my smile after the transaction was completed. Ooh -- it's times like these when I wish I was in the States again, pronto!