Tuesday, April 22, 2008

High Tech, Not High Touch

I had one of those experiences this week that expressed the French service economy in a nutshell. Dry cleaning costs a fortune here and so the only recourse for those items that absolutely must be dry cleaned is the franchise 5àSec where the prices are moderately bearable but the customer service is...well, let's just say it leaves a lot to be desired. I spent a good 15 minutes waiting in line to drop off my items while the one clerk moved at the pace of molasses. The good news is that you pay in advance and pickup is fully automated. Actually it's quite cool. The receipt has a bar code on it which you wave in front of a reader. This sends the rack of clean items into motion. When your items finally come around, a waist high glass door opens up and your items come off the rack and onto a hook for your retrieval. Now that's putting technology to work.

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