Saturday, 5 November 2011

Sans Virus!

Some time ago, when we went to the Intermarché in Cluny for our shopping, we found part of the parking area closed off for works. Recently the works were completed, and it appeared that they had built two covered parking places, both with an intercom facility. We had no idea what these parking places were for; our best guess was a facility to return a rented van (the Intermarché rents out vans) outside opening hours of the supermarket.
Today a big sign revealed that we had been completely wrong. The parking places were part of a new service Intermarché is offering: “Le DRIVEINtermarché”. The client orders his shopping via internet, and indicates when he comes to pick up his shopping. He passes by at the agreed hour, parks his car at the intercom and announces his arrival. Somebody from Intermarché then comes to the parking area and delivers the shopping.
When I read this and thought about it for a second, I realised that this concept had disaster written all over it. Inhabitants from the villages around here ordering their shopping through internet?
First of all they would miss out on an endless conversation at the till whilst unloading their shopping trolley, followed by digging in a bottomless handbag looking for the chequebook, after which a pen has to be found as well. Then the cheque has to be signed and handed over, after which the said piece of paper disappears in and reappears a number of times from a magic black box which happens to verify the cheque. This whole procedure which so far has lasted at least 10 minutes is concluded by the stowing away of the shopping followed by an in-depth conversation about the neighbour’s cat. No Burgundian would miss out on something like this, would he?
Secondly, and that does not go just for the locals here but for big parts of France, computer illiteracy and fear of computer viruses are rather high in France compared to the UK or the Netherlands.
To illustrate this: a number of our French friends, amongst whom also business people, only open emails if they come from someone they know. All notorious carriers of computer viruses, such as films, jokes, web links, etc. are opened without any hesitation as long as they know the sender. However, one potter who works around here received a request for some home made pottery from my daughter, who had been there once and had bought some stuff there and then. The request was binned without being opened, for the simple reason that she did not know the name of the sender!
Another illustration: in our favourite quiz show every so often one of the prizes is a PC. This is always announced as “ordinateur avec écran plat, SANS VIRUS!”. One even finds these adverts on the internet.
I really wonder if it is at all possible to buy a brand new computer from a French retailer which contains a virus.
Anyway, to cut a long story short: I do not give this service a long life; I am pretty sure that soon the two parking spaces are going to be used for the rental vans…

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