Let me just report that the power has gone out in my kitchen. When it rains, there is a hurricane!
However, I have made two important discoveries. First, yesterday evening we had dinner with two of my favorite people, Anne Berry and Philip Minns, both of whom are professional simultaneous translators [I am in awe.] I told them my sad tale about Orange and Philip informed me that the sign I saw in the two Orange shops warning that abusive language directed against Orange employees will be prosecuted can also be seen in government offices and the Metro. In short, all France is beside itself at bureaucracy, not just at Orange.
Second, this morning I called the English language Orange help line to get the number I need in order to swap my TV decoder box [cable box, we would say] for a new one, and the woman on the line was extremely friendly and helpful! From tbis I deduce that the intolerable rudeness and unhelpfulness I have encountered at Orange stores is not the fault of Orange. It is built into the French language. The very same employees, when speaking English, are as friendly as North Carolinians.
I wonder whether Noam Chomsky has observed this in his deep study of language.