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I was chatting to one of my (French) colleagues at work today. He was annoyed because the machine he was working on was playing up, and he had to wait for the engineers to fix it before he could continue. I had the exact same problem.

What do you think about it?’ he asked me. I just shrugged my shoulders in response, as if to say ‘These things happen, what can you do?’.

Ah!‘ he said ‘That must be the English way, you aren’t bothered about it at all. Me? I’m really annoyed and I’m going to let the boss know how I feel!’

That’s one of the differences between our two countries‘ I replied. ‘It’s like when the price of fuel goes up. In England we just shrug our shoulders and accept it, at least the French do something about it – you go out and protest‘.

Yes we do go out and protest‘ he replied ‘But you know what? The price still goes up anyway!!