back to article French mobe repair shop chaps trash customer's phone

Two employees of French telco SFR who last week broadcast a live vid of themselves apparently trashing a difficult customer's mobe are now seeking new jobs after their entertaining footage escaped into the open plains of the internet. According to this report, the pair at an SFR shop in Villeneuve d'Ascq, in the country's Nord …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    Can you hear me Forrest?

    insert obligatory quote here< >

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Can you hear me Forrest?

      Mobile phone repair is as mobile phone repair does.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Can you hear me Forrest?

      "Life is like a French mobile phone repair shop."

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Can you hear me Forrest?

      There is no way I can top these comments. Have an upvote everyone!

  2. Yag

    Another reason...

    ... for NOT being an ass to people you might need.

    1. Shades

      Re: Another reason...

      You sound like a really professional guy. If you think that is acceptable, tell us, where do you work?

      1. Yag

        Re : "tell us, where do you work?"

        I work on embedded avionic systems. Do you plan to take a plan those days?

        OF COURSE it was not an acceptable behaviour.

        Sigh...Had to choose between the "devil" and the "joke" icons... Guess I overestimated the ability of people to recognize a joke when they see one...

        1. Graham Marsden

          Re: Re : "tell us, where do you work?"

          And Yag goes for the desperate "It was a joke, didn't you get it" tactic.

          (Hopefully followed by "When you're in a hole, stop digging...")

          1. Yag

            Re: Re : "tell us, where do you work?"

            Sure, whatever... I love digging actually.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Re : "tell us, where do you work?"

          I certainly don't plan on taking any form of transport that relies on your spelling stuff correctly.

          1. L05ER

            Re: Re : "tell us, where do you work?"

            My IDE has syntax check, doesn't yours?

          2. The Nazz Silver badge

            Re: Re : "tell us, where do you work?"

            re Stevie :

            S T U F F

            Do i win a cocoanut? Or a goalfish?

      2. Black Betty

        Re: Another reason...

        Of course it's not acceptable, but acceptable oftimes flies out the window in the face of also unacceptable provocation. If you're the sort of person who pisses people off, people will take revenge.

        Right or wrong don't come into it, just human nature.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Another reason...

      Another reason that you use companies that recognise that you "being an ass" is actually because they're doing something wrong.

      Either not dealing with previous requests properly (note: This does not mean saying Yes to everything), or by not dealing with an unreasonably irate customer in the correct manner.

      Refuse his custom, or take it on. Don't take on his custom and then cause criminal damage because you don't like him.

      I guarantee you in this case that he has a rather shiny new phone, that the cost to him will be zero, that two people he didn't like were sacked, and that next time he goes in there his customer service experience will be impeccable. Who "won" there?

      Just because your customer's an ass, doesn't mean you can break the law and damage his property. If you don't want to help him, refuse his custom. Literally "Sorry, sir, but I'm refusing to deal with you if you're going to speak to me like that." It's not hard. And that's 99% of dealing with customers direct, maintaining politeness no matter what they do. You're the professional, you deal with it.

      This does not mean "bend over", it doesn't mean do things you're not supposed to do, it doesn't mean treat them like a king, it doesn't mean kowtow to them. But it REALLY doesn't mean "cause criminal damage and both lose your jobs over a stroppy customer" either.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Another reason...

        I completely agree, and I have refused to serve customers in a previous retail job for being an arse. That said it was a high end liquor merchant and it ended with the panic button being hit. What can I say, things would have really gotten out of hand if we'd have freaked out or antagonised him (I've gone straight now, back on the it wagon these days)

      2. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: Another reason...

        It must be nice to work somewhere that a line employee can summarily refuse an asshole's custom. Most places I can think of, that's up to the pointy-haired boss known as the "manager," who, not having to personally deal with the asshole, will laugh in the employee's face if they bring up the issue of the customer being a twat and tell them to suck it up or find other work. Meanwhile, asshole customers, suckled from the tainted teat of "the customer is always right," along with a heaping helping of "I'm better than this workaday slob," feel free to hurl the most ridiculous and awful abuse right in the face of the line employee.

        So, honestly? I can only hope that the asshole had a metric asston of non-backed-up data on his old mobe that they rendered impossible to recover. Because if you're going to blow your job taking revenge on an asshole customer, you may as well make a workmanlike job of it.

  3. Sykobee

    If they've done it once, they've done it before. I suspect this may become a big issue for SFR - anyone who had repairs or claims turned down for 'it arrived like this' is now clearly going to get back in contact to reclaim or get a refund on the higher charges incurred, etc.

    But yes, two rules here. Don't be a bastard customer (although we only have the idiots' word on this, and bad customer service can turn the nicest customer into a ball of anger) and don't be an idiot. Just do your job. Luckily these two will be having a long search for their next opportunity.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      You beat me to it.

      Life for those two trying to get another job will be fun, but not as much as that dept once all the previously unhappy customers see that vid...

  4. zebm

    Wrong headline

    Surely people get sacked in France should be the headline. I thought it was technically impossible to get rid of employees in France

    1. Yag

      Re: Wrong headline

      French job contracts are full of loopholes in order to ease sacking. If you ever ask, before signing it, to close them, it's always "take it or leave".

      There's also the nice "mutual agreement firing" which is very popular in HR departments. A bit of pressure here and there, et voila!

      In this case, it's a legitimate motive ("Faute grave" in french, the employees cannot work there any longer)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong headline

        You can just add any random clauses for firing in French contracts. Such clauses, being illegal, would just keep the not-quite-ex-employee laughing all the way to the Labour court (Prudhommes) where they'd be declared invalid, and the employees either reinstated or awarded a few years of salary as damages.

        The reality is that it's difficult to fire people for economic reasons, or for being incompetent, or even for not doing anything. If they actively do something illegal with easy to prove evidence, it's still possible to fire them, at least in the private sector.

        1. Yag

          "You can just add any random clauses for firing in French contracts. "

          Yes, but there's no point of adding outright illegal clauses : Just add a simple mobility clause, send the parisians to the middle of nowhere and the non-parisian to Paris, and just wait for them to refuse or quit by themselves...

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Faute grave

        As in " you have dug your own grave and now have one faute in it".

    2. Potemkine Silver badge

      Fetchez la vache!

      Now you know where does the word "Cliché" come from ^^

    3. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Wrong headline

      Not sure about France specifically, but in any right-minded country, intentionally violating the law while on the job would be grounds for dismissal, if not immediate 'get-out-of-here-right-now' dismissal or, 'this nice police office will help you gather your things'.

  5. Andy Non

    Customer Service

    I'm pleased to see that SFR sacked the two employees. SFR has actually got a good reputation for customer service and having been one of their customers for several years can attest to that; unlike Orange (France) who have the most appalling customer service of any company I've ever had the misfortune to deal with.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: Customer Service

      Orange (UK) were no better in that respect. After being hit with a £200+ data bill due to their incompetence on a tariff change, they repeatedly promised that a manager would call me back (never happened), they repeatedly promised to re-calculate my bill (never happened) and assured me that my complaints were being noted on my account (can you see a pattern forming here ?). They even refused to sign for a recorded delivery letter of complaint I sent to the Executive Office ! I eventually got my money back, but I had to fight for it.

      1. Bloakey1
        Thumb Up

        Re: Customer Service

        "Orange (UK) were no better in that respect."


        Founded by a French Foreign Legionnaire no less.

        I had awful grief with them years ago and actually paid off 11 months of upcoming contract just so that I could release myself from them.

        1. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: Customer Service

          Back when they were part of Hutchison, Orange were very good. Think about Line 2, HSCSD (and the Demon Orange ROMP), Wildfire and all the other technical innovations they made available for customers.

          Then France Telecom bought them out, and what did we get ? "Simplification" (read: Less Choice, More Money Please), overseas call centres and all the cool stuff got scrapped - but hey, we got free pizzas and cinema tickets. Yay for mediocrity !

          1. paulf Silver badge

            Re: Customer Service

            @ Chris King "Back when they were part of Hutchison..."

            The FT era was certainly the time when CS at Orange UK continually plumbed ever new depths of disservice. "We're not satisfied, until you're not satisfied" must have been written by/for them.

            I got my first mobile in Feb 1997 on Orange and they were brilliant but as the newest entrant (until Three started 9 years later) they had to be, to differentiate themselves and minimise churn. Unfortunately I think the rot started to set in sometime around mid-late 1999 as I noticed CS standards tangibly dropped in early/mid-2000, 6 months before Snook left as CEO and before FT appeared on the scene.

            FT purchased Orange group from Vodafone in Aug 2000. That was after a brief period as part of Vodafone's Mannesmann AG unit (bought Feb 2000) who had acquired Orange in Oct 99.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Customer Service

          Was with Orange for years as a PAYG customer. Staff in shop quite helpful, but couldn't do anything apart from handing me one of their phones to call the customer service desk. Tried several times to set up a credit card for top ups rather than a voucher. The last thing she said was "You just have to use a voucher then." Hung up, gave the phone back (resisting the urge to slam it down on the desk), thanked the staff for their help - and walked across the road to the O2 shop. It was easier to set up a new PAYG contract and transfer my number across than deal with Orange.

  6. tony72

    This is why...

    Fortunately I've never broken a phone to the extent that I couldn't repair it myself. If I did, I might just write it off and get a new one. What these guys did is actually pretty tame, compared to what a couple of arseholes could do with the personal information on someone's phone, if they really wanted to be nasty.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: This is why...

      Yes, but I suspect that even in France you can be sent down for serious time for unauthorized entry into a smart device.

      And as the inimitable Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau said:"And ten years on Devil's Island is not exactly the chicken feed either".

  7. BurnT'offering

    They've already been headhunted by Carphone Warehouse

    To improve their standard of customer service

  8. Potemkine Silver badge


    "One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not."

    With a little luck these two geniuses will get the Darwin award soon...

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Doh

      Not quite Darwin Award material. We might want to create the "Double Facepalm Award" for cases like these.

      Imagine the acceptance speeches (extreme rarity in the case of the Darwin Award):

      "I would first like to thank my complete lack of self control ....."

      Icon, because, well, there is no double facepalm icon

      1. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Doh

        They could qualify for a "Special Mention" - they didn't remove themselves from the gene pool, but they've probably committed career suicide.

        Being dicks toward the customer and busting their phone is bad enough, but being so monumentally fuckwitted as to post it on the internet is, what can I say... "Special" ?

        If I had a pound for every loon who over-exposed themselves on social media and said "I only thought my mates could see it", I wouldn't need to bother with the Lottery.

      2. Bob Vistakin

        Re: Doh

        My all time favourite facepalm, especially when you know what he heard to cause it.

    2. Dan Paul

      Re: Doh

      Yes, one can only hope that the pair of them decide to go into the explosive ordinance disposal business.

  9. Fihart

    Switch and bait.

    Some years ago a friend bought what he thought was a £30 Nokia from a well known telco's high street outlet.

    Few days later we checked the receipt for his phone when we spotted a similar but different looking phone with that model number in another shop's window. Turns out the telco boys had sold him a £20 Nokia for £30.

    Returning to the telco shop, noticed that the guy who'd served my friend ducked into the back office as we entered. Manager "explained" that the error had been spotted after my friend had left -- but they hadn't thought to ring him about it. No apology was offered and they still tried to charge £8 for the USB cable that Nokia hadn't included.

    Convinced that these jerks had been pulling this switch ever since spotting how similar these Nokia models looked -- assuming few would notice the difference (the poor camera performance was obvious immediately).

  10. Peter Simpson 1

    Word of mouth

    When my phone broke, I asked the guys in our IT department where they took iPhones for repair.

    They immediately answered: "iPhone Curt!"

    One man show, 20 minutes down the road (Brighton, Massachusetts). Dropped off at lunchtime, picked up an hour later. Reasonable price and I've subsequently sent some mates, my wife's school IT person and more of my broken stuff his way. Never a complaint.

    Another argument for treating the IT guys at work right. I'm a big fan of using local folks rather than large corporations for this kind of thing. And not ever being a dick to them. Make discretion work in your favor, not against you, is my philosophy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Word of mouth

      I like to use the local firms too!

      We use iPads and iPods here as well. Had one returned with a broken screen, so googled how to fix it. Then Googled for iPad repairs in local town. Small place 10 min walk down the road, he can fix them quicker, cheaper than I could - any problems I can take it back and they'll sort it out. Persuaded the bean counters here to set up an account. And as a bonus - I get mate's rates on my personal stuff!

  11. Stevie Silver badge


    Good to see the La Belle France showing off a couple of native Tardes-Fuck for all to see.

    I was beginning to suspect they didn't have any.

  12. Zot

    It's time to...

    ...Shave off that beard and dye your head red!

  13. Evil Auditor Silver badge


    I don't care whether they got fired for publishing the disintegration of a customer's mobile. But they surly should be severely punished for posting a video in portrait format!

    1. therebel

      Re: Fired?

      Ha you beat me to it! I wonder if these clowns watch their TVs in portrait mode as well.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Difficult fast food customers get worse treatment

    If you consider eating adulterated food to be worse.

    Never employ teenage boys in food prep.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Difficult fast food customers get worse treatment

      You dont have to be difficult, if they are in a mood (teenagers in a mood?), feeling "prankish" or take against you for whatever reason you will be lucky just to get "tired" food

  16. Asterix the Gaul

    I like the new finish they have put on it.

    It's called, 'Crackleglaze'.

    WOW! that's a 'cracker',LOL.

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