Here are my tips from many years in London but more tips welcome please - how do you do it yourself?
If you’re feeling you don’t always get what you want from people here by using the typical French approach – getting frustrated and angry and starting shouting, here are a few suggestions learnt (à mes dépens…) over the past 15 years…
1/ The confrontational approach does not work, people feel offended and even if you have a minor request they will do all they can to be unhelpful;
2/ Being polite is an absolute pre-requisite – hellos, pleases and thanks are a must for any request, even if it’s only asking where they store the washing powder in the supermarket;
3/ Being even more polite will make people become hugely friendly and go out of their way to help, even if your request is a pain to them – the key words here to request something: “I am so sorry to bother you”, “I am sorry to trouble you”, “I am sorry to be an inconvenience”, “would you be so kind as to (helping me find the washing powder)”, “I hope I am not being too much of a pain”; and to thank for something: “thanks so much for helping”. “thanks ever so much”, “I am so very grateful”, “that’s lovely thank you so much”, “I definitely owe you one”.