Friday, February 3, 2017

Why we're not staying in France: a story

I usually like to write about the more glamorous side of living abroad: traveling! But once in a while it's fun to vent and document some of the downsides. 

I got back to France this week after an entire month at home in the U.S. I was excited to get back to my husband and our plans for this year. Unfortunately, the second I got home there were some issues to deal with. Enjoy this timeline of my annoying week...

Saturday- The lock on our front door is broken. It was broken on purpose by a locksmith because the owner of the apartment got locked out and wanted to get in right away. Not really clear on why it was so urgent or why the locksmith couldn't put a new lock on right away, but you know, it is France.

Sunday- The apartment sits open (with our stuff inside) with no one staying there- David was home with his parents for the weekend.

Monday- I travel for about 15 hours. I don't sleep on planes. I am tired and I want to take a hot shower followed by a long nap. I can't do either of those things. Since David is at work- it's my job to chill in the unlocked apartment and wait for the workers to show up. They were supposed to come at 2, so I wait. Then they called and changed it to 4:30. I wait. Then we don't hear anything from them until the next day. The door doesn't even stay closed, so we push a table against it before we go to bed.

Tuesday- The new plan is that they'll come between 8-11. I get up early and wait. Silly me. They show up at 1, and work for 3 hours. 

I'm happy to see them go.

However, it turns out they did a terrible job. The lock was loose on the door, which didn't seem right, and the funniest part was that the bar (the purpose of which is to go down into the hole in the floor when it's locked) was too short and didn't touch the hole.

I would have been happy to leave it as is since we won't be staying much longer ;), but that was not to be. 

Wednesday- They are supposed to come at 5pm to fix it. Someone comes at 7 and doesn't fix anything, just investigated to see what the problem was. When we asked what time he was coming back the next day, he gave us a whiny speech about how he was tired from working all day and couldn't possibly predict what his schedule would be like. 

Thursday- I'm stuck inside all day since he couldn't give us any indication about when he was coming. He arrives at 2 with another guy, who immediately asks me to make him coffee lol. I'm not your waitress. I also didn't have coffee (and wouldn't how to make it, for that matter...).

They work for an hour. My favorite part was when they took a break and decided to go out on the balcony for a while. Sure, go ahead and just walk through the apartment and hang out where you please. 

Thankfully, after another hour, the lock is finished! It seems to work much better, so hopefully the saga is over.

By the way, there was never any explanation or apology about why they kept canceling appointments or why it was done so terribly the first time.

The bottom line is that a lot of things are less effective here. You have to have patience. Things usually get done eventually, but no one seems to be in a rush about getting things done when it's convenient to the customer.

Example #2... David bought a car in August, and he's only driven it for about a month since then. The first time we took it into the shop, they had the car for 3 months. A week later something still wasn't working, and now they've had it for another month. That would never in a million years happen in America. No one needs 4 months to fix a car.

There are a lot of great things about France that I love, but the typical attitude toward customer service would get pretty frustrating if we lived here forever. Since our time in France has a foreseeable end, it's easy to just laugh about these ridiculous situations. 

Does this illuminate for anyone a little bit why we're leaving a Mediterranean paradise to return to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin?  ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment