Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heard the news?

Well, it's official!!! The honeymoon is OVER, folks! Yep, you got it. I was sure it would take longer than two weeks. I was betting on two to three months, but I guess I have a shorter fuse than I did even ten years ago. I guess I'm spoiled by good (or even mediocre) customer service. I guess I have become gut rotten about having SOME kind of control. That's the only explanation for my new, sudden and familiar HATRED for this fucking (pardon my French) country.

Okay, many of you are going to read the following and think, "Man, she really is a little spoiled after all." And I won't blame you for thinking so. But imagine yourself in my position: Stuck in a hotel where my children's every movement echoes down the hallway. Where the staff are snide and sneery and whispery as I walk through the lobby carrying one kid, pushing another and yelling at the third to keep up or stop. If you were in my position, having lived in a hotel for four weeks now (if you count the two weeks we lived in one in the States), you might be more apt to understand my reaction. If you just so badly wanted to move into your apartment (which is easily FOUR TIMES the size of your hotel suite) so that your kids could move around and breath a little bit... If you just wanted to be able to have a phone, TV and internet (not even worrying that you didn't have a fridge yet, cuz, DUDE, peanut butter and jelly can hang out without getting spoiled)... If you were in this position, you might sympathize.

So, here's what happened. Most of you know that the cable guy was supposed to be here between noon and two. NOT RIGHT AT NOON, have you, but BETWEEN NOON AND TWO, right? Well, at 11:50, Sam walked out of the hotel to walk the five minutes to the apartment to wait for the cable guy. He says, "I'll call you from there when everything is hooked up," because the phone is supposed to be included. About ten minutes later, the phone rings. "Wow," I think, "that's some FAST service." But it's not Sam. It's the cable guy. He says he's in front of the building. I say, "Well, my husband should be there."

"No, there's no one here."
"Well, he's coming from the hotel just down the street. If he's not there, he'll be there in less than five minutes."
"I have other appointments to go to, you know?"
I think, blah blah blah, YOU were the one who set the TWO HOUR appointment range! But then, I realize that Sam may be in the apartment and that the only way to reach him will be through the sonnerie in the building's lobby. And you need a code to get IN to the lobby. So, I say, "Oooooh, maybe he's in there. But you'll have to contact him through the sonnerie... though I'm not sure his name is on it yet... but the code to the lobby is, blah blah blah."

He tries it. It doesn't work. "Are you SURE that's the code?"
"Well, it's the one he TOLD me was the code."
"Madame, I have other appointments. If he's not here in the next five to ten minutes I have to go."
"I understand, but will you call me before you leave?"
"I'm calling you now. Do you want to make a new appointment?"
"No, he'll be there."
Blah blah blah... Him talking fast and me not understanding.
I say, "Merci." And he says, "Au revoir."

I'm freaking. We don't have cell phones yet cuz you need a copy of the lease and we don't have that yet (don't ask ME WHY!!!!!!). There's no way for me to get in touch with him except for to go there. So, I grab my set of keys, the hotel key, I wake up the baby, dress the kids and am right in the middle of it all when the phone rings again. Relief spreads over me, but I'm annoyed that I've had to wake the baby.

"Oui? Allo?"
"Yeah, this is the operator for Numericable. Our technician just called to say that he's in front of your building but your husband is not."
"Yes, that's right. I'm on my way there."
"Well, he's been waiting in front of the building for 20 minutes and..."
"No he hasn't, he just called me five minutes ago. I'm getting my kids dressed so I can go there... blah blah blah... *insert explanation about the sonnerie*..."
"Well, hold on a minute," she says....
When she comes back on the line, she tells me that he's going to give me ten minutes.

I threw the baby into the AWESOME BUCKLE TAI from TWOMOMMASDESIGNS.COM, made Ryan put Lily in the stroller and we raced for the elevator. We ran the four blocks to the apartment building IN MY FLIP FLOPS, my greasy short hair flopping in the breeze, Ryan almost getting hit by a car crossing the street. We round the corner expecting to see the cable guy there, but who do we find?


He's been waiting there for half an hour!!! The cable guy got the wrong address. Well, I'm THERE by then, so I figure I'll go up into the apartment and let Sam go take care of things. He comes up to get the hotel key, runs back to the hotel, does whatever and is gone for another half hour. I sit on the floor and feed the crying baby her fruit--which she DOESN'T WANT--while the other two kids run crazy through the apartment. At the very least, they got to get out and run some energy out, right?

Well, when he comes back, I can tell by his face that it's bad news.

"Next Tuesday."
"WHAT!!!!!" I know I sounded like a dragonlady.
"That's the soonest they can come."
"But it was THEIR FAULT!!! They had the wrong address!!!"
He shrugs.
I feel the old familiar feeling boiling down in my gut... Rising up through my belly... stopping at my throat like bile. No. Hold your tongue, Joelie. It's not his fault. But this is how he was before. He just throws his hands up. Just like that. No real fight. Then, he nails it on home by saying. "That's the way it is here."

I don't have polite words to express my anger. My frustration. Not just with this gods forsaken place but for the... No... I can't.

What upsets me the most is that he really did sort of TRY to fix things. He called and said, "it's YOUR fault" and even asked to speak to her supervisor--which she said no to (!!!!!!! I mean, HOW is that legal? How can you do business like that? REFUSING TO LET US TALK TO A SUPERVISOR????). Then, when he threatened to call another company, she said, "Go ahead." And she did that because she KNOWS there IS no other cable company. The only other option is to go through the phone line and you all know the difference between DSL and cable internet, right? AND who's to say that the appointment time would be faster, right? It took us a WEEK to wait for THIS appointment. Going somewhere else might mean waiting until Thursday or Friday of next week!!!

See? Me, I, at that point, would have INSISTED to speak to her supervisor. And then, when Sam asked if she could call the technician, she said she couldn't which is TOTAL BULLSHIT because she did it while she was on the phone with me!!! She just didn't want to do it because she's a BITCH!!! Do people not believe in representing their company here? I mean, do the company managers not CARE how these people are ruining their image? Or are the French so complacent that they have all gotten used to shrugging their shoulders? Yep. That's the one! And I thought my Frenchman had changed. But maybe the food, the air, the sounds and smells have projected him straight back into the habits and behaviors he had before.

The thing that is MOST frustrating is that if it were ME, I would call them straight back and insist to speak to someone... Going up the ladder until I reached the damn OWNER of the company if need be. That's the freakin' American way, right? But the thing I'm kidding myself about is that I HAVE NO RIGHTS HERE!!! I have NO CONTROL over anything. That is what I completely forgot about this freakin' place! That's what I hated about living here. You can't get ANYTHING done here on your own. You have to coax and lick ass to get ANYONE to do ANYTHING to help you. Nobody does ANYTHING just because it's the right or considerate way to do things. Nope. Maybe they are each and all SO devoid of any personal power that the moment they get ANY kind of power, they go as far as they can to exercise it... but in the NEGATIVE way!!!

*smoke rising out ears*

So, there was nothing else to do but go back to the hotel and cry myself to sleep. And that's where we are right now.


Catherine said...

Is it French internet companies sometimes take as long as a month to activate your access. It usually takes numerous phone calls and insisting tones. I know - very frustrating! If feel so bad for you. I know exactly what you are dealing with. "Le petit pouvoir" used to drive me crazy. And I'm French!

Joelie said...

Catherine... I can't even TELL you how much I wanna hug you!!! Sam has been making me feel like I'm being grouchy and American (and I know, I know, I AM... but a MINIMUM of courtesy and respect, eh?). It's so nice to hear from a Frenchwoman that my feelings are valid!!!