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Can you really call it a “Point Service?”

I had one of those Paris service experiences that could make anyone pack up and head for more amiable pastures. Luckily they don’t happen very often anymore, now that I have pretty much learned how to use charm to get better service. That’s what it takes, too – charm. In this world, money does not talk…and neither does bad humor.

Maybe they were getting bad vibes as I entered the “Point Service” for Freebox to trade old equipment for new. No doubt, I was in a mad rush as the depot was closing in 15 minutes. There was no time to spare and surely there was anxiety written all over my face.

Freebox is one of the many companies that offer a 30€ a month deal on High Speed Internet with WiFi, Satellite TV with zillions of channels and VoIP phone free to over 100 countries, or something similar. All of the companies provide a great service for very little money, but all of them give the poorest technical service, too. Keeping our Internet and email going is of such utmost importance that the technical foibles by these companies are the bane of our existence. We’ve tried them all and one is as poorly run as the other.

5-12-11freebox equipmentSome of the Freebox equipment went bad, as it often does. The company will change it free of charge, but you must bring in the old equipment and make an exchange. They have “points services” all over town to make it easier to swap the equipment. This was one of those located on avenue de la République. It wasn’t all that far away and it seemed like a simple task to unplug one Freebox, take it in a bag, bring back the new Freebox and plug it in. My stupidity.

There were two young men behind the counter who seemed pleasant enough. I offered up all the documents and the equipment. Yes, they said, my new equipment was there waiting for me, but I was supposed to have boxed up the old equipment.

Ok, I didn’t realize that, so I asked, “Can’t we switch the box from the new equipment to the old equipment?” (That hadn’t dawned on them as a possible solution.)

“Well yes, but it’s supposed to be taped.”

So again, looking for solutions, I asked, “Do you have any tape I can use?”

“Yes, but not enough for you to use. We have very little and need it to last the rest of the day.” (I swear this is true.)

They suggested going to the Franprix (supermarket) down the street. Quickly, I fled the office and raced there only to find the store out of tape. With ten minutes to spare, I canvassed every shop within a three-block radius and found no tape to be had anywhere of any kind.

No time left meant returning to the “Point Service” and begging them to let me use their tape.

That did no good whatsoever. These two guys were not about to let loose of their precious cellophane for this middle-aged American woman with the bad French accent. Forget it.

That’s when I lost it.

My broken French turned into English and then the English turned into obscenities. It went from bad to worse. Before storming out with the old equipment in hand, I had the final two words — which you would deem unbecoming to a lady…but I said them…and it felt good, too!

Two days later a member of my staff took the equipment back to the “Point Service” on my behalf – this time boxed. She carried a large roll of packaging tape so that she could tape it before their very eyes. (We wondered if they would check the contents to make sure all the parts were there.) When she handed it over untaped, what do you think they said?

“Oh, no problem. We have tape.” (I swear this is true.)

A la prochaine…

adrian charlot_4-12-11Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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manda djinnP.S.  We mourn and celebrate the life of American in Paris, friend and talented singer and performer Manda Djinn who passed away Saturday, November 26th due to complications following a long-battled breast cancer. We are told her death was quick, unexpected and she did not suffer. For those who wish to send condolences or make a donation, contact Manda’s husband, Raphael Loison at Raphael Loison 

 P.P.S.  Mark your calendar for December 13th when Interior Architect and Designer Martine di Mattéo talks about “How to Create the French Shabby Chic Style” at Parler Paris Après Midi. Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.

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