When in France, drive a french car. We are on far too many tiny country roads going through tiny country hamlets, and I want to know that if needed, any mechanic will recognize the vehicle. And get parts needed in a timely manner. Which means who knows how long, in France….
We need a car. We are currently renting one, which is eazy peezy and great, but impractical. When you land abroad, and you know next to nothing, my motto is: keep it simple, stupid. Rent a car.
Then buy one, used. With low kilometers, within a few years old, so that we old folks have some semblance of security as we pell mell through the landscape. Back up to Limoges we go, as irrelevant, Howard left all of his diabetes medicine in the hotel refrigerator and we needed to retrieve it, so let’s kill two birds with one trip.
We had decided on a Citroën C3 which fulfills requirements of holding 2 sets of golf clubs, 2 small overnight bags, us, and Sable. And excellent gas mileage. Excuse me, petrol. Family and friends will be happy to know that Howard no longer says gazzzzzoleeeeeeene. Those who are not family and friends should know that Howard is from Brooklyn. Words like caaaawwwfeee come out of his mouth.
As with all places we have been thus far, the dealership was immaculate, the personnel dressed smart( some kind of new British saying that I like) and immediately helpful. Long story short: First question, Do you take American Express? Oui oui Monsieur, it’s not a problem. Except that it was.
I sat idly while all negotiations were settled. I noticed a gentleman, with a great head of hair, of course, striding through the dealership. He was headed for what seemed like a conference room, and as a woman in what seemed like a janitorial position came around a corner with cleaning products and a mop in hand, he stopped and conversed with her for several minutes, smiling and interested in her, and their conversation. Just something I noted. Sometimes I think I should have been a detective.
Ok. So time to make our deposit until we pick up the car next week. NO WAY, NO HOW, do you drive off the lot in your new used car. It takes a week to get the perfectly clean vehicle ready. And, our young salesman tried to run our card as a debit. NO NO says Howard. Credit!
The problems start. We want the points. We rack up points that buy us plane tickets. It is how we got here. We have protection and recourse with American Express. We do realize that it is unusual to be taken in most places, but Oui Oui Monsieur, it’s not a problem.
In defense of my husband, he was well within a valid argument. While he did raise his voice, and stress that everything was predicated on using American Express, which he was told they took, I do not think he was out of line. His voice sent a ripple effect. Heads lifted, people slowed to listen.
Now, my husband is a mathematical genius. A 100% on his NY regions tests. He quickly calculated what the loss of points equated to in Euros, and asked for the price to be reduced, as such. Again, long story short: I am sorry Monsieur, I have bad news.
We shook hands all around, said thank you, but no thank you, gathered ourselves up, and walked out. We were gracious, Youness was gracious, and bummed. For Howard it was the principle, and tens and tens of thousands of points is a nice bonus gift.
And then: Monsieur Monsieur, please, come back in the building. Please, Please, we want you to have the car.
In the distance I saw the head of great hair. That belongs to the CEO of Citroën. Who just happened to be at this dealership, on this day, at this time. The ripple effect made its way into the conference room. We got our car. And Youness was happy, which made me even happier.
I just love a great head of hair, and I just love that the CEO took time to chat with the cleaning lady.
This is a true story.
P.S. Still wrangling with no internet, and having a hard time getting good, sharp photos. I load from my phone as medium or large because the blog can’t handle actual. Any ideas??