Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Little World Views

We're all a little wet around the edges here in the south and storm warnings through the day have caused me to postpone my trip to the American Consulate in Marseille - the next step in this passport saga. 

I received a letter yesterday from La Poste stating that they had done an exhaustive search and found...drum roll, please:  absolutely nothing.  (My words, not theirs.)  Here are their parting words after stating that their research had not 'permitted them to find my parcel':

"...Je tiens à vous assurer que pour La Poste la qualité e l'acheminement et de la distribution est une priorité.

Votre envoi est assuré, vous recevrez prochainement un chèque d'un montant de 16 euros.

Pour la prochains envois, notre réseau commercial est à votre disposition et peut déterminer avec vous la solution qui vous conviendra le mieux.

Je souhaite qu'au-delà de cet événement, vous conserviez votre confiance en La Poste.  Je vous prie d'agréer, Madame, l'assurance de ma consideration distinguée."



...I assure that for La Poste quality routing and distribution is a priority.

Your shipment is insured; you will receive a check in the amount of 16 euros.

For future shipments, our sales network is available and can help you determine the solution that suits you best.

I hope that after this event, you maintain your confidence in The Post.  Please accept, Madam, the assurances of my highest consideration.  (more literally: I pray you to agree, the assurance of my distinguished consideration.)

Sixteen euros.  Of course, my costs will be much higher.  Let's take a look:
  • Another set of 2 passport photos:  10€
  • Train fare to Marseille (round trip - twice):  30€
  • Additional cost of the new passport (because to replace a lost passport is more expensive than     a simple renewal): 25€
  • Stress in trying to deal with the various people at various levels of La Poste to "determine a     solution that suits me best"?  Priceless.
Their offer of 16€?  Pfffft.

The 'sales network' person at La Poste yesterday took one look at the letter I had just received and literally turned her head away - as if it emitted a dangerous glow and she had to avert her eyes.  She followed this with a hand motion as if sweeping me away in the direction of the door.  But when I didn't move and began to ask another question (very politely, mind you - such comportment gets you much further in these parts), she indicated there was a number listed to call for any further questions or concerns. 

Ah, yes.  A number that will probably cost 1,34€ a minute - as do many 'customer service' numbers here.

I'm nothing if not persistent so I shall continue my march for justice...and a new passport.  But I'll get that march started as soon as the skies clear.  In the meantime, I've got a phone call (or six) to make. 

And I pray them to agree, that all will be handled with my most distinguished consideration. 

But, of course.  C'est normal. 



bikim said...

lovely blog!
happy day!

Jean said...

Good grief, what a pain. I do hope you get it sorted out reasonably quickly.

If it's any consolation, things are not much better in the UK. A superficial appearance of helpfulness is not matched by the reality of endless phone calls at expensive rates, usually to overseas call centres resulting in more frustration. The bigger the organisation, the worse it is. The only differenc is being able to speak the language, except of course, you are in conversation with foreign call centre personel who may have a reasonable grasp of English but little concept of our way of life.
(Sorry about the rant.)

la Brocanteuse said...

well I have to say...even in dear Afrique du Sud- not much better....so I ditto pffft!!
thank you for popping in on my blog! have a lovely week otherwise..well, La Poste included. xo Colette

Betty C. said...

I have had a lot of problems with lost postal mail the past year, both professionally and personally. It is a royal pain.

la fourchette said...

Rosa, thank you! On both counts!

Jean, thanks for your encouraging wishes...and rant away! You're likely to find supportive listeners here. In this situation, the American Consulate seems to be acting like one of those smaller organizations: I have the direct line of someone at the Consulate. Direct line! And even better, she speaks English and French, so there's no chance of misunderstanding any steps along the way. If the rain stops, I can hop on the train and get this passport party started...I'll keep you posted.

la Brocanteuse, so sorry to hear this seems to be an international problem! All together now: "pfffft!" (You in the back...say it like you mean it!)

Betty C., indeed - 'royal pain'. Well put. This commoner is growing rather impatient with it all. I wonder if the post in France has gotten worse since they went private? And here's a sobering little tidbit: After the government, La Poste is the second biggest employer in France. We are toast, my friends.

Thanks to all for stopping in for a little catching up today!

Bonne nuit,

Emily said...

Mon Dieu! Courage chere Leslie.

Anonymous said...

Madame LER,

That postal affair would never happen in America. I assure you. We take our positions very seriously when it comes to serving the public. Not like the people in the countries ruled by the irresponsible forms of government called socialism, where no one ever takes responsibility for anything!!! I insist you return to America where you will be treated like a lady, that is, with care and respect!!!

Bubba's Person

la fourchette said...

Emily, thank you. Courage is exactly what it takes on occasion in these parts! Well, that and a good sense of humor....err...and it doesn't hurt to have a sound-proof closet for the occasional primal scream along the way.

Bubba's Person, hah! Made me...you know, LOL...'cuz I've had some little experiences with the US Postal 'service' (and I use that word loosely)that ring faintly familiar...like the time they confiscated 50€ worth of Bodhi's dog food (not to mention the 40€ of postage to send it ahead of us) due to unrecognized products. ouch! I seem to have interesting postal karma in a 'wherever you go, there you are' kind of way.


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