Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Customer Service at it's Best?

On Saturday I went to pick up a bracelet that I had dropped off at Skalli in the Marais several weeks prior to be prepared. For those of you that don't know, Skalli is a really cute jewlery boutique with colorful and moderately priced pieces. I would have picked it up several days earlier but that idea was foiled when the salesperson quoted me a false closing time of 9PM instead of 7PM but I just chalked that up to my less than perfect French. I pick up my bracelet and the sales woman tells me that instead of repairing my previous bracelet they just replaced it with a brand new one free of charge.

After the bracelet pick up I decided to have a coffee at a café in the Marais. As I'm sitting there enjoying my coffee I decided to take out my bracelet to have another look. To my horror I realized that my gold bracelet was actually replaced with a silver one. I headed back over to the boutique but it was closed for lunch. When the boutique finally opened I told the woman of the mistake and her response was "well that's the one that they sent back, there's nothing I can do." My retort was to show her my earrings and explain how they just don't match a silver bracelet and that I'd rather have my broken gold bracelet instead of a silver one.

She finally tells me that she'll see what she can go and as she's looking to see if they still have that specific bracelet in stock she makes sure to tell me that she's "doing me a very big favor." Instead of going with my gut reaction and wanting to tell her off I decided to stick with my original defense. I reiterated that the new bracelet just didn't match my earrings while cursing her under my breath. She pulls a closed box out of the closet, opens it up and finds my actual bracelet in gold. Wanting to take one last stab at me as she packages my bracelet the saleswoman says, "you're lucky because this is probably the last bracelet in all of Paris." Little does she know that on Saturday she was the lucky one because I was on my best behavior.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In Vannes (Part 1)

1. Elevator buttons double as calculators.

2. They have huge stones aligned for miles in the neighboring commune of Carnac.

3. They use sheep to graze the area and I caught a picture of this little guy (he should probably be fired or retrained because I'm pretty sure that's not grass he's munching on).

4. There are some beautiful beaches.

5. ...and beautiful sunsets.

6. Every man (and some women) over the age of 50 can play the accordion.

...stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Going to the Country

Just a quick note to say that I'm heading to Vannes in Brittany for the weekend. As pathetic as it may sound this is my first weekend trip in France outside of Paris. Yes, I am currently hanging my head in shame but not for long because I have a train to catch.

I'll post some photos when I get back.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Discovery in Real Paris

I love my neighborhood, which is, technically speaking the Quartier Saint-Marguerite (east of Bastille, south of rue de Charonne, north or Nation). However, I generally have a broader sense of my "neighborhood" when talking to friends. I usually try to claim anything north of the Seine and east of the Marais as "mine". I would throw in Montmartre if I could but that would definitely be a stretch. I affectionately refer to this area as Real Paris because it's generally where the working class folks tend to live except for the pockets of Bobos dispersed throughout.

Because I live in Real Paris I sometimes feel a need to defend the area and to be a strong and vocal advocat of all the wonderful things it has to offer (Marchés Aligre and Bastille, Bastille Opera, Canal Saint Martin, Parc des Buttes Charmont, Promenade Plantee, Père Lachaise Cemetery, etc.). Thanks to a friend who is way cooler than I am or can ever imagine being I've got a new endroit in my arsenal.

The place Mama Shelter, a budget hotel designed by Philip Starck. Instantly upon entering the hotel I no longer felt like I was in Paris. I felt like I was transplanted back to the one trendy, hip, design bars of NYC. To top it all off they make excellent cocktails with a proper ice to cocktail ratio which is generally hard to find in Paris.

So if you find yourself in Real Paris and you're looking to quench your thirst and you don't mind being around hipster types it's definitely worth checking out.

Mama Shelter
109 rue de Bagnolet