Thursday, January 10, 2008

CSI: Paris or "Les Experts": Paris

In early November I noticed that there was a sizable crack in the ceiling paint in the bathroom, above the shower. After a week I saw it was extending outwards and we decided we needed to take action. We stopped over to see M. Guardien and asked him to please take a look and determine whether it was a building issue or just us. He seemed to think it was stemming from a leak above and so within the week managed to see the upstairs neighbor and determine, yes it was they who had the leak and they would take care of their side of things. Ok, great, so we decided to be above board and go through our insurance, file a claim as it were and waited for their response. About a month later we received a letter indicating their receipt of the claim and then received a call indicating that an “expert” had been assigned to the case and that we needed to measure the area of damage in order for the “expert” to assess the situation. They would call back in 5 days with our answer. Ok, my cynical and skeptical feelings started to fully emerge. What kind of expert needs other people to do their work, was my first question. So we measured and when their call came through, (cell phone at our side at all times in case we missed it and had to wait another week), gave them the information. OK, they said, the “expert will contact you soon.” Fast forward, of course, through the holidays, when we received a letter indicating that now we needed to contact a certain number to arrange for the expert to call us. By this point, the crack has turned into a full peeling of paint about the size of Frisbee, just waiting to fall on my head.

I called on Thursday, the guy who answered said he’d call me right back (after me persuading him our claim existed…he couldn’t find it at first). He didn’t call me back, so I called again Friday. “Eh ouais, madame,” he said with condescension, “I placed the information and my associate will call you on Monday.” Great, How kind of him, I thought. Why work on a Friday, right? Monday the expert calls…yes, I said with hints of desperation…when can you come? We work from home, anytime. “Tuesday?” he says. I say, perfect, tomorrow is great. No, no madame, (laughing), Tuesday the following week. Apparently he is already full of appointments this week (I picture him sipping kir at the bar on his 3 hour lunch). Fine, Tuesday, and you’ll fix it then, I ask? No, no madame, this is just to test the humidity. If there is not too much humidity AND if the damage is not that big (where did he put our given measurements, I wondered), then after this, in about 2 weeks, they could come fix it. After my shrill reply and utter disillusionment, I hung up and realized, “Bienvenue en France.” I was living a true French stereotype (maybe this made me more local?) and at this point, all I can do is laugh, and await M. le “expert” on Tuesday (mid January, 2+ months later), with the small hope that maybe the large hanging paint will fall straight on his head.

1 comment:

L'oncle de Kate said...

Glad to see things are already getting back to normal...