Fresh from my inability (almost) to spend a lot of money in our local garden centre last Friday, I had another run in with French Customer Service (oxymoron ???) on Monday. I had been meaning to make the call to my mortgage bank for some weeks but had not really got around to it and I wasn’t in a particularly good mood so they’d better beware.
I’d discovered my pristine white, expensive Quicksilver jeans were not so pristine, or so white. They were covered in grass stains and before you get any ideas, it was all quite innocent despite the fact that it was my neighbour’s wife who was involved and not my own!
Apparently, and I have had to solicit independent advice on this, when I was being ‘escorted’ back to my house following yet another of Tan’s 12-hour BBQs (actually Aydin’s 1st birthday party), I decided to fall into the lavender bushes which line the stairs. It seems that I was being ‘escorted’ or helped as Angie put it, by both Angie and one of the friends of her nephew, when I was suddenly grabbed round the ankles by this wicked lavender and ended up rolling around getting all green but smelling wonderful. It seems that on my way down, the lavender also grabbed Angie but she escaped the green stains by landing on top of me!
Now, I have to say, I remember nothing of this but the evidence of some ‘rolling around’ was there for all to see on my jeans. A can of stain remover later I’m still trying to get the marks out so it was with some degree of anticipation that I phoned my bank. After all, every call out here to a ‘service’ department is a hoot in a sort of masochistic way.
Amazingly, I hadn’t actually spoken to my mortgage bank for some 6 or 7 years. They used to be Abbey National France but had sold out to Bank Paribas. I feared the worst, after all, the Abbey had been staffed by English people and understood us in more ways than one.
But, I was a bit surprised when a girl called Tiffany answered my call and spoke perfect English.
‘Hi – I’d like to confirm the outstanding amount of my mortgage please.’
After several ‘security related’ questions …..
Tiffany – ‘what do you mean ‘confirm?’
‘Well I think I know how much it is but I’d like you to confirm it.’
Tiffany – ‘you can’t possibly know how much it is – it’s a very complex equation.’
‘Well yes I know it’s complex but I’m quite numerate so I think I know how much it is.’
Tiffany – ‘you can’t know – we calculate the interest daily.’
‘Listen Tiffany – I’ve designed spreadsheets which would make your eyes water so just give me the number.’
Tiffany – ‘what date would you like me to calculate the outstanding balance?’
Tiffany – ‘well the outstanding balance on the 5th September would be xxxxxx.’
‘Nope – I said August.’
Tiffany – ‘the outstanding balance on the 24th August would be xxxxxxx.’
‘Would you be surprised to know that I’m only €50 out Tiffany?’
Tiffany – ‘I told you you couldn’t do it.’
End of call!
By the way, the picture is of Aydin’s birthday cake. The left ear is missing because Aydin’s sister, Violet, said that I had picked a toe off of her birthday cake last year and she was doing a ‘Thomas’ !!