Buying furniture in France, or why I miss dad’s big blue truck

We had to buy a new sommier (box spring) today because our old one was held up with books. Thank you Harry Potter for not letting our mattress fall to the ground. I’m still amazed at how cheaply-made beds are in France. Thin wood held together with staples, what a genius idea. That wood will never snap in the middle of the night and scare the bejeezus out of someone who was finally catching up on sleep.

Since we know absolutely no one with a truck or van, we had to find a store that delivers furniture for barely anything since a) we were only going to spend 100 € on the sommier, and b) we’re poor. Ikea and Conforama charged a bit too much for delivery, plus we’re too impatient to wait for things to be in stock, and Darty only sells appliances (but they do have free delivery!)

We settled on Carrefour because it was really our only option. We found a sommier we could afford, but of course, could not find a single worker to help us. After trips to the accueil and the mafia-looking security men at the entrance, we discovered that Carrefour doesn’t deliver anyway, but you can borrow one of their trucks and do the work yourself for free (up to one hour). They just need a copy of your driver’s license and a deposit check for 153 €.

So we filled out the paperwork to borrow the truck first and then went back in the store to try to buy the sommier. After a 5 minute chat with one of David’s friends (because there will always be someone you know at Carrefour on a Saturday morning), the worker who had disappeared for 25 minutes when we first arrived had magically reappeared. We paid for the sommier and mafia man escorted us outside, lighting his cigarette as soon as he stepped out of the door. I think we made his day by giving him a legitimate excuse to go outside and smoke. He even gave us extra time so we could stop by the déchetterie to drop off our broken sommier on the way back without going over the one hour limit.

The truck was parked at the other end of the parking lot. Logical, I know. First of all, it wasn’t really a truck, but the dirtiest minivan I had ever seen. Boxes and styrofoam and plastic wrap were all over the place, and there were what appeared to be holes punched into the interior wood walls. I can’t even describe it properly, so here’s a picture I snapped as soon as we took off:

We arrived home at noon, drug the new sommier upstairs, and were about to take the old sommier downstairs when we realized the stupid déchetterie is closed between noon and 2pm. Of course. 99% of places are closed between noon and two in France, including a freaking garbage/recycling center!!

So I set up the sommier, with the help of Canaille, while David took the “truck” back to Carrefour. Though Canaille really just wanted to eat the cardboard…

And generally get in the way….

So now we’re left with an ugly broken sommier in the hallway. It will most likely stay there until the first Wednesday of March, when our town lets everyone put out their old furniture by the road so that the city will take it away to the déchetterie. We just missed February’s pick up date, which was 3 days ago. ::sigh::

I had just gotten my hallway back – we had our dishwasher sitting there for like 2 months because we had no way of transporting it to David’s parents’ garage. So we just moved it back into the loggia (small pantry-like room), where we can’t use it because there’s only one water hookup (for the washing machine), about 2 days ago. ::double sigh::

So I guess the moral of the story is to become friends with a Frenchie who owns a truck.

Jealousy times ten thousand

What I am missing in Michigan: My parents’ driveway after 6 inches (15 cm) of snow fell. My beloved car buried under 14 inches (35.5 cm) of snow. Brandy attacking the huge snow pile. That is what winter should be like…. ::sigh::

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Super Duper Tuesday

I had my students vote in a fake primary today. The ballots were just as entertaining as the class. Can you understand the pictures next to the names? I think it’s hilarious. Barack Obama and John McCain were the winners, although no one had heard of any of the Republican candidates and I did get […]

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What do groundhogs and crêpes have in common?

February 2 is Groundhog Day (le jour de la marmotte) in North America; but here in France, it’s la Chandeleur (le jour des crêpes). I forgot to mention that my interview is now up at Expat Interviews. Oh, and the president got married today. Apparently Sarko & Carla only met in November?? That was quick.

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Annecy in winter I tried to pick up my new carte de séjour today. Except the people in Paris had made a mistake and sent an exact copy of the card I already have – visiteur that expires at the end of March. It’s supposed to be travailleur temporaire that expires in May. ::sigh:: By […]

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Observations & Questions

I’m still amazed that students cannot figure out that the American word vacation mean vacances. I know they’ve always been taught the British word holiday, but I thought they’d be able to understand it in context… Apparently I was wrong. What is another way of saying “What else?” All of my students are getting into […]

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What I do

I realized I hadn’t posted about the assistantship in a long time, so here’s a summary of what I’ve been doing at work lately: On Tuesdays, I have all secondes (10th grade), so I try to focus on vocabulary and pronunciation. We’ve done geography of the US, describing people, and American high schools in the […]

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Waiting and planning and waiting

We may be staying in Annecy a little while longer than planned. I had my heart set on Lyon if we were to stay in France since finding a job there would be easier, but we don’t really have a choice. I’m a little sad about not being able to move to Quebec sooner, but […]

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Day 3 of driving in France

I love my little car because it’s so little. I’m going to build up some muscles because there’s no power steering and it’s hard to turn that wheel to get out of a parking space. There’s no radio either, but I honestly don’t mind that. Driving isn’t too stressful since I learned all the road […]

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I bought something today.

AN AUTOMATIC CAR!!! It’s a Renault Super 5 with only 70,000 KM on it. It’s an ’86, but it’s in great condition and oh so clean! We had to go to Chalon-sur-Saône (200 km north of here) to buy it, but it was so worth it!!! I didn’t mention finding this car online before because […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


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