– Friend or Foe?

I’ve been spending most of my days with brick-and-mortar shopping.  I’ll wager I’ve done more shopping in stores in the last four weeks than I’ve done in the last four years.  However, I’ve done a fair amount of online shopping, as well.  I’m starting to feel rather savvy as I completed a click & collect purchase at Darty for our juicer, I placed a large order with an interior decorator for some rugs (this required me to pay for two immediately and put a hold on two more to arrive in June [bonus – they arrived the next week!]), and placed some online orders from

Now, you’re probably thinking isn’t that impressive, but I’m here to tell you it’s a pretty complicated process to order online in France.  Things are never left in your apartment building.  Someone ALWAYS has to sign for packages.  I’m finding Americans are really quite laissez-faire about a lot of security and such.  Anyway, you place your order and the package gets fulfilled through a number of carriers, which will give you a window of when they’ll come that is similar to Comcast cable (it’ll arrive between 8am and 6pm).  If you are not around, they will try again the next day.  If you are still not around, they will open up the door to your apartment and leave a notification in your mailbox.  They will NOT leave the package in the corridor/vestibule, they will deliver it to a temporary location then the next day a permanent location before it’s sent back to Amazon.  So far I have encountered three different options:  (1) I’m at home, courier buzzes me, package received, (2) I am not home on day 1 or day 2, package is left at a Post Zone for me to pick up, (3) I am not home day 1 or day 2, package is left at a women’s boutique clothing store for me to pick up.  Luckily, both locations are within two blocks of our apartment.  While at first I thought this was inconvenient, I’m now starting to think it’s actually quite nice.

When I went to pick up my package at the post, the gentleman behind the counter was incredibly friendly and gave me another pro-tip:  I can mail and purchase stamps at that post, saving myself two trips everywhere else.  Once he saw my passport he said everything in English (which is very nice), but I kept responding in French, which he found quite amusing.  I thanked him and he said, “Goodbye” and I responded with the standard French exit, “Merci.  Au Revoir.  Bonne journée.”  (you really drag out the end in a sing-songy way) He chuckled to himself and smiled really big and replied, “Bonne journée!

There was a woman working at the women’s clothing boutique (which had some nice [but pricey] things in it), who was equally friendly.  I showed her the UPS slip, she asked for my identification (in French) and smiled when I understood her and produced my passport.  She then asked about how many packages, and if it was large or small.  I replied, “Grand,” and she chuckled so I said, “était -ce exact” and she chuckled and replied, “Gron.”  My pronunciation really needs help.

I have to say, in just a month, my French (even minimal with shopkeepers) has gotten much better.  I’m excited to start taking a class, though.  I need it!

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