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Pourquoi Faire Simple Quand On Peut Faire Compliqué!

May 9th, 2011 · 10 Comments

Part Two:

Honestly, when I wrote Part One I didn’t think it was going to take this long to write the second half of my story and you would think that three months later, I wouldn’t have anything to write about!  Afterall, five months is long enough to get things straightened out, right?  Well no, welcome to France!

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Let me start at the beginning.  Back in December I got a job with an American company that I’m not at liberty to talk about (it’s in my contract) but everyone would know who I’m talking about if I did.  I’m paid as a Freelance worker and they wire money to my bank here in Paris.  No, I’m not going to say anything bad about the company, just the opposite, I get paid very well (double normal wages) I set my own hours, no one looks over my shoulders and I can work at home.  What more can I ask for, right?


My bank is the BNP and I have no complaints there either, except that when you’re wired money from the States they take out a big chunk.  So, like any normal person, I went shopping around for another bank that charged less.  The Banque Postale was the cheapest, taking only 20 euros (almost $30) of my hard earned pay just to receive my money into their bank, so Patrick and I opened up a second account with them.

La Banque Postale

So far, so good.  The guy was nice and everything went smoothly.  This was suppose to be mainly my account where the money that I was making was wired from the States into this account.  We signed papers, deposited some money into our account, left and waited for our debit cards, check books, etc. to arrive.  Around 3 or 4 days later, Patrick came into the apartment carrying several envelopes:

“Hey, we got our stuff from the Banque Postale.”

“Great!  That was fast for France.”

Patrick opened up the first envelope.  “Look, I got my debit card.” he said, turning the card around in his hand. “It’s really nice.”

“Where’s mine?”  I wanted to see my own, not his.

Patrick began looking at the other envelopes.  “Hmm, they’re all addressed to me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Yours’ll probably come in the mail tomorrow.” Patrick said, ever the optimist opening up the letters. All of them were welcoming him to La Banque Postale.  “Wait!”  He handed me an envelope, “Here’s one for you.

Debit Card

I opened it expecting to see my debit card, but instead it was a letter saying that I was refused a card because I didn’t have a pay stub that showed where I was working.  The letter had the name and phone number of a Ms. Royer who told me if I had any questions, to give her a call.


I called her all right!  I picked up the phone right then and there and dialed.  “I want to speak to Mme. Royer.” I said.  But of course, Mme. Royer was busy so the person who answered the phone took my number so she could throw it away, ah, so she could  call me back.  Like that was going to happen!  Believe me, I didn’t hold my breath!

She didn’t call me that afternoon, so the next day I called again, this time she was in a meeting all day.  The following day I called again and was told that this wasn’t Mme. Royer’s number.

“What do you mean?  I received a letter from her telling me that if I had any quesstions or concerns, not to hesitate to call her.”

“No, I’m sorry this is not Mme. Royer’s department.”

“Okaayy.”  I just knew this was not going to go my way.

“Maybe I can help you, what did you want to talk to Mme. Royer about?” a nice young man asked.

“I wanted to know why I’m not authorized to have a debit card or a check book in my name, afterall the money that is going into this account at your bank is money that I am being paid for for working.”

“Uh, maybe there’s not enough money in your account.”

“No, there’s several thousand euros in there.”

He took my information and looked up my account.

Check Book

“Well, I see there’s a checkbook and a debit card made out to your husband.”

“That’s the whole point, why am I not entitled to have the same when it’s my money that is going into that account.”

“Because you haven’t given us a pay stub from your employer.”

“I’m an independent worker.  I don’t get paid stubs.”

“Well, then your husband is the only one who is entitled to have a card and ……”

“Ahh, wait a minute!” I interrupted.  “Wait a minute!  What country are we in?”

“Excuse me?” he asked confused.

“I said, what country are we in?”

“I don’t understand.”

“I want you to tell me what country we’re in.”  My Latin temper was going up a few degrees.

“Ah, …..Fr-France.”

“Okay!”  I said.  “For a minute there I thought maybe I woke up and found myself in some Arab country!  So you mean to tell me that I’m working and getting that money sent to me for work that I do and you’re gladly receiving that money, but I’m not entitled to it, only my husband is?”

“Uh, maybe you should come in and talk to the manager to straighten this out.”

“I will!  Thank you very much.”

La Banque Postale

Maya Muses:  That was 5 months ago and after several meeting with the manager who doesn’t even know how to work his computer and is a shoe-in intellectually for Stan Laurel (for the younger generation, Google “Laurel and Hardy“) do I have a debit card or a check book in my name?  Of course not!!!  Were in France!!!

My solution:  When the money comes in, I take it out and put it in the BNP where I do have a debit card and a check book!  All I can say is – it’s their loss!

Tags: Paris - Paname · Pourquoi Faire Simple Quand On Peut Faire Compliqué

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Harriet // May 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I’ll bet your blood pressure was sky high when you were talking to that young man….mine would have been.

    I found out about those fees that French banks charge (take out of a deposit) when I had some money wired to a Paris bank account last year for the French language school that I attended. I was none too pleased because I then had to pay that amount – again- to the school.

    From my recent experience with a well-known US bank, I think we are going to start seeing fees for every thing under the sun. I was charged a maintenance fee on one account because I had not used a debit card! Needless to say, I closed that account.

    But at least it is still relatively easy in the US for anyone, male or female, to open an account.

  • 2 Harriet // May 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Was your conversation in French? I’m glad that you are fluent in the language.

  • 3 Virginia // May 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Oh I’ve wished for years that I could ditch all this and move to Paris. I’m couldn’t… no I’m SURE I’d never make it, as my French is awful, and ….I don’t have the euros. I feel you pain but remember, you’re living in a city all of us long for. I love your blog. Harriet sent me. :)


  • 4 jeanpierre // May 10, 2011 at 8:52 am

    C’est balaud!
    It’s the cheapest…..
    THE worst!
    Courage, la route est droite,
    mais la pente est forte, parfois! En France!

  • 5 Lynn // May 11, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Hi Harriet, now that the apartment’s finished I could finally get to the 2nd part! I was also hoping that maybe I didn’t need to write it, but that was just wishful thinking!

    Yes, the conversation was in French. If I was going to have any ghost of a chance of getting things settled in my favor, it had to be in French!

  • 6 Lynn // May 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Thanks Virginia! I popped on over to your blog and your photos are absolutely beautiful! You capture the essence of Paris so well through your lens!

    I do complain, but I love Paris! It was love at first sight when I first came 40 years ago and it’s still that way. The only difference now is that we sometimes bicker like an old married couple! LOL!

  • 7 Lynn // May 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Je pense que le pire est derrière nous, au moins j’espère! Pas contre, j’en suis pas sur, car aujourd’hui on attendait la livraison de notre cuisinière et le micro-onde d’ Auchan et devine??? Ils ont oublie la cuisinière!!! Sans blague!!!

    A dimanche!

  • 8 Lynn // May 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Harriet and Virginia, I’m sure you’ll like this!

    I was just telling Jean-Pierre that I was hoping that the worst is over, but that I wasn’t too sure! Today we were expecting to have our new stove and microwave delivered from a large chain store company and guess what? They brought the microwave and forgot to bring the stove! Two husky guys came carry a microwave! No kidding! This should be part three of Pourquoi Faire Simple Quand On Peut Faire Compliqué!!!!

  • 9 Pam // May 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    It’s crazy! Must be all that wine they’re drinking!!!

  • 10 Lynn // May 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Hey Pam, I didn’t think about that, but now that you mention it, that could very well explain why they don’t seem to be playing with a full deck of cards, if you know what I mean!

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