Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nous ne sommes pas des poires!

We have had quite an interesting week. It began with an email from the seller's son, Pierre, saying that while his father was away on holiday, he had been given responsibility to sell Petit Clos house furniture and he was writing to ask us if we would like to purchase some of it. "It" being items that had previously been agreed to be included with the sale of the house. We were baffled and wrote to our agent immediately to ask her what this was all about. She in turn emailed Pierre and told him that it was our understanding that these items were to be included with the house to which he responded, that he was "very sorry if there was a misunderstanding on our part, but perhaps the deception could be offset by the fact that he is selling these pieces for well below their market value."

Hmm, we wondered. Could we possibly have misunderstood? Hank and I are are like that. We will doubt ourselves at first before fighting back and yet, this just felt wrong. The seller had said from the beginning that he wished to leave most of the contents of the house as he only planned to keep a few things. We readily agreed as long as it was not his intention to just leave all of the junk. An inventory sheet was generated, checked off and signed just weeks prior. Furthermore, I couldn't help but think of all of the beautiful bedding my mom had just made. Was he now telling me that those duvets were not going to have homes on those gorgeous antique bed sets?

We emailed our friends Andrew and Arlette, wondering what would they do in this situation. Arlette is a little french firecracker and perhaps we could ask her to speak to Pierre on our behalf. She responded right away and told us to hold our ground. After 20 years of living in the U.S., she said that she had forgotten how us "frenchies deal with things." She said that there was a fine line between being nice and understanding and being "une poire" which literally means "a pear" but also meant being weak and therefore open to being taken advantage of. She said that you've got to have balls and that you will be respected more by the French if you do. I didn't need any more encouragment. I wrote back to Rosalind,

"There has been no misunderstanding....." and went on to reference our signed inventory from the seller. Furthermore, I asked, "what was the point of the list then? what were his plans for everything else? was he planning on selling all of the treasures and just leaving us the junk? Also, where was the integrity of the man that we had been assured of in the notaire's office all those months ago?"

We went to bed a bit discouraged but happy that we had not reacted like weak little "pears" (nous ne sommes pas des poires) and woke up to a response from Rosalind that said that she has spoken to the father who said that he had no idea why his son did this and told us to just ignore him. Thank God. I was so happy to confirm that he was indeed a man of his word.

So even though we will not be 100% sure that everything will be left as agreed until we do the walk through with Pops next month, at least the son has kindly given us what he described as an "under market" value of $5000 euros for some of the items that he can reimburse us for should he defy his father and proceed in selling our furniture anyway.

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