Does It Count As Stealing If They Don't Let You Pay?

Sometimes, French government worker's mind-numbing incapacity to do anything that isn't specifically written out in their job description, can be a nightmare. But sometimes, the extreme lack of competence works out in your favor.

Let's back this story up. First of all, yesterday was Mother's Day in France. It was lovely and Monsieur Right got me flowers, even though I'm definitely not a mom. He just knows I like flowers. Smart man.

Anyways, I sent my mom a mother's day package about a week ago. I went into a post office downtown to pick up the fixed-rate shipping box. I explained at the desk that I'd never sent a package from France and that I had no idea how their system worked. The nice lady working there told me that I could just take the box I wanted, fill it up with stuff at home, and then pay for it when I wanted to ship out my Momma's Day package.

Sounded good to me, so I left with the box. Logical, right?

Fast forward a few days. My box is sealed up all ready to go, and I head off to a different post office, a bit closer to home, to mail it. The mail worker takes my package and plops it right into the send bin.

I look a little surprised, thinking - don't they need to put postage on that or something?

Mail Lady: Oh! Did you get that box from here? Do you still need to pay for it?

Me: No, I got it from a different post office. But I still need to pay for it.

Mail Lady: Well, if you didn't get it from this post office, then you've already payed.

Me: Oh no! She told me I could take the box, and then pay you when I dropped it off.

Mail Lady: Pfft!! (French noise of distaste) - It's not my job to take your money. That was her job.

Me: Uh... Well can I pay some one for it now?

Mail Lady (who is getting more and more aggraveted): No! That's the other mail worker's problem not mine. It will just be her office that comes up short in the box count.

She then refused to take my money and sent the package anyway. Way to be organized  French National Post. I think your employees may be lacking a little "team spirit."

I think there are things I just might never understand in this country. But, hey, if I get free stuff out of it, I'm not complaining. :) Happy Late French Mother's Day!!!!


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