Wednesday, March 25, 2009
We are firm advocates of buying online. Even before changes in the exchange rates meant that buying British with euros was A Good Idea, we bought nearly everything, other than the weekly shop, from countries other than La Belle France.
Not only are things generally vastly cheaper, even allowing for shipping charges (and this has proved to be the case even for huge items such as a replacement engine for the Land Rover and an enormous trampoline for the children), but should something go wrong, you can - shock, horror, ooh - call Customer Service and someone will actually attempt to resolve the problem.
Note to French readers - yes, in other countries this Does Actually Happen!
And as we get almost daily parcel deliveries, we now know the delivery driver well. So well in fact that we have exchanged mobile numbers in case of our absence. Last week he gave me a guided tour of the contents of his van which included a large canister of frozen stallion sperm. This was really pissing him off as it kept falling over as he went round corners.
Last week we went to buy the OH some new trainers. Having selected the pair of choice in a well known French sports superstore (price 130€), we returned home where he discovered that the RRP in the UK was 90 pounds and that they could be purchased on Ebay (UK needless to say) for 70 pounds including P&P. Enough said.
One day, the French may get their heads round Le Service Apres Vente and stop charging ridiculously uncompetitive prices. Until then, my advice is always to check out online prices, especially for branded goods and see if you can't buy cheaper abroad.
Buying small items has been trickier up until now but there are increasing numbers of companies who offer great ranges of products and whose delivery charges are incredibly reasonable, if not free.
My latest 'find' is www.chemistdirect.co.uk. Their branded toothpaste is cheaper than the French supermarkets own brands. Again, enough said. And having ordered enough anti-inflammatories, pain killers and mouthwash to sustain an entire village, it will be some months before I have to make another time consuming and expensive trip to la pharmacie.
Plus, I won't have to run the gauntlet of Madame la Pharmaciste, who always insists on an Stasi type interrogation before she will sell me so much as a packet of paracetamol.
This is just as well, as husband having received new trainers and started to think about getting fit, has managed to 'do something' to his knee. At present he is hobbling around the house looking like he should be signing up for a SAGA holiday. Personally I think it is just an excuse to avoid going running, but I am not worried, safe in the knowledge that I can always put said trainers on Ebay.fr and make a tidy profit.