OK, the above is a little tongue-in-cheek - I'm not necessarily the nicest person around, but I do have certain standards.
But I have spent the past few days boiling up inside & it has nothing to do with the weather.
The thing which makes me mad is dishonesty. I know it exists all over the world but somehow I've come to feel that those of us with the desire & wit to move here & start a new life are able to because we have honesty, both to ourselves & our neighbours. Sure, we have different interpretations of what honesty is but generally, in our own communities, we can relax & not always lock the car.
I recently posted on a local site a tip for people who have mower problems in the Spring - basically that a battery will die over the winter but will come to life briefly if charged only to die again when you think it is now OK. My advice was to check your battery before taking your mower in for repair, because "most [motocultures] are very busy & cannot promise that you will have your mower back before you really need a combine harvester!" A true enough statement, I thought, which most motocultures would readily agree. As usual one person did take exception to this comment & saw it as some kind of criticism - "don't include us in your seething melting pot" was the rather strange repost.
This was followed by a comment about a car I was selling that the person had come to look at, "and I won’t go into detail about the one we came to see that you advertised – unlucky for you P is a very good mechanic." In the ensuing exchange of emails the person threatened to post a warning about dishonest car salemen with me as the star! I eventually discovered which car was the issue & why. It was a 21 year old car which was in really good condition & being sold for well under 1000 euros. (I should point out that, to date, no car I have sold has ever been returned or even complained about). I had described the car as rust free but the "mechanic" who came to look noticed that the bottom of the inner part of a door was indeed rusty - I had failed to notice this as I had no reason to lie with my head on the ground & look up with the door open. No attempt had been made to hide this rust & not noticing something so minor is a mistake - trying to hide it would have been dishonest! The person decided that the little bit of rust, plus the new style number plates (on a car which I had said had been a customer's shopping car for some time (she had moved house) led the person to believe the car & me to be "dodgy". I know that they walked away from a genuine low mileage VW which would have given many more years of good service which it is now doing for the wife of an SNCF engineer!
The point of the story is that the threat to expose me as dishonest would be pointless. I may be many things but dishonest is not one of them & apart from the odd person there are many who know me enough to support that.
But being called dishonest by a misguided individual who chooses to make an opinion become fact is not something which worries me. It is the fact that the REAL dishonest ones seem to get away with so much!
I have a car for sale at the moment which belongs to a woman who has returned to the UK. I am to sell her car then forward the money to her account. This is something I have done on quite a few occasions. It means that I handle potential customers & make sure all the paperwork is done correctly. Looking through the papers for this car I came across a devis/invoice for work which had been required about a year ago. the bill was for over 2000 euros! It seems that the woman had been following another vehicle when a lump of metal had fallen into the road & been driven over. The car was damaged & oil was pouring out from underneath. The driver had a card from an English "mechanic" whom she called.
Looking at the car today I can see that the sump has been replaced but that is all. The devis shows a new turbo & front exhaust pipe, together about 1500 euros, needed to be replaced. There is no evidence that either part has ever been removed from the car - you can tell by looking at bolt heads & the patina of the engine. A year old component will not look as dull & dirty as the rest of a 12 year old engine. The devis includes a siret number - for a repairer of "other personal & domestic goods - - Repair of bicycles
- The repair and alteration of clothing items
- Repair of sporting goods (excluding guns for sport shooting) and camping equipment
- Repair of books
- Repair of musical instruments (except organs and historical musical instruments)
- Repair of toys and similar articles
- Repair of other personal and household goods
- Tuning pianos
No mention of cars, then!
It is a huge amount for work clearly not done but not many people would know. How can someone do that to another? It is so deliberate it makes my blood boil!
Today I am dealing with a Brit builder which my sister has been using. At first his work , though expensive in my opinion, was perfectly acceptable. Now he has been asked to do a second job but his admin seems to have gone a bit wrong. He has submitted a letter - not a devis - giving confusing figures. he also demanded, & was given, a cash sum. He writes"The money you have paid me is a float for the materials and day work for the floors etc. "
My sister felt that costs were not being made clear with no mention of material costs. Labour was quoted at a daily rate but with no clue as to how long the job would take.
My sister decided not to use this builder who has now decided to keep the balance of the cash sum as he now has no work for a time, although he says that he has "put off" other jobs. No deposit was asked for or given, no contract was signed.
Tonight he said that he has arbitarily decided to keep the money given as a float - to me that is theft.
As Wogan used to say "Is it me?"
Today I am Yosemite Sam!