Worked from home this morning for a couple of hours and then went off to Agen to buy furniture. I had found a nice shop called Maisons du Monde close to the airport last time I flew from Blagnac Toulouse, and picked up a free catalogue.
On looking at the store list in the back of the book I found a local shop in Agen. They have lots of french style furniture as well as more contemporary stuff too, a bit like Next and Laura Ashley or Zara at Home and really reasonably priced. I Parked in the free municipal carpark on the banks of the River Garonne and walked into the high street with Abigail. It felt really nice to be shopping with no stress and Abigail happily skipping along beside me holding my hand! I know now I have made the right decision to move to France!
On arriving at the beautiful shop with a huge glass dome in the centre of the ceiling and an impressive sweeping oak and wrought iron staircase, I Presented the helpful shop assistant with a shopping list that I had compiled from the website. (I did try and order it online, but if the truth be told, I didn't understand the payment process and the security password system installed by the bank to safeguard my account) So I decided to print off what I wanted to buy and take it to the shop with a cheque instead! I later learnt that it is safer to do it that way, by a neighbour, who has had her bank account in France hacked into 3 times since she has lived here (about 10 years).
I spent 25 minutes organising the best delivery method to get the items delivered free of charge, the shop assistant then told me that she had given me a discount as I had come to the shop instead of ordering online - result! This meant I got an armchair absolutely free. She also told me that if there was anything else I wanted in the shop to take away today, she would give me 25% discount - even bigger result! So I came away with a lovely large ornate mirror at a bargain price.
Therefore, the moral of the story today is, even if you cannot order what you want online and don't mind getting lost on the way home, it is all worth the extra hassel - just ask for a discount!