Fool for France

Schadenfreude Alert

So, have you all been waiting for a few disaster tales in the Peter Mayle vein? If you have, you may be in luck. I think they are just about to start.

I have a truly skilled bunch of guys — and even a female apprentice — who are installing the energy system, the plumbing and the electrical system. So far so good. Now we are about to move onto finish selection. I think this is where the fun begins.

I have been getting these crazy emails, having to do with the shower pans. I want ones that can be tiled. They, by way of my architect, keep wanting to give me this relatively cheesy drop-in type. I wanted a bench — you try shaving your legs without one, it’s no fun. I have been getting no for an answer and the explanations make no sense. The sizes of my showers change. The appearance is not at all what I had in mind. After about a ten-minute internet search, I found just what I wanted, at a reasonable price and available in France. So what’s the story?

I think I may have figured it out. These guys belong to a kind of cooperative that buys certain products in bulk — discount on quantity. As long as you want what they have, all is good. My guess is that it is mostly good for them, that they are buying at below wholesale and reselling at full retail.

So every time I want something that is outside their system, I will probably get a huge amount of pushback. It probably doesn’t help that I have neither met nor heard mention of anyone who is good at tile installations.

I see a long, cold winter in my future. Let’s just hope that by spring I have my preferred shower pans.

4 Replies to “Schadenfreude Alert”

    1. Yeah! Damn straight! There is the whole “be careful what you wish for” conundrum but when it comes to tile vs. some cheesy resin thing, who but a low-life spec builder would wish for resin? Eew.

      I guess the good news is that I’m starting to have fun with this weirdness. We’ll see what their next move is but for now I’m in a bit of a ” bring it on!” mood. If that mood lasts for the next six months, I’ll end the project in great shape.


  1. I think there is an inherent reluctance by some ouvriers to install anything a little unique, unconventional or special.

    I am quite used to ours thinking that I am a basket case of the first water.

    My plumber is a sweetie, but it has taken him a long time to grasp that I AM having a black roll-top slipper bath in one of my bedrooms and that my suggestion that the waste pipe from upstairs COULD run behind a false interior wall rather than decorating the front outside of the house.was the best solution.


    1. Yeah, some of that is going on. The funny thing is, it’s not really happening with the plumbers. They really pushed for the energy system, which is pretty state of the art. Right now, they also being the electricians, they are taking a look at some new kind of security system, one of those where you control your whole house from your iPad. With them I am more concerned that they will turn me into an early adopter, dropping bundles on first-generation, bug-ridden technology. It’s more on the architect/contractor side that I’m not getting explanations or getting weird ones. So I was basically blind-sided by this shower pan thing because I think of it as a plumber-installed item. Maybe they don’t have a good tile guy on staff, I don’t know. It could be something simple like that. I don’t want to trash these guys. Believe me, they could be so much worse.

      Here at the apartment different contractors wanted to run exposed wiring and all. Once they realized that I would rather pay to have it hidden in the walls, they shrugged — your money, lady — and got to it. It took lots of discussion to get them to admit that their resistance was based on cost. I think I’m in a similar situation here, where they just won’t tell me the real reason. However I will get to the bottom of it.


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