27 Sep 2012

Sassy in the Seventeenth

You know how they say a smile can get you places?  Well I think that’s true.  In some cases.

After a frustrating phone call with someone from T-Mobile who said it would take them 28 working days to send me an email with an access code to “unlock” my phone (for the price of £15) to use it with other networks, I decided I had two options.  1)  Buy a French phone.  2) Go to some dodgy phone-unlocking shop.  The former was a possibility but I knew that the cheapest rate would be on Amazon.fr – but this would take about 5 days.  5 days I don’t have.  The latter therefore seemed a lot more appealing.  But I live in the 6th arrondissement; the chic, sophisticated, fashionable arrondissement which is not home to semi-illicit places like this.  After some intensive googling, I decided to trundle over to the 17th arrondissement to hunt out Koto Mobiles - a shop which prides itself on its ability to unlock any phone, as well as selling a variety of cheap, sickly accessories to prettify your mobile.  Since when was phone-jazzling cool?  

The majority of the shops on the street were closed down, barred or graphitised.  Splendid.  Perfect hide-out for a Thursday afternoon.  I walked nervously into the shop, slightly worried that I might have entered a dope parlour, brothel, or that my purse would get stolen.  (Gotta love excessive stereotyping).  I immediately brought out both my phones and said “est-ce que vous pouvez debloquer mes telephones portables s’il vous plait?”  

To cut a long story short, I did some bartering and instead of paying 25, I paid 16.  I’d been told online that it would be 5 per phone (but turns out that’s only if you own a brick), so I felt it was only fair that I work some of my British charm into the equation to avoid excessive costs.

Bartering: Your Secret to Saving Money on the Things You Want or NeedBartering method (got this down to a fine art!)-: When it was time to pay I emptied the contents of my wallet and said in my sweetest, most angelic voice “I only have 17”.  He looked at me for a moment and then waved his hand, saying that was fine.  I grinned, unknowingly flicking my hair to exceptional effect (girl next door, say what?).  But when it came down to it, I actually only had 16.40.  I smiled at him innocently, tilted my head to the side and kept 100% eye contact.  He glared at me slightly, but I knew I’d won the battle.  Although he did call me “maligne” which I translated literally to mean “malign”, or “evil” (sob).  On closer inspection in a dictionary however, I realised it actually means “smart” or “cunning”.  Ahh, so he worked out that I was trying to manipulate him to get a better deal?  True that.  Language barriers are nothing; as I previously stated – it’s a smile which gets you places.

He then introduced himself and after asking for my name he said “ah, like Tony Montana?”  The only reason I know that Tony Montana is a fictional character from the 1983 film Scarface (#nerd), is because each day when I Google myself to catch up on the latest gossip (I’m practically famous you know?), the name Tony Montana has inevitably appeared on Google’s radar.  So I replied in the positive, adding “or like Hannah Montana”.  “Who do you prefer?” he asked.  In a freak on-the-spot decision-making process I went for the pop star.  *hides face*

But in a phone-hacking shop, all formalities are dropped.  Numbers are not exchanged on the corners of magazines or diagonally across napkins.  By placing my phone in his company, I was unknowingly giving him my digits.  Which is probably why I received a variety of texts from him upon leaving, commenting on how “charming” I am.  Man clearly has good taste.  I decided not to reply (being the grateful person that I am).  The things I have to do to avoid creeps in Paris…

Watch this space.


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