I’ve been looking for a flat here in France. Not as fast-flowing as I had expected – much like a lot of things really.
I had found an advert for a private let on a website and got in touch with the landlord. We set a date for a viewing (again, taking longer than I expected) and as the day approached, I imagined what it might look like to live in that flat; I got excited at the prospect of living in an area named after the local church : “Christ Roi” (Christ the King); I googlemapped the area for my local bakery…
The time of the viewing finally arrived, but the landlord did not. A few muttered apologies : “I thought I had told you the meeting was pushed back?”, repeated promises : “I’ll keep you posted…” but ultimately a no-goer. Start from scratch once more.
On the same website I had seen another apartment that fitted my criteria. So I dialed the number beside the announcement. A man answers.
“Yes, hello, I saw your advert on ***website and am interested in viewing the apartment you’re renting in the north of the city.”
“On what website, sorry? But, yes I had two apartments for rent, one with 3 bedrooms and one with 2 bedrooms. The one with 3 bedrooms is already let.”
“Oh, that’s ok – I’m looking for two bedrooms. Where is the apartment…?”
So despite some obvious confusion on the landlord’s part – and subsequently on my part – we eventually reached the consensus that I would go to the apartment where a neighbour would let me in and show me around the next afternoon. He asked me to call him back after the viewing and let him know either way – even to the point of letting him know what I didn’t like about it. So I agreed.
The following afternoon I visit the apartment. The area is nice – there is a lot of greenery around, a small supermarket, a Post Office, a branch of my bank, a library… The building is good – its near a frequent bus route, its only three floors so not too many people… The size and shape of the apartment is good – a balcony to watch the sunset from, on the top floor so no-one is walking over my head, a kitchen with a door to close and pretend the dishes are done… But its kind of grotty and the decoration is pretty horrible. Plus, it looks nothing like the photos he had on the website.
I decide I’ll call the landlord back and be honest about what I think and see if he is willing to change any of the floor coverings or decoration for me. Having not taken note of the phone number, I go back to the website advertisement where I had first found his number and dialled it again.
This time a woman answers. She sounds much younger than the gentleman I spoke to before and so I wonder if she’s his daughter. I begin to explain that I called last night about the apartment, but it wasn’t her I spoke to.
“I don’t think we had any calls last night” she says.
“Oh. Do you have an apartment to rent in the north of the city?” I ask, confusion mounting.
“Yes we’re renting an apartment, its a 4 bedroom apartment in the city centre.”
“Oh. Perhaps I rang the wrong number – sorry for disturbing you.” Hmm… that’s weird. I check the number I dialled – I definitely just called the number that was on the website and yet got somebody different. Weird.
So now I’m stuck – I’m supposed to call back, but evidently I had called the wrong number the night before. I ring the neighbour who showed me round the apartment and she is (after some panicked searching) able to give me the number of the landlord of the flat she showed me round. I compare it with the number on the website. One figure different.
Can you imagine? I made a mistake in reading the number on the advertisement for a flat on this website – I wrongly dialled one digit in the phone number and even though I called the wrong number, I STILL MANAGED TO TALK TO SOMEONE WHO HAD A FLAT TO RENT WHICH WAS IN THE AREA I NEEDED, HAD THE EXACT SPECIFICATIONS I WANTED AND WAS EVEN COMING IN BELOW MY BUDGET. Wonder what the probability of that happening is.
Who am I to let a little redecoration get in the way?