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March 15, 2007


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It's the same for me, since the end of january, i didn't get the right amount...


Actually, having dealt with bureaucracy in both the US and France, my conclusion is: they both suck. I always start off acting nice, thinking it just might work! The americans can be nice right back at you and still not resolve your issue (this happened to me yesterday--killing me with kindness). Or they can be super bitchy (social security office is a good example!).


Yes, I think bureaucracy is the same the world over! Good for you, standing up to the snotty lady behind the counter. :)


Good for you - I've definitely found that raising my voice a little bit usually forces them to back down and respect you. I never would've done that in the US, but moving here has made me, let's say, a lot more "assertive". *S*


You've apparently never had a bad experience at the DMV in the states!!!

The difference I've found in the US is that if you start out surly, then the person is surly back to you, whereas in France, if you start out nice, you get walked over so you have to get progressively more assertive....

Well, glad you got your papers in order, anyway!


Can you imagine being an employee of the government?!?
I think dealing with the gov't of any country is a pain in the arse.
When I was about 37 weeks prego, I had a client come into my office who was lipping off to one of my staff, so I waddled out to the front and said, "what is the problem here? if you don't like the way we do business here, theres the front door!!". The whole office got soooo quiet and he just said, oh, it's ok, just do it that way. Ha! You don't mess with a very pregnant woman! I was so fired up, I felt like I was going to go into labour after that!! :) Best wishes! Stephanie in Toronto.


Not to make light of your fustrations, but I was almost giggling while I read your story. It's the exact same with the Quebecois here in Canada. So much bureaucracy! We're known to be the worst in our country. I also had problems with receiving my maternity leave payments, and still am, and I'm nearing the end of my leave! Good job for being a b* back to that lady, you deserve better service than that. Glad everything is back on track!

laura b

That's so cool that you got her to do it! I'm very impressed. Your story brought back some weird memories from when I was trying to get my carte de sejour. Why is it that there is always more than one list of the documents needed?!


I have so many stories of learning to be a bitch with these people. It just doesn't come naturally for me. I'm midwestern! An uphill battle, but I'm getting there...

But now you have downright freaked me out for my maternity leave payments; I just asked the accountant at my job what exactly I need to do and she said, "Just bring a medical certificate and I think it should be fine..."

Seemed too good to be true, even as she said it. I think I'll trek back to her office on Monday and double-check. I REALLY can't go for even a month without that cash.


oh great story of triumph! i usually get so overwhelmed and start to cry. i then either get their full attention through manipulation (unintended), or i don't get taken seriously from that point forward.

oh and i have been following your baby blog with much anticipation. i have't commented often because, well, i am usually already way down in th cue by the time i read it, and "slow on the draw."

wishing you a joyous birth experience!

**hapa hugs from stateside, midwest at that!**


How long do you get for maternity leave in France?


you go, girl! hurray for pregnancy hormones! and yes, there are occasions in the U.S. when civil servants are less than helpful, but let's be honest: in France it is almost systematic - even the French know this - and, as Aimee proves again, winning the fonctionnaire battle has less to do with accordance with laws than wearing them down.

Bravo, Aimee!

frog with a blog

You go girl! teach that beeyatch what you're made of and how retarded and stalinian French administration is!
I say Aimee for Présidente de la République!


I remember going through the exact same thing two weeks before Louise was born last year! The lack of disrespect for humans as such never ceases to amaze me. Like you, I've learned to leave my American self at the door and become French any time there is anything to do with the administration. If not, they'll just walk right over you. Good job! Oh, and I know what form they are talking about because it's the same exact one they gave me hell over last year!


Go get 'em! Good for you! I wouldn't have the steely determination to deal with the French administration. Forget that Royal lady--vote for Aimee!


Aimee, OMG, when I read your post, I wished I was there in that office with you putting that woman in her place. Good for you!! BRAVO!!! I once had a similar, but not so critical, triumph of my own in Paris with a waiter. I did my own little happy dance upon understanding the French. It's so funny because... within seconds after reading your words, I blasted Cornell Medical for repeated billing (of bills I've already paid!!!) They even sent me a collection bill (when I had already paid). Well, pfffft, I told them under no uncertain terms that I would escalate this issue if they do not stop billing me willy nilly. That's NYC for you over Kansas!! :) You are fortunate to be from a saner part of the States. I'm originally from Portland, Maine, where people are also very nice. So I can relate to that which you are accustomed. Wow... just 5 more days until you and Julien meet Le Petit Monsieur!! Chin up... you really earned your stripes today!! :)


I've been lurking all along and was waiting to write out a congrats post in 5 days, but this ole post here makes me want to congratulate you right now!

Congratulations!!! Bells, whistles, paper horns.

Very impressed--I'm so wimpy when dealing with French bureaucrats. They scare me. I even let one bureaucrat bully me into using my husband's name (I haven't changed my last name)on an important form.

You're my heroine today.

PS Your belly is beautiful.


Congratulations, my dear, it's a Temper!

Seriously though, ARRGGHH!

Word: I didn't get maternity payments after my second kid was born and when I called to find out where payments were, they said something outrageous like there hadn't been proof of birth. They paid up to my due date and then nada.

Um..... right...

They said that we had to send in a birth certificate. I said that we had done that. They said no.

It turns out that the certificate was ACROSS THE HALL in another office of the same SECU because my daughter was added to hubs Social security rather than mine.

They were cool though... They actually went across the hall to make a copy rather than forcing me to hoof it to the relevant City Hall in Paris (where Brenna was born) to get an "extrait de naissance" and then bring it in.

Wasn't that groovy of them?


Yay for you! Right now I'm thinking, oh, crap, I need a certificate?! No one told me about a certificate! AAaaaargh.


I have to add my congrats here too, Aimée -- I am always berating myself for my lack of assertiveness, and you totally socked it to this lady! I could learn some lessons from you... And it's fabulous how you put her in her place. More power to you!

I know that I'm going to have to start dealing with my own bureaucratic details down the road myself, and I'm dreading it already -- I'm so bad at paperwork and keeping things in order! I'm going to have to work on that...

Hang in there for the next few days!

The Bold Soul

Ah, a case of "don't get even, get MAD". Well done! See, Bébé? Maman knows how to get things done around here!




awesome that you made her do an 'about face'!!!


Get 'em!

Go Jayhawks!


Way to go!

Just catching up on your blog...thinking of you and your upcoming C-section...I imagine there must be some serenity to knowing the date, knowing that everything is going to be okay...

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