Last Saturday, Dude and I headed over to the stores near Toulon to see what we could find in the way of flooring. We’ve been taking a little break from the house remodel to skip around Provence and do some sight-seeing, but this weekend Dude said he wanted to get our bedroom finished and that meant a trip to some home improvement stores.
First stop was Castorama. It turns out that they were having their anniversary weekend so some sales were happening as well as the fact they were going to be open on Sunday. Wow, bonus for us just in case we needed something last minute on Sunday. Try as we might, and we did, nothing in the way of flooring popped out at us. We looked long and hard down every aisle and just couldn’t seem to agree on anything we liked. I did find something called “Floor in a Box”, but figured that was a bit on the cheesy side so it was decided a no-go for us.
Looked easy, though. I wonder if they sell this stuff at Wal-mart?! I’m guessing that, yes, they do 🙂 That’s probably where this stuff came from!
This particular day was a strange one for shopping at Castorama. Throughout the time we were there someone was constantly doing these crazy announcements for items on sale in different aisles. It turns out that there was some guy in a suit walking around the store with a microphone hosting his own “Let’s Make A Deal” show right there in the store! This happened once before to me several months ago while I was in Carrefour doing market shopping. I kind of think this is weird. It makes me feel like I am back in the 1970’s in the USA cuz we did stuff like that there when I was a kid. I was all ready to bust out my Blue Chip Stamps and hand them over to the guy in the tweed suit! I couldn’t stop laughing as Dude and I were in the checkout line (buying the few odds and ends we did find). It just made me giggle thinking how in the here and now, these French stores are doing what we did in America about 35-40 years ago! It even made my day when I saw a lady in the store totally wearing this retro outfit of tiger-striped, form fitting, stretchy pants and matching boots. Please Doc, set my DeLorean back to 2012!
Out in the parking lot we continued to hear the guy making his announcements. Apparently they had rigged the parking lot speakers for him, too!
With Castorama a no go for us, we headed down the street to LeRoy-Merlin. Lucky for us, the two stores are only about 5 minutes from each other (45 minutes when all the French are out shopping at the same time…..tells you a lot don’t it). It just so happened to be the dejeuner bewitching time though, and since we don’t have the same time schedule as the French, not that many people were out so we made it in roughly 10 minutes.
LeRoy-Merlin was super crowded. So this is where everyone and their mothers had gone! (I guess they had all forfeited lunch today). This place was a mad house and for some odd reason they didn’t have the air-conditioning on. After only 10 minutes in the store, I had to go out and take a breather.
The aisles were jam-packed with shoppers. It turns out that LeRoy-Merlin decided to pull some punches at Castorama and they were having their own Fete de la Maison. There were specials galore and with the Carte de Maison we found out that we were going to get an extra 15% off! I love it when that happens, but darn, now I had to go stand in line to get the dang card if we found something we wanted to buy!
Off to the flooring aisles we went. But wait, what was that sound? Why are there drums and loud music being played in the middle of the store? Why are there all these people gathered around in the main aisle of the store and blocking everyone else from going by??!! I didn’t have time for this. I need some flooring!
Well H-E-L-L-O, this is why there had been a crowd
Check out the guy on the left and his look. Priceless. Oh and the kid has the best angle I can see. Boy, his teen years are going to be interesting. Better warn his future wife about what she’ll need to buy.
As far as the crowd goes, you guessed it peeps, it was mostly men blocking the way. What in the heck do scantily clad show girls have to do with a home improvement store?? NOTHING? And if you were to say everything, as Dude did, well fine, but where are my scantily clad show guys?? HUH??!! I want some fairness when going to get my materials, dang it.
What is becoming of these stores, I wanna know. “Let’s Make A Deal” in one store and show girls in another!! Come on, people. These guys (gals) were so thrilled to be there all dressed up (or hardly dressed) that they even posed for a photo.
By the way, I was not the only one who was taking pictures. The look on people’s faces as these guys were waltzing through LeRoy’s was priceless. Smiles on the guy’s faces and bewilderment on the girl’s faces!
Good grief. To top it all of, the lady that I saw at Castorama (you remember), the one with the tiger-striped, form fitting, stretchy pants and matching boots, well there she was right in front of me at this store, too! Only here, she didn’t really fit in, if you get my drift.
Man, get me to the flooring section, paleeeze!
Finally, after the ‘show’ was over, Dude and I made it over to the wood flooring (all the way he was asking me how come I don’t dress like those girls……really??).
We originally were thinking about going with tile, but in the end, decided that wood flooring would be the way to go. We struck gold at LeRoy-Merlin. They have a much larger selection of wood flooring than Castorama and almost right away we found what we wanted. Bonus, it was on sale, double bonus we also were going to get 15% off! Yes- I love that.
We needed to get one or two more things and then off to the front of the store we went. I went to stand in line for my coveted Carte de Maison while Dude went of to go look at the tools.
It took some time to get the card (of course it did). There was a line forming and only one lady working the counter (big surprise). After a bit of a wait, carte de maison in hand, off to the check out we went.
As we left the store, I couldn’t believe that we actually achieved something for the house that we set out to do that day. That usually doesn’t happen to us. Once we figured out how to put 11 boxes of flooring in our Renault (along with the other odds and ends we bought) we set off towards home totally feeling like low-riders and hoping our car didn’t bottom out on the way! Good news, we made it just fine. Bad news (for Dude) I am not buying one of those show girl outfits….he can just forget it.
Now you all know how I’m takin’ with the toilets in France. There is just something fundamentally funny to me about the stuff I’ve seen here, that I’ve never seen in The States. So far, all the blog posts I’ve written that has to do with something about a toilet or toilet seat in France have yet to be found in my home country. For some odd and demented reason, I am fascinated by what I can buy or find here in the way of these products and I can’t resist taking a photo and writing about it. It just boggles my mind (I have to let you in on a secret…..see…I’m simple minded). Now does it make sense to you? I just happen to be one of those people who get a kick out of simple and crazy or dumb things. I know you all know someone personally like me so no judging.
I think this must help me somehow psychologically. How?? I’m not exactly sure, but it gives me a chuckle and everyone knows that laugher is the best medicine when you’re feeling down. So I guess that must be it. Yup-it’s quite possible.
You see, when I’ve been in Castorama or LeRoy-Merlin or some other store for house renovation materials and I am going on hour number 4 (in the same store) looking at all the same stuff I looked at last week and hoping that this week something new has come in and then finding out it hasn’t, and then suddenly I find something that takes my mind off the hardship of non-acquirement (is that a word?), then I just gotta snap the shot. (I think that might have been my longest sentence, yet). For some odd reason, this has been in the area of the toilets.
I swear that this stuff can’t be found in The States. If it exists there, then no one has come forward to let me know.
Well, my latest find is, ta…da..
The toilet where you can wash your hands with the tank water!
This is pure genius. Not only is it a space saver but it’s also double usage for toilet water!! What could be better? I’m thinking about buying stock in the company who is producing this. I have a feeling it’s going to be really big someday. I can totally see it in dorm rooms across America.
Now, I’m betting this hasn’t gotten to The States, yet, and the reason I think this is because my daughter was in a dorm and had a very (I mean microscopic) bathroom and she still had a tub, toilet and separate sink! This could be the wave of the future for dorm kids. Guess what?? It can even triple as a drinking fountain if you pick the right faucet! I’m sold. Done.
I’m thinking about buying one and shipping it to my son for his birthday. Then he will be the toast of the town and all his friends will want one. Then I can make a deal with the company who sells it and be rich, rich, rich….. mauhaha….!
Wow, okay…getting a little ahead of myself.
But seriously, is this a great idea or what? If anyone in The States has come across this fantastic item, either in a store (or better yet, installed in a home or office) please send me a photo or tell me about it. I’m dying to know if I’m behind the times on this or there is still hope to corner uncharted territory in the USA!
Around 6pm tonight Dude says to me, “Let’s find the closest Castorama and check it out”. Up until now, we’ve been going to LeRoy-Merlin and it was high time that we checked out the competition.
We got lucky again today because we found a Castorama only 25 minutes from us. Off we went to see if we could find some more items we needed for the house.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Castorama near us was a new store and it was HUGE. Way bigger than “King Merlin” and so well stocked with tons and tons of stuff that we could never find at the competition. The other thing that was terrific is they had a lot of people working at the store and we got awesome customer service!
Well the minute I got there I bee-lined it to the heater section cuz I’m really tired of living in a house that has no heat! I am freezing my butt off every day and night and just plain sick of it, so I was not going to be leaving that store without the goods (even if Dude calls me a big sissy). We scoped out the merchandise and found a good one that you have to fill with petrol. When we couldn’t find the fuel I went over to ask one of the workers and he told me that he didn’t work in that particular department, but showed me who did. That person happened to be helping out another customer so I just waited my turn (and very patiently I might add cuz that’s just me). The first I guy I ask came back around 3 minutes into the waiting and noticed that I hadn’t been helped yet. He got on the phone and asked his coworker to come and help me. Well within 1 minute the guy shows up and he helps me out with all the info I need to pick out my fuel and points me in the right direction to go get it. Bada Bing, Bada Bam, done!
Then I start to mosey around the store just to check things out for future reference. Dude goes off to look at tools (big surprise) and I found the toilet seats. I didn’t need one I just ended up in that aisle. Don’t judge. Guess what I found?? A toilet seat with a TV in it! See, here it is!
They were playing a movie in the top of the seat about how this particular toilet seat worked (I never thought there was really anything more to one than up and down) and I got completely engrossed in the demonstration movie. So there I was standing all by myself in the toilet seat aisle watching a show that was playing ON a toilet seat! After the little show was over I realized that I must have looked really stupid to people passing by the aisle that could only see me looking intensely at the seats, but they weren’t able to see what I was staring at!
I also found the best bathtub I could ever want in my dreams. This thing had lights, jets, a head rest and a place for your drink and IPod! What the heck! After gazing longingly at it for some time, I went to find Dude (cuz the store was closing) and I told him that for now we were going to keep the tub that is currently in the master bathroom cuz I needed to save up for the most fanstastical (again is that a word?) tub and it was going to take me a year. There was no way I was going to waste my money now on something else and risk not having the great one! He just looked at me like I was a complete idiot and wanted to know what the heck I need that for. It was only a bath.
WARNING: Do not ever say that to a woman! Only a bath! Please! Hot water, bubbles, a drink, chocolate, music, a book and jets all in one is what every woman craves (especially when they’ve had kids-you’all know what I’m talking about –Calgon take me away).
So I tried to get this point across, but it just wasn’t working. Why did he half to pick this moment to not have the “chick” part of him come out?!
I gave up the cause and we headed towards the cash register. Besides my beloved heater, Dude also found some more of his accessories for the new electrical work. Good to go.
Off we headed toward home and it was looking pretty good until we missed our exit off of the freeway. Wouldn’t you know it?? It was the last exit for the next 10 kilometers and just before the next exit we had to get one of those stupid toll booth tickets! Dang it! When we finally paid to get off the dumb auto route, it costs us 2, 20 Euro and we were about another 10 kilometers from home and had no idea what town we had landed in.
So we put on the GPS and headed towards home. Then that stupid GPS lady got us lost and we ended up way in the hills on a windy road, somewhere south of our home and in the middle of nowhere. Normally I would be okay with “taking the tour”, but it was getting late, I was hungry, we were wasting money and gas and since it was dark already I couldn’t even enjoy the scenery.
In the end it took us more than an hour to get home (when it only took us 25 minutes to get to the store)! All because we missed one freakin’ exit!
When we finally made it home, I had Dude on heater duty faster than anything. Now, we finally have heat in this place (even if it is in only one room) . I happened to be standing in front of it right now and just so you know,that’s where my cold self will be for quite some time.
You never appreciate something until you have to do without it. Thank you to whoever invented these wonderful systems. You’re a lifesaver.