Friday, April 15, 2005

Sincerely, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Today I gave my credit card information to someone named Ellen in Paris. I'm usually not nervous about this sort of thing. I've had nefarious charges attributed to my card number before. The credit card company didn't make me pay for them. I'm going to assume that if this happens again I'll have the same luck disputing the charges as I did in the past.

Still, I was a little nervous about sending Ellen my card information. Ellen is the manager at the Hotel Londres Saint-Honore. She let us know she had rooms available for our upcoming trip. The weird thing is she responded to our email with a handwritten fax attached to an email. I can't figure out why Ellen had to send a handwritten note. Was she bound by constraints in available technology or was it an attempt to provide a more personalized response?

It's not important. I got to see Ellen's penmanship. It's cool; like I was getting a note from Toulouse-Lautrec or something. I think it's her Ms that look like stylized Ns.

Wait a minute. . .

Maybe Ellen is the go-to person for English. A front desk clerk, who is perfectly capable of responding but often fakes a lack of language skills to get out of extra work, printed out our email and handed it to Ellen. Ellen was busy going over Tuesday's invoices. She looked at our email and sighed because she knows the clerk could have (should have) handled our request. Rather than make a big deal out the matter Ellen dashed off a quick reply and handed it back to the clerk. The clerk didn't want to take the time to retype Ellen's note and just sent us a copy.

"TĂȘte de fromage," he said as he placed the document into the scanner.

This means I have nothing to worry about as far as my credit card is concerned. I'm confident The Hotel Londres Saint-Honore has everything it needs to handle our transaction securely. And when we get there and the front clerk tries the whole, Je ne parle pas Anglais thing on us we're going to have Ellen, finally, kick his ass.

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