Les Stupides Americaines part trois

Cultural Learning 101 cont'd...

>>La Poste

Third cultural challenge: The saying of numbers in French is not as easy as it looks on paper!

We continue the car journey to the post office and make our way inside the seemingly disguised post office building. Amy orders her stamps first and tells the clerk that she would like 3 stamps for postage to the U.S. Then it's my turn

and I repeat after Amy to the clerk that I would like 10 stamps. Okay so far we are doing great! Now it's Kristen's turn and she would like 5 stamps. Well Amy tells the clerk that she would like "cent" stamps, the clerk repeated it and then walked to the back room. We all look at each other in puzzlement because she had just layed about 20 stamps on her desk. When the clerk returns she tells Amy that she doesn't have enough stamps to give us. So we leave in puzzled confusion, wanting to tell the lady that there enough stamps right there in front of her. However, not wanting to over step our bounds, we leave thinking we'll just have to return again. We didn't realize the reason for the confusion until we were retelling the story and Amy

repeated her phrase. Turns out that she said "cent" which is actually 100 instead of saying "cinq" which is 5. Big difference and apparently the small post office doesn't carry those large quantities of 100 stamps. Now we have to travel back there and get stamps for Kristen and just our luck the lady probably ordered like 200 stamps in anticipation of our return.