Always have a book with you.  Of course, I don’t, but that’s what I tell myself every time I’m stuck in a line.  This happens all too often in France.  This morning I went to a sporting goods store called Decathlon.  A couple times a year they let people bring in old sporting equipment and sell it for them, sort of sponsored garage sale.  A month ago I bought a bike at a garage sale, just to get by after ours were stolen.  I spent a lot of time trying to get all of the gears and brakes to function, but the bike was pretty far gone.  I hope to sell it so I can get something better.

So I was standing in a long, slow moving line in Decathlon.  Even after all my effort, it failed their inspection, and I ended up spending €10 to have the rear brake adjusted.  They proceeded to tell me that the gears needed adjusting which would cost me €26.  “I don’t think it’s even worth that,” I said.  Still, I took it back to the people checking in bikes.  I said they worked on the brake for me, but that the rear derailleur also needs adjustment.  The worker said that as long as the brakes work it didn’t matter if there was one gear that didn’t function.  They let it slide.

I told the truth, which could have caused them to reject the bike.  Still, they accepted it.

As another worker was filling out the contract he asked me how much I paid for the bike.  I told him €10.  “What?” he asked.  I explained that my bike was stolen and I bought this one from someone just to get me by.  I only paid €10.  “I can’t put that,” he said.  He wrote down more.

It struck me how my honesty caught him off guard.  I was intimidated by the whole situation, afraid that the bike would be rejected, that I just spent €10 to get the brake tightened for nothing.  I really want to be rid of it, but I’m not willing to lie for it.

Tomorrow we’re going to look at used bikes ourselves, hoping to find one that was built to last.  I really miss our two bikes that were stolen…