At various points in CAPITAL, Marx refers to "faix frais." For a long time, the phrase exercised a strange fascination for me, until I discovered that it simply means "incidental costs." Having arrived in Paris, I now find myself faced with certain "faux frais." One involves internet access in my apartment. I rent the apartment from time to time when we are not staying here, and these days internet access is obviously an absolute necessity if I wish to find tenants. Over the years, this has been a constant source of difficulty. I finally thought I had solved the problem, and wrote up a guide to people staying here, complete with the password given to me by a FranceTelecom technician.
Good luck. People continue to struggle with internet access. So I called from North Carolina before coming out and set up a "rendez-vous" [nothing romantic, just the French for "appointment"] with a technician for today between 10 am and noon. Well, when Susie and I returned from the market with the food I shall cook this evening, I found a message telling me that the technician will not be here until 2-4 this afternoon.
The cost of this dead simple adjustment to the "LiveBox" that serves as a router? 110 Euros, which at today's exchange rate is roughly $154. I am absolutely certain that Susie's thirteen year old grandson, Noah, were he here, could do it in an instant. That is just one of the "faux frais" of having an apartment in Paris.