bird on the wire

updated March 17.

Will Norman get his wings?

Pascal Givet - business-traveler Lad
Norman Bates - humble hotelkeeper and bird lover
Serge de Nimes - Norman turns to an old friend for help with French. They were buddies in the Foreign Legion.

Pascal Givet


Hello Mister/Madam.

I am Mr directing PAUL CLIVET of a company, and I to wish to make a reservation of 4 double rooms for 08 people in your hotel within the framework of a business trip with my collaborators for the 28/02/2007 to the 14/03/2007.
I will like to also to announce my intention you to regulate you in advance by credit card (VISA CARD ou MASTER CARD).

Have a terminal for credit card?

As I will want as you forward me the invoice pro format of the reservation of the 4 double rooms by including there the price of the menu with drink plus the breakfast lasting our stay in your hotel. Please compose me a menu for 08 people and want to include the price of the menu on the invoice so that I can forward to you my credit card for all to balance.

However I will like to announce problem to you which disturbs the voyage. It is about the purchase of the plane tickets of my colleagues and me. The travel agency which deals with our plane tickets in the name of (AERI VOYAGE) or we must buy our plane tickets does not have terminal for credit card and the director of the agency asks me to pay the tickets with cash (in species). Currently the personnel of the financial establishments is in strike for one unspecified duration and one cannot withdraw cash at the bank. We do not have cash on us and I have only my credit cards to balance my expenditure. Thus I will want to ask you for this service:

- You add the sum of 6000euros which represents the total amount of our plane tickets on the invoice of the reservation.

- I offer also the sum to you of 800euros like commission on this service.

- I will forward to you my credit card so that you can output the total amount of my reservation in your hotel + the 6000euros which must be used for the purchase of our tickets and you will forward the 6000euros via Western Union after having output the sum of the plane tickets you will go in an agency Western Union for carried out a mandate express train to the director of the travel agency that I you will forward these co-ordinates so that he can delivered us the plane tickets for our business trip.

You will forward me the invoice in this form:

- Total Amount of my reservation in your hotel + 6000euros for the purchase of my tickets + your commission 800euros for the service which you go carried out.

I count much on your assistance because this business trip is very important for me and I wish that it be a success because for which I chose your hotel.

My cordial greetings and I am in waiting to read you.


Norman Bates

Dear Sir,
I should inform you that the Bates Motel is not located in a business district. I am not sure how you chose the Bates. However I am pleased to quote room rates for (28/02/2007 to 14/03/2007).

A brief description of our facility:
The Bates Motel is a charming converted California Gothic home with eight double bedrooms (four with one king-size bed, four with two twin beds) and four single bedrooms, all with hot tub and terrace. Situated at the corner of Broadway and Perkins, the Bates Motel has a nice view of the sea on one side and mountains on the other. Nearby activities include sailing, horse riding, surfing (lessons available for all these), and a lively downtown which caters to the college crowd. We have been in operation since 1960 and many guests return year after year.

Four double rooms at $210/night x 4 days = $3360
(please note check-out time is 11am)
(the motel does not provide meals, but there are excellent restaurants within walking distance)

No commission is necessary.

Certainly we can process credit cards, but your proposition seems complicated. Perhaps I did not understand:
You are asking me to front the price of your airplane tickets?
Your travel agency cannot process credit cards?
Your bank is on strike indefinitely?

I suggest:
- find a different travel agency (there are many)
- go to the national agency in your country which regulates banks -- the situation you describe must be a scandal and I am sure you will not be alone in demanding your money be released

I hope to hear that you have resolved your situation and that we can offer you our hospitality.
Thank you for considering the Bates Motel for your travel needs.

Norman Bates

p.s. Is your name CLIVET or GIVET?

[I had given up, when... ]

Pascal Givet

From : Pascal Givet <>
Sent : Tuesday, February 13, 2007 9:37 AM
To : Norman Bates

Dear Mr., I thank you for your response and the invoice of my reserbation of room in your motel. For the plane tickets, I would like to say to you that I you ask for a service and this is why I offer a commission to you of 800 EURO. Indeed the agency with which jai effetuer the reservation of the plane tickets make going me reduction from 20 to 30 % and like it dipose not of a terminal of credit card, it would like that I pay him in cash with money and as here the banks in strike for one period and I am not determined yet needs argentpour to carry out it the confirmation of the plane tickets which coute 6000 EURO in all. Thus I would like that you add the sum of 6000 to my proforma invoice of my reservation: $3360 + 6000 Euro then I will forward to you my credit cards so that you to carry out the operation of taking away. and to make a mandate by WESTERN UNION in the name of the director of the travel agency that I will forward to you its coordonées at the time of the payment.


I am on standby of your answer.

Mr. Pascal Givet.

[Is he actually francophone? This looks like slow death by machine translation. ]

Norman Bates

Dear Mr. Givet,
I am sorry for the delay. I assumed you had cancelled your plans.
I hope we may still welcome you to the Bates Motel.
What I sent you is not an invoice. It is just a list of prices.

It was hard to understand your writing.
It looks like some words were not translated. What is argentpour? and the other words?
Sorry for my lack of French.
Again, I do not make plane reservations. This is not a service my hotel provides.
You should find a better travel agent, also I have never heard of banks going on strike.
It seems very strange.

You say "I am not determined", so apparently you have not firmed up your plans.
When you have, we will be pleased to welcome you here.
The management is my mother and myself. I am the active partner.

Spring will soon be coming to our lovely seaside town; today I stood on the balcony and watched the whaling ships come in. Indeed, a stay at the Bates is a stay to remember. In fact, we could really use the business, so I do hope you can get your finances in order.

Norman Bates

Norman Bates

Dear Mr. Givit,

I think maybe I've been misunderstanding your mails, so I asked my friend Serge de Nimes to contact you.
He speaks French and maybe he can help you with your reservation.

Looking forward to welcoming you to the Bates Motel.

Norman Bates

p.s. Serge, please contact Mr. Givit and see what you can do. We really need the business.

Pascal Givet


Serge de Nimes

Cher Monsieur GIVET,

Mon ami Norman Bates, propriétaire de l'hôtel Bates, me conseille que vous avez besoin d'aide en faisant une réservation d'hôtel. Indiquez-svp moi les dates de votre arrivée et départ, et vos besoins (chambres, etc.), et je vais essayer d'aider.


[Dear Mr. Givet, my friend Norman Bates, manager of the Bates Motel, advises me that you need help making a hotel reservation. Let me know the dates of your arrival and departure, and your needs (rooms, etc.), and I will try to help.]

Pascal Givet


[Dear Mr. Serge, I thank you for your response and I would like to make the reservation for the period Feb. 28, 2007 to March 5, 2007 for 4 double rooms. Waiting for your response.]

Serge de Nimes

Merci de votre réponse. Norman m'a expliqué que le prix sera : Quatre chambres pour deux personnes à $210/night.

Il me semble qu'il ne comprend pas les dates que vous avez indiqué -- 28/02/2007 - 14/03/2007 -- pas 4 jours, mais 15.

Mais de toute faĉon vous indiquez maintenant que vous allez partir le 05/03, pas 14/03, c'est 4 jours,alors le prix sera: $210 pour 4 jours = $3360.

Je pense qu'on peut simplement indiquer le numéro de votre carte de crédit (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), pour réserver les salles jusqu'à votre arrivée.

En outre il dit qu'il y a une certaine confusion au sujet des billets avion, et de votre banque. Quel est le problème exactement ?

p.s. Norman, I will explain you all this. He inquired for two weeks actually, now it is four days.

[Thanks for your response. Norman explained to me that the price will be: Four rooms for two people at $210/night. It seems he doesn't understand the dates you indicated -- Feb. 28 to March 14, 2007 -- not four days but 15. But in any case you say now that you are leaving the 5th of March, not the 14th, that's four days, so the price will be $210 for 4 days = $3360. I think one can simply provide a credit card number to reserve the rooms until your arrival. Also he says there is some confusion about airplane tickets, and your bank. What is the problem exactly?

March 2007

["Pascal Givet" is still trying to get his prospective host, motel-keeper Norman Bates, to front the money for his airplane tickets. Norman doesn't speak French but fortunately his ex-Legionnaire buddy, Serge de Nimes, helps out.]

Pascal Givet

Sent : Thursday, February 22, 2007
Subject : RE : prix l'hôtel (Bates Motel)

Cher Serge ,
Je vous remercie de votre reponse.
concernant les billets d'avions l'agence de voyafe m'a dit qu'il ne dipose pas de terminal cartes de crédit pour effectuer le paiement par cartes de crédit donc il voudrais que je lui paye avec de l'argent en espèces.Voulant faire un retrait pour effectuer le paiement des billets d'avions , mon banquier me tiens informé que les établissements sont en grève pour un période indéterminée.
Donc je voudrais que vous ajoutez à ma facture le prix des billets d'avions qui est de 6000€. en attente de votre reponse.

[I thank you for your reply.
Concerning the airplane tickets the travel agency told me that he does not use credit card terminals for paying by credit cards so he would like me to pay him in cash. Wanting to make a withdrawal to pay for the airplane tickets, my banker told me that the establishments are on strike for an indeterminate period. So I would like you to add to my bill the price of the airplane tickets which is 6000 euros.
Waiting for your reply.]

[It looks like Pascal is going to concentrate on Serge now, Norman is out of the loop because he doesn't speak French, but Serge tells Norman what's going on.]

Serge de Nimes

Il semble que mon ami Norman a compris votre proposition.
Franchement, il ne semble aucun raisonnable. Si vous ne pouvez pas obtenir votre argent de la banque, comment allez-vous payer votre facture ? Et quel pays permet aux banques de faire la grève?
Il faut trouver une meilleure agence de voyage (je peux recommander plusieurs) et je me demande pourquoi les clients de banque ne font pas un manif dans les rues. Quand j'étais dans la légion étrangère nous avons su quoi faire avec ces types. Il semble que vous avez un plus grand problème qu'un voyage d'affaires.
(Bien qu'en fait le motel et la ville soient beaux. Je suis venu ici après mon service dans la légion et jamais parti.)
Je dois m'enquérir si les chambres sont encore disponibles. Il n'y a pas beaucoup de temps avant votre voyage.

p.s. Norman, actually you read it right. He can't pay his bills, so he asks you to -- buy his airline ticket for him! Do you think your mother would like this type? What should I say to M. Givet? Are the rooms still available? It is only a few days now. I know you need the business, but it seems quite odd.

[Dear M. GIVET,
It seems my friend Norman understood your proposal.
To be blunt, it makes no sense. If you cannot get your money out of the bank, how do you expect to pay your bill?
And what kind of country allows the banks to go on strike?
You'd better find a better travel agency (I can recommend several) and I wonder why the bank clients are not in the streets protesting. When I was in the Foreign Legion we knew how to deal with such people.
It seems you have a bigger problem than whether or not to go on a business trip.
(Although in fact The Bates Motel and the town are lovely. I came here after my service in the Legion and I never left.)

p.s. Norman, actually you read it right. He can't pay his bills, so he asks you to -- buy his airline ticket for him! Do you think your mother would like this type? What should I say to M. Givet? Are the rooms still available? It is only a few days now. I know you need the business, but it seems quite odd.]

Pascal Givet

Sent : Friday, February 23

CHER Mr Serge ,
Je vous remercie de votre banque mais je voudrais vous dire que le paiement de la facture , je le ferai par cartes de crédit comme j'ai voulu le faire avec l'agence de voyage.
Je ne peux pas aller réservé dans d'autre agences de voyage car nous vion déja versé la somme de 3500 € en liquide comme frais de garanti.
Donc il reste à effectuer le solde total des billets d'avions car j'ai un voyage très important.
Je voudrais vous dire que pour le servcie , je vous offres la somme de 800€.
Je suis en attente de votre reponse et actuellemnt , je suis au MAROC.
Donc si vous etes d'accord pour me rendre ce servcie , je voudrais vous dire je vous ferai parvenir les coordonné du directeur .
Bonne journée.
Mr GIvet

[Thank you for/from(?) your bank but I would like to tell you that the payment, I will make it by credit cards as I wanted to do with the travel agency.
I cannot go reserved in other travel agencies because we (something garbled) already paid(?) 3500 euros in cash as a guarantee.
So it remains to pay the total balance of the plane tickets because I have a very important trip.
I would like to tell you that for your service, I offers you the sum of 800 euros.
I await your response and actully I am in Morocco.
So if you agree to render me this servcie, I would like to tell you that I will give you the coordinate of the director.
Good day.

[Serge advises us: He is in Ivory Coast, actually. At least, that's where the mail came from.]

Pascal Givet


[I am still waiting for your answer.]

[Sent from, also in Ivory Coast.]

Serge de Nimes

Je suis désolé, j'ai pas vu votre e-mail. Norman est mon ami, mais je ne travaille pas pour lui et je prenais des vacances. Bon, c'est maintenant 2 mars, et nous avons déjà passé la date de votre voyage proposé. Ainsi je ne suis pas sûr si vous projetez venir ici. Vous dites que vous avez un voyage important. Voulez-vous dire vraiment un voyage au motel du Norman ? Il a un motel très gentil mais ce n'est pas une localité importante. Les gens viennent ici pour les oiseaux et comme Ťa. [Franchement, je pense que Norman est peu un désespéré.]

En outre, m'offrez-vous 800 euros séparément du Norman ? Je ne comprends pas ce que vous proposez. Me demandez-vous sérieusement d'acheter vos billets d'avion ? Peut-être je devrais parler avec mes vieux copains dans la légion au sujet de cette agence de voyage.

D'ailleurs, vous êtes en Côte d'Ivoire, pas dans Maroc. Peut-être vous vous êtes perdu ? Expliquez svp.

p.s. Norman, the gentleman you told me about has answered, but unfortunately I missed his e-mail. he wrote last week. I do not know if he is still traveling. I am sorry if I have cost you this opportunity.

[I'm sorry, I did not see your e-mail before. Norman is my friend, but I do not work for him and I was taking a vacation. Well it is March 2, and we have already passed the date of your proposed trip. So I am not sure if you still plan to come here. You say you have an important trip. Do you really mean a trip to Norman's motel? He runs a very nice motel but this is not an important locality. People come here for birdwatching and so on. [Frankly I think Norman is a bit desperate.]

Also, are you offering me 800 euros separately from Norman? I still do not understand what you propose. Are you seriously asking me to buy your plane tickets? Perhaps I should speak with my old friends in the Legion about this travel agency.

By the way, you are in Ivory Coast, not in Maroc. Perhaps you got lost? Please explain.

p.s. Norman, the gentleman you told me about has answered, but unfortunately I missed his e-mail. he wrote last week. I do not know if he is still traveling. I am sorry if I have cost you this opportunity.]

[Serge lets things ride. He doesn't take Pascal seriously.]

Pascal Givet

March 7

RE : excuses, RE: RE : RE: RE : prix l'h™tel (Bates Motel
Cher Mr Serge,
Je vous remercie de votre reponse et aussi je voudrais vous dire que je doit faire un voyage important dans votre localité pour les chambres d'hotels , ne vous en faites , je vais reconduire ma réservation au norman.
Pour les billets d'avions , je vous offre la somme de 800€ si vous me rendez ce service . Je suis en attente de votre reponse pour vous faire parvenir mes cartes de crédit pour que vous puissiez faire la transaction des billets d'avions je vous demandes de prelevez sur mes cartes de crédit la somme de 5000€ qui est le prix des billets d'avions et 800€ pour votre commission car c'est vous qui allez me rendre ce service et non pas le norman. ( ce n(est pas vous qui allez achttez les billets d'avions , je voudrais que vous sachiez que ce n'est pas vous qui alliez payez mes billets d'avions je vous demande seleument un service dont je vous donne 800€
Mr Givet

[Thanks for your response and also I would like to tell you that I should make an important trip to your locality for hotel rooms, do not do (anything?), I am going to renew my reservation with Norman.
For the airplane tickets, I offer you the sum of 800 euros if you do me this services. I am waiting for your answer so I can give you my credit card number so you can make the transaction with the airplane tickets I asks you to debit my credit card the sum of 5000 euros which is the price of airplane tickets and 800 euros for your commission as it is you who is going to render me this service and not the Norman. It is not you who will buy the airplane tickets, I would like you to know that it is not you who will buy the airplane tickets I ask you owenly a service which I give you 800 euros.
Mr Givet]

[sends it twice, and then on the 15th, twice]

Pascal Givet

Cher Mr Je suis en attente de votre reponse pour vous faire parvenir mes cartes de crédit.
pour le prélèvement de la somme de 5000.00€ et de 800.00€ pour vous comme frais de commission.
Je reste à l'ecoute.
Mr Pascal Givet

[Dear Mr
I am waiting for your answer so I can give you my credit card for the charging of the sum of 5000 euros and 800 euros for you as a commission.
I wait to hear from you
Mr Pascal Givet]

[Serge finally gets around to answering.]

Serge de Nimes

Encore désolé, j'avais préparé mes papiers d'impôt infernales pour le comptable. On suppose que vous ne payez pas des imp™ts dans votre quartier. Quel serait le point ? Il s'enroulerait seulement vers le poche d'un bureaucrat.

Regardez, parlons simplement. Quel est ton jeu ? Évidemment tu ne projetes pas en 'voyage d'affaires ' et tu es en Côte d'Ivoire, pas dans Maroc, et tu n'as pas répondu à ma question.

Norman est très naïf dans des affaires. Peut-être si tu me dis ce que tu veux vraiment, nous pouvons faire des affaires. Autrement cesse de perdre mon temps. Ce n'est pas le jeu de l'enfant.

En outre, tu ne dois pas envoyer chaque courrier deux fois. Deux fois.

[Serge switches to the familiar ('tu') form, instead of the more polite or formal ('vous'):]

Again sorry, I have been preparing my infernal tax forms for the accountant. I guess you don't pay taxes in your part of the world. What would be the point? It would only wind up in the pocket of some bureaucrat.

Look, let's talk plainly. What is your game? Obviously you are not on a 'business trip'. And you are in Ivory Coast, not in Maroc, and you did not answer my question.

Norman is very naive in business affairs. Maybe if you tell me what you really want, we can do business.

Otherwise stop wasting my time. This is not child's play.

Also, you don't have to send each mail twice. Twice.]

[More to come?]