Spaghetti with Ginger Meatballs; how to get a free phone… the complicated way.

I so love dealing with the French phone company.

I few months ago I decided to see if a faster internet connection was available for our little backwater.

I went to the Orange office, identified myself (with copies of my bills as proof), stated my mission and waited my turn.

After about 20 minutes I spoke with an agent who, after 5 minutes of working on his computer, told me that of course a faster connection was available and gave me all the information.

Then he told me that I had to order it on-line; that he, in fact, could not place the order for me (which is how it used to work).


I spent the next morning learning my way around the Orange website (not easy) and finally managed to change my contract to one with more bandwidth (or whatever).  The papers came in the post, I signed and returned them and all was fine.  I can now almost watch a video without gaps for downloading…. Almost.

Last week I got an email from Orange telling me that I had enough points to get a new phone. I have no idea how I earned these points or that I even had points, but that's immaterial. 

I could get a new phone…. Maybe even a fancy smartphone!

I went to the Orange website, feeling confident that I could handle this easily.


I won't go into the gory details, but, after 3 hours of pulling my hair and cursing, I had found and selected a phone.

I clicked 'order'.

A message came up telling me that I had to go to the Orange store 'nearest me' to complete the transaction.  I assumed it had something to do with me trying to combine my internet contract with my mobile phone contract.

Yesterday I went to the Orange store, once again.

I had all my paperwork with me, once again. (Yes, I know it's all online, but the French love actual paper.)

I gave them my name, my mission, and waited… about 45 minutes this time.

The agent was very helpful.  We went through all the paperwork and he explained that he could combine it all and save me 18 euro per month – and I could get my new phone.

I had narrowed my choices down to a Blackberry and an HTC. 

We went over to get my new phone (so excited!!!) and he said that will be 99.00 euro, please.

I said: WHAT?????

It's supposed to be free!

He said that if I ordered it on the internet it was free but in the store it was 99.00.

On the internet I had 2900 points – enough for a free phone.

In the store I had 2780 points – enough to allow me to buy the phone for only 99.00 euro.

There is never any point in arguing.

It simply is what it is.

I explained that I couldn't order it on-line without signing up for an entire duplicate contract, for the mobile, the internet, the land line…. the works.

He said he understood that, but to get the free phone that's what I had to do.

At that point my eyes must have glazed over….

I said (in French, of course) 'I think I don't understand you'.

He wrote down his name and told me to order the phone on-line, get the new contracts, bring them to him next week and he would combine it all and straighten it out for me.

So I ordered the phone, (it's free) it will be delivered in 3 days, with the new contracts, I presume, which I will then take back to the Orange store to get back to the same place I was yesterday.

It's rather like a Mobius Strip.

It makes my head hurt.

I hope I understood him….

I hope he can sort it all out…..

I hope my new phone works…..

I hope I like it…..

I think I'll just have some meatballs to console myself / celebrate.

Yes, these really are a very vibrant red….

Ginger Meatballs Spaghetti with Ginger Meatballs   Fresh ginger and a bit of soy sauce add a subtle Asian flavor to these meatballs.

Preparation and cooking time: 35 minutes

10oz (300gr) ground beef

1 egg
1/4 cup crumbs
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs minced ginger, divided in half
2 cloves garlic, divided in half
1 onion, divided 1/4 / 3/4
1 tbs dried parsley, divided in half
1 tbs dried thyme, divided in half
3.5oz (100gr) spaghetti

half of the ginger, garlic, herbs, 3/4 onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
15oz whole tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
1/2 red bell pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Mince garlic and ginger. Roughly chop onion, then mince 1/4 of it. Roughly chop pepper. Roughly chop tomatoes, reserving all juices.
In a large bowl, lightly beat egg with a fork. Add bread crumbs, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, half of the ginger, garlic, herbs and the 1/4 minced onion. Mix well, add beef, mix well (use your hands). Form into meatballs, about 1.5" (5cm) in diameter.
In large nonstick skillet heat oils over medium heat. Add paprika and sauté briefly. Add remaining onion, garlic, ginger and pepper. Sauté until tender and onion is transparent, 5 – 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce and remaining herbs. Heat to a simmer. Drop the meatballs in carefully, trying to keep them separate. Cover and simmer until meatballs are done, about 15 minutes. Stir once or twice.
When pasta is done, drain and put into a large bowl. Pour meatballs and sauce over the top and serve.

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In addition to this, for the week of April 1 we have Tuna with Mustard Cream, Sweet and Sour Pork, Velvet Soup, Pasta with Ham and Asparagus, Chicken Breasts Balsamic, Beef and Vegetable Pie….

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14 thoughts on “Spaghetti with Ginger Meatballs; how to get a free phone… the complicated way.”

  1. The meatballs are a lovely consolation. Unfortunately, phone companies are the same all over the world. I live in New York and have contracts with 3 separate companies, due to the bizarre logic of phone plans. While living in London, it took 3 trips and several weeks to get a single phone line. I should have made meatballs.

  2. Nothing is worse than dealing with these communications companies. I would rather eat your meatballs every night for a year and would happily do so if it meant I never had a phone problem again ! Bring them on, they look so droolworthy !

  3. Oh Katie, tell me this phone business is just an April Fools Day joke. :):):)
    Oh well, you wanted to live in France. 😉

  4. It’s nice to know it’s like this all over. I can’t begin to count the hours I’ve spent trying to get things straightened out with Verizon.

  5. The recipe looks wonderful, a must try.
    I used to spend hours on the phone with Nextel fixing problems with our company phones. At least I was being paid to be on hold!
    I don’t think there is a phone company that doesn’t have by our (meat)balls!

  6. Oh my, just reading the whole thing made my head hurt! lol. What places make people GO through!! Well, let me just say this – your Spaghetti doesn’t look anywhere near that complicated and it looks delicious!

  7. Elle, that’s what I’m scared of – that I do something that will cause it all to go aways and 3 weeks to get it back LOL
    manningroad, and phones (and life) used to be so simple!
    brass frog, Yes, it’s my choice… sigh….. No joke!
    Pam, usually I just put my head in the sand and ignore it all. This was too tempting.
    Belinda, he was nice – hope he’s there (and still nice) when I go back.
    Val, well, that is always true 😉
    Ina, sometimes that method is truly madness.
    Thanks, Joy
    Tamara, we do love meatballs…
    Ellen, we have to pay to call the phone company – that’s why I go to the store ;-))
    Ruth, yes, it’s alive and well here….
    Shelby, the meatballs are much simpler than the phones LOL

  8. We love meatballs and meatloaf and love to experiment with different seasonings fresh ginger and a bit of soy sauce add a subtle Asian flavor to these but with the thick tomato sauce they still belong on spaghetti.

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