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Excerpted from Happiness Is an Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein. Copyright © 2007 by Sylvia Boorstein. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"My own experience is that I keep learning this lesson, over and over again."

  Sylvia Boorstein
Happiness Is an Inside Job
, Part 4

Madame Blaise, the antiquaire, had explained that, unfortunately, the unique size of beds made in the 1840s, especially the rounded corners, had required that a special-order mattress and springs be constructed. I was going in person to continue the discussion, but I was unhappy about going. I am, by nature, conflict-avoidant. I was urged on and accompanied by my husband, Seymour, who was angry and who does not speak French. I was caught between trying to please him and trying not to displease Madame Blaise.

"Remind her," he said, "that she told us what the price of the mattress would be, that it was included with the bed, and that we already paid for it. If there is anything extra, she should pay. She is the expert. It is her responsibility."

"Madame is an eighty-five-year-old small-town antiquaire," I countered. "She is not Macy's. You can't undo these things."

"It's not fair, though," he continued. "You should insist that she make amends. If you won't do it, I will. I'll pantomime how unhappy I am. Even if she won't give us any money back, she could at least offer us something like those bedside tables you were looking at when we bought the bed."

I spoke to Madame Blaise in my most elegant and polite French, explaining our shock, our dismay, and our distress about having trusted her judgment and now needing to pay the mattress company 400 euros. I looked pointedly at some of the furniture around us and suggested that she might consider making us a gift of bedside tables as a form of reparation. I ended by saying that we had enjoyed our previous meetings with her and were sad that we were now left with bad feelings, mauvaises émotions.

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