After years of living in Oslo and then paying the insanely high square-metre price for an apartment in Paris, I thought there was very little (cost-wise) that could shock me. I once paid €18 for a glass (not bottle) of house wine in a piazza in Venice. In Oslo, I regularly fork out the equivalent of €7 for bread. Although I consider myself to be pretty hardened against inflated prices, I still baulked at how much the keys (yes, the actual keys) to my little piece of Paris were going to cost me.
When we bought the flat and signed the contract, we were told to make sure that we got all five sets of keys. I didn’t really care when the owner said he had lost some. Whether we had 3 sets or 5 sets, it didn’t matter and I couldn’t imagine this distinguished Frenchman sneaking back into his old 18 sqm apartment for a kip. But when we realized we could use an extra set, I understood why— €184 for two tiny keys!
The keys couldn’t be cut by an ordinary lock smith. We had to request authorization from the building manager and have them specially ordered from somewhere in Germany. We bit the bullet and paid the ridiculous amount but the message of the story here is: insist on all five sets of keys.