Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I Wish You Could Open Up Sunshine To See What's In It

I spent the greater chunk of today varnishing and assembling a couple of Ikea storage box things we bought on our shopping orgy in Glasgow. How sad is that by the way - I mean the fact that going shopping in Ikea is a big treat for us? This trip we did make the serendipitous discovery that going round Ikea on Friday night is a good idea. The place is practicaly empty. Most of the population of Scotland spends Friday night getting themselves plastered, or in hiding from those that are, not wandering around warehouses full of flatpack lifestyles. Sunday afternoon on the other hand, we went back to buy some things we decided we couldn't live without) and the place was packed, a nightmare - full of families with kids all moving at 0.1 miles per hour pushing huge fucking trolleys empty apart from a funky plastic toothmug and a £4 table lamp plonked in the middle. Beats going to church I suppose.

Anyway. These little wooden trunky things: wooden cubes made of open little wooden slats. Half way through shellacing them I was really starting to regret it but the thought of trying to clean felt pen or paint off totally untreated wood was even worse so I finished. It was one of those so boring it becomes hypnotic / addictive jobs. After the shellac had dried (which wasn't long, one of the nice things about shellac is that it dries very quickly and doesn't stink the house out, unlike polyeurathane) I assembled them and found myself the proud possessor of another two dinky little Ikea's self-assembly double ended Allen keys. There's one in every Ikea bit of Ikea Flatpack furniture. I have dozens of the buggers in my workshop. One of these days I will find a use for them (other than dismantling Ikea furniture) I will, I will. That or someone in Ikea will finally realise the scrap value of these things and start placing little boxes in every store for you to dump them in so they can be melted down to make 'Snott' kitchen roll holders or something equally weirdly named.

(Typing Snott and Ikea into Google gets 18,100 results... just in case you were tempted).

This evening, interrupted only by letting my family thrash me at Scrabble, I will be listing stuff on eBay. It's a chaepo day on Thursday and we need the cash now that I am not working again. We also need the space, given my predilection for buying crap (I only bought 14 CDs last week). This will be the first chance I have had to sell anything for a while, what with one thing and another and I am totally confused by the new postal regime. Until a few months ago the Post Office would charge you by the weight of your letter or parcel.

It weighs X grammes? You pay Y pence.

Simple. Easy.

It got a little more complicated when you took into account weight limits for different classes of postage. If an item was too heavy to post First Class it had to go either Parcel Post or Second Class. (Or was it the other way around?) But it was livable with. Like I said; easy.

Then, for some reason known only to themselves, they changed it. Not only do you now have to know how heavy something is but how big it is too. If it measures this by that and will slip through the handy plastic slot on the counter it will be charged at one rate, but if it this by that and won't go through the slot, then it's charged at another higher rate. If it is within a different, larger set of this by that's, and still goes through the slot, then it's another rate - and then there's a third set of measurements... after which I have no idea. They probably make you saw the thing in half and post it in pieces.

It is utterly confusing.

Time was, I used to be able to shove a heavy book in a jiffy bag, heft it in my hand, and think - 'that feels like about £2 worth of postage'. Now I have no idea.

Nor does anyone else.

I'll have to take everything down to the Post Office, see if it shoves through the slot, get it weighed, and have it priced before I can list it. It's stupid. I heard one Post Office official on the radio saying it was a system that worked well in Holland. That explains a lot. It was probably invented one Friday night by two stoned postal workers in an Amsterdam dope cafe and scribbled on the back of a napkin. Made perfect, almost mystical sense at the time, but in the cold light of day....?

I wonder if Dutch Ikeas are busy on Friday nights?

1 comment:

Phoebe J. Southwood said...

nicely done entry.

Maybe windchimes out of the wrenches?

Ikea gives me the galloping whimwhams. Can't stand the place. I go into a coma the moment I pass through the door. I wake up hours later with a huge receipt in my hand for gruntls and stvns.

Thanks for the shellac tip!

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