11 January 2014

Disaster Averted

Grumpy Italian Cat repro image.

It’s been a zig-zag week of down, up, down, up.

It’s annoying to realize how much you are at the mercy of bureaucrats and petty officials.  If they’re not very competent what does it matter to them?  They still get their pay on time, don’t they?  There is no impact on them if you don’t get all your stock in time for Christmas.  They don’t have to explain to customers why planned-on Christmas gifts haven’t arrived.  They don’t miss out on sales during the vital December/January period.

Long story short, the wooden items from our new shipment languished at the irradiation company until 8 January, even though they had been treated on 23 December, because the irradiation company forgot to send the clearance paperwork to Quarantine.  Not happy, Jan.

We've all seen gels like this on the bike path, right?
We had already utilized the polite slap technique to see off the earlier nonsense from Quarantine and Customs about our kitchenware (see my blog of 23 December), but we ramped up the correspondence to a full face slap over this delay.  That resulted in an immediate clearance of our stock, and we skipped down to pick it up.  So while the delay sucked, at least we now had all of our goods.

Or so we thought.

I think this girl will sell well.
As we unpacked the boxes we realized we were missing one box.  A vital box.  The Jamie Oliver boards box.  I was deeply suspicious that one of the most high-value boxes in the entire shipment was the one that had gone missing.  Doug was less prone to leap to conclusions and stomp about the house, ranting.  He should try it though – it’s quite therapeutic.  So while I suspected theft and immediately commenced plotting horrible and bloody retribution to all wrong-doers, Doug put it down to the more prosaic issue of incompetence by some official.  Either way, it was a disaster to lose this box.

So began the process of tracking back through the transportation chain, to the other side of the planet.  Our UK packers made enquiries from their end, only to be fobbed off by their Australian counterparts and airily told that there wasn’t a problem and nothing from our shipment was missing.  I begged to differ.  Now my correspondence moved on to become a closed fist clobber on the nose, and boy that had people scurrying in all directions.  And what do you know – the box that the irradiation company said wasn’t missing turned up in their warehouse.  So yay, disaster averted.

Vespa ads are always stylish.
Or so we thought.

We jumped in the car and headed straight to the irradiation company, to collect our goods.  Just as we got to the carpark, as we were literally stepping out of the car and heading for the office, we were called by a woman from the freight forwarding company.   

Don’t go in to the irradiation company! she cried.  Our company is having a stand-up, smack-down, stand-back-up-and-shriek-abuse fight with them over you.  Okay she didn’t say those exact words, but she was quite agitated and said that a very animated argument was currently underway between the two companies, over us.

It turns out that the irradiation company, having forgotten to send our paperwork to Quarantine, leading to a three week delay in the collection of our wooden goods, and then having lost a box while denying any knowledge of it, now wanted to charge a fee for the collection of the box.  There was a heated debate over who exactly had removed the box from the rest of our shipment in the first place, with each company blaming the other.  And yes, it was clear that one – and probably both - of them had been incompetent in the handling of our shipment.  But as for us paying another fee to collect it, I think not, mon chers. 

I'm not normally a big fan of Banksy, but I like this.
We decided to leave the safety of our car to enter the fray.  With my left eyebrow in a permanent state of Arch, I informed the irradiation company manager that no further funds would be forthcoming from us and we had better see our goods right now.

While the brawl went on without us – they were doing a perfectly good job themselves without any help from my left eyebrow - we went off to inspect the missing box.  It was indeed ours, and full of even more good things than we remembered.  So in addition to the Jamie Oliver boards, we now we have a couple more of the beautiful French wooden dough troughs, which look gorgeous when they’re all waxed and glowing, and one extra of the round wooden boards traditionally used in French villages for maturing cheese.

This is one of our classic movie posters.
We arranged for the box to be put in our car and then returned to the office.  Well bye then, we said, as we backed quietly out of the room.  We were entirely ignored, so while the opportunity presented we walked briskly to the car, leaving all other parties screaming and tearing at each other’s hair.  Bellows of You’re a very rude woman!, Yeah well you’re a pig of a man!, and There’s no cause for language like that! drifted out across the carpark.  I wonder when they stopped for a breath and realized that we were gone?

Forgive my naivety, but when service providers make big mistakes that have an adverse impact on you, is it unreasonable to expect an apology?  Apparently it is.  At least there was some seriously raised blood pressure in the irradiation company yesterday.

So anyway, the disaster of the lost box has been averted, and we now have all stock in our possession.  And it’s just in time for our first stand at the Caloundra Street Fair.

A large original poster we'll offer at Peregian.
Yes, the good news is that we have a spot at the Caloundra Street Fair, and will be there on Sunday 12 January 2014.  I don’t know exactly where we’ll be because casual stands are put wherever there is a gap.  But it’s located on Bulcock Street in Caloundra, which is a nice wide street with lovely big trees.  If you plan to visit us, it’s as simple as walking up one side of the street and back down the other, and at some point you’ll find us. 

We’ve been busy unpacking more stock this week, so at Caloundra there will be a new selection of the lovely French enamel kitchenware that has been selling so well at Peregian, a few of the dough troughs and Jamie Oliver boards we collected yesterday, more Deco glass and ceramics, and some really fabulous French reproduction vintage images that I’ll be offering for the first time.  They’re great pictures, some of which I've featured here, that I hope will be well received.

So after a week of down, then up, then back down, we’re now firmly in the Up position.  Fingers crossed that things go well at Caloundra.  I shall report to you first, naturally.

Klaatu was deeply suspicious of the little concrete piggie we brought back from our buying trip.

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