Itís been five days since I last posted and Iím running out of lame excuses for my unprolificity. But I havenít run out yet, so hereís one more: tomorrow morning I head to Brown University to work the IHS Globalization and Poverty Summer Seminar. Thatís the one I went to as a participant last year. We have a very smart, very well dressed faculty lined up, so I know the lectures will be good. Supposedly weíll also have Net access, so I may update from the road.
I have about two weeks of couch hopping behind me, the highlight of which was the Giant Chalupa Couch in my housemateís old living room. I call it that because the placeís other occupants have a habit of dining on Taco Bell there late at night, letting copious amounts of cheese, tomato, and occasionally entire gorditas fall between its cushions. Thus, if one is desperately hungry in the night, one need only reach into its depths to emerge with a well-preserved (if dusty) midnight snack. I was never that hungry, but it was nice to have the option. Iím sure Taco Boy would have loved it.
Fortunately, Iím now in my own room with my own bed. I bought it at Ikea. Up to now, all I knew of the company was its blatant abuse of eminent domain law. They were defeated in that venture, and now I can say I like their store. They have exactly the business model they should for modern consumers who are looking to buy inexpensive furniture: online catalogue, their stock of items networked and connected to a database, and most of their pieces ready to take home right away.
This is in stark contrast to my attempt to buy a mattress at a local chain. This place had no idea what they had in stock, having to go into the backroom and check for every little thing. They had to call each of their other stores individually to see if any of them carried an item that was out of stock. And if one mattress wasnít available, the wait was about a week to get it delivered. The manager was an ass, too. I left thinking that if I were Thomas Friedman, or even if Iíd just had a fake bushy mustache handy, I would have put him in his place.
ďSir, youíre still trying to sell mattresses like itís 1989,Ē Iíd have said. ďThatís when all the walls came down. I know youíre the biggest discount mattress company in Virginia, but you have to learn to adapt. Youíd better put on the Golden Straightjacket, or youíre going to wake up one day and find yourself asleep in the Duvet of Despair. You donít believe me? I was eating lunch with Prince Hassan of Jordan the other day, and he said that the American mattress salesman is a thing of the past. Thereís an Electronic Herd out there, and its ready to trample your precious box springs and lay down on a Sultan Fšngebo.Ē Iíd have kept that going till closing time, even if no one were listening. Not really. But I do think that mattress company needs to get with the times.
Now that Iíve wasted the last minute of your life (ďlastĒ indicating previous, not final, I hope), I will bring this post to an end. With any luck a week at an IHS contest will inspire something more profound for the next one.