Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Import / Export
I'm feeling rather chipper today. The sun is shining and last night I sold a couple of antiques for a dealer friend to someone on the other side of the world. That means a little commission, and - in these straitened times - every little bit helps.
As the second stone-carver in the world to have had his own website, I really ought to exploit the average British antique-dealer's lamentable ignorance of all things I.T. and try to sell more to my overseas customers. These customers were hard-won and are even harder to keep, but there is still plenty of disposable income out there, and small, postable curios are cheaper now than they ever have been.
The other bit of good news is that the arcane Volvo part that I ordered from an overseas dealer appears to have arrived. I say 'appears to', because I had a note from Royal Mail stuck through the letter-box yesterday, which lied about the time, and they will probably lie about which bell they rang as well.
I was driving the latest Volvo shortly after acquiring it, when a warning light came on the dashboard. Without a dedicated laptop, it is impossible to know the significance of the warning, other than that 'engine efficiency may be impaired'. There is also a strange, high-pitched electrical whine just after starting the engine which sounds as though someone is completing their ablutions under the bonnet by using a Dyson 'Airblade' (TM) hand-dryer.
It turns out that my model of 850 is one of a handful to have been fitted with a special pump which blasts air into the filter before mixing it with the fuel (not a turbo), and they always go wrong through water ingress, due to poor positioning. They also cost about £300 before fitting, which makes it very tempting to ignore the fault and suffer the consequential increase in fuel-consumption.
Not me though - I scoured the internet and found a brand-new air-pump sitting on the shelf of a back-street parts-dealer in Istanbul, Turkey, who has the I.T. nounce to send his wares all over the world and receives unsolicited testimonials from all his (fictitious?) customers. The pump cost just over £100 (in U.S. dollars), which compared very nicely with all the dirty, second-hand ones being sold from the U.S. for the same price. Result - I hope.
I recently contacted the Turkish dealer, to see if he could trace the part which was sent by USPS and was late in arrival, using the tracking number provided by them. Why do carriers bother to give people tracking numbers? They never work and I have come to the conclusion that they are simply a device to put you off the scent when trying to trace the package which is creeping around the various countries, as the courier makes attempt after attempt to read the address on it using a barcode which does not even name the country of destination, whilst ignoring the hand-written and detailed delivery information right next to it.
In the end, the Turk and me ended up having a universal conversation in broken English about football, during which he told me that his local team were due to play in Manchester shortly, and I wished him every success. He - in turn - wished me every success in receiving the air-pump, but made it clear that the delivery was now out of his hands.
I have never had a bad experience buying items from other continents - it is almost as if the sellers try even harder to please, for fear of being thought of as inefficient. I bought a top-quality replacement Volvo manifold component from India once, at a quarter of the price that Sweden would have charged.
This part has been paid for by last night's little transactions, and I had better go to the post depot to find out if USPS has broken it in transit. Wish me luck.