Monday 27 November 2023

Stuff and Allen

Did I mention that we were all up in Dublin recently? I did! I surely did! As well as being requested and required to make enough K'roti to feed a family of refugees for a month, we were also asked to come by car in order to repatriate some surplus bulk goods from the melded households of Dau.I and Dau.II: an ironing board w/o a cover, another cheese-grater etc.

One thing that came back was a small box full of miscellaneous stationery / houseware. The pritt-stick turned out to be a desiccated fossil but the box of misc nails, hooks and screws will get used eventually about the home-place. The dozen [Ikea] Allen keys not so much? Except as Art [R]! Because, like every household in the Western world, I already have an extensive collection of Allen keys.

Remember that famous story about the new airline executive who saved the company his salary by removing one olive from each First Class in-flight salad. Some Ikea exec is going to have a similar epiphany on including an Allen key with each and every flat-pack. They do not, for example, include any spare screws for the klutzy customer who opens the packet and has one screw skitter across the floor and disappear down the heating register. The Allen argument will be that a) everyone will be able to find a suitable Allen key in the MiscStuff drawer in their kitchen b) the company is saving $40,000 adjusted for inflation since 1987.

Remember the 1990s, when every big-assed desktop home computer came with a package of floppy-disks CDs holding the operating system including a spell-checker for Bulgarian. And a chunky manual to explain how to get work out of your new toy after you switched it on. I learned and internalized a lot of keyboard shortcuts from carefully reading the Manual which came with early installs of MS-Word. CDs and manuals cost a single olive money to ship, so suppliers long ago started to lay-off the cost on the internet.  Allen keys are still breeding and propagating though! Hat Tip to William G Allen of Hartford CT who invented the hex-key of which we all have too many.

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