Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Hobson's choice

This would have been funny if it hadn’t been a nuisance. Our bed frame has broken down. Yes, the very bed that I dissembled three weeks ago in the old country and reassembled a few days later here at Water Street. And I was so proud of myself! But apparently IKEA beds are not supposed to be dissembled and reassembled. I have tried to save it in many ingenious ways, but after a several attempts it finally breathed its last. However, we have two fully functional adjustable spat bottoms and two excellent mattresses, individually selected for our particular sleeping habits. So all we need is a new frame.

I find the British IKEA web store and I find our bed frame which is temporarily out of stock. The closest IKEA store is sixty miles away, which is not extremely far away, even though you must the costs of petrol to the price of the bed. But our frame is out of stock there too. The frame comes in dark brown, light brown, oak and white. I want white. Everything else is available.

Naïve as we are, we set out to buy a bed frame at the furniture store at the nearest shopping centre. Here comes the surprise: a standard British double bed is ten centimetres shorter than what we learn is “European size”. And they don’t come at all at the width that our mattresses would fit into.

Back home, I investigate Cambridge shopping web page for specialist bed stores. The World of Beds and Cambridge Bed Centre look promising. At the former, an elderly man who looks like a Lord explains about imperial and metric sizes. He explains that British bedrooms tend to be small. He makes a few phone calls to different suppliers. Yes, he could order a frame, but it would be one inch ("That's three centimetres, you know") wider, and anyway he cannot guarantee that it would actually fit. He recommends a little store in a village some miles away where they make furniture to measure.

I am frustrated, but Staffan is amused. In the village, he goes into a pub and has an ale and enquires the local pub patrons about a furniture shop. They look puzzled. Maybe in the next village. Staffan is still amused, but I am not. We go all the way back to town and halfway to the other side to Cambridge Bed Centre. Yes, they can order a European-size bed. It will only take two weeks. The price is outrageous. The choice of style is limited. In fact, limited to one.

Fotnote: Hobson's choice

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