Monday, August 24, 2009

589 Part Q

589 Part "Q."

This simple device is popular in the far east and among women from that region here in the States.
A simple container for shoes. Protects 'em from dust and dirt and low flying objects. It's made in Taiwan and not easily available in this country -- at least in places without a Chinatown. Swing-down doors, plastic hinges, nice fake cherry veneer. Holds lots o' shoes.

There is one known source for these things here in America, a furniture store in Ridgewood, Queens. But they ship nationwide. So when an older one finally broke beyond repair, a new one was ordered. Cheap. One hundred thirty five bucks. Shipping wt. 55 pounds. Assembly required. Words that strike terror into the hearts of some of the bravest.

It comes wrapped such that an atomic explosion would not damage it. It takes a wrecking crew working with box cutters, crowbars and blowtorches to get it out in the open. It comes in 114 parts. The instructions carefully identify each part. But the parts themselves are unlabeled. One hundred fourteen parts, some of which no one in America ever has seen before. Hardware that you'd call exotic if you were a collector. Wooden dowels, plastic grommets, metal clamps. Enough stuff to make Bob Vila shudder and run.

Easy assembly, says the obviously translated instruction sheet. Always a lie. It takes about an hour and a half to get the bare bones done. That's the back, the sides and a few cross pieces for stability. Then comes the really bad news: One of the 114 pieces is missing. One teeny, tiny piece of metal is going to hold up the works for how long?

A call to the store and a pleasant woman says "send us e-mail and we'll send you the part tomorrow."

It's called "Part 'Q'." It's worth less than a dime, maybe less than a nickel. It can be sent in a business size envelope for 44 cents. Do they have an extra, one they can just send out? It's not worth asking. Let's just take her at her word. But there's a distinct feeling here that Part Q will never arrive. And it's not something you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's.

Part Q, where are you? And will the shoe box ever be finished? Stay tuned.

Shrapnel:

-- Will Bill kill? Apparently not. But Long Island is way WAY overdue for a major hurricane.

--Here's a Bill who DID kill, former Lt. William Calley, who finally apologized for the My Lai massacre during a talk he gave at the Columbus, Georgia Kiwanis Club. If we can "forgive" the Lockerbie bomber, can we forgive this guy? Over my dead body.

--A former employee scored the winning bid on Ebay and now is the proud owner of one of the few known examples of an NBC chime set. The originals are all mini xylophones with the notes G-E-C. But some later ones were mechanical.


I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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