online: 3 november 2005
modified: 3 november 2005

19 october 2005 returned goods

17:45 Relaxing in the returned goods section of IKEA*. A calm atmosphere that reminds me of the crematorium - unwanted products being returned for new life while their mistaken owners wait, on clusters of upholstered easy chairs (with indoor plants) in a calm atmosphere while awaiting calls by voice and illuminated number...

...i was waiting for '1182'... this the first time i've been in a queue transformed from 'theft of one's time' to a 'gift of life', or of leisure - is it my first experience of queueing as it could be, not as temporal crime but as divine gift?

3 november 2005:
As i sat there (much less harassed and more contented than when in the megastore itself) i began to see this returned goods section as the underworld, or hades, of the materialist tragi-comedy of the superstore - with its heavenly 'showroom', its purgatorial 'market place' and its underworldly 'returned goods section' (the first two at upper and lower levels and the third reached by an outdoor walk)!**

*IKEA is the brand name of a highly successful megastore selling furniture in fold-flat do-it-yourself kits (in which expensive or troublesome parts of the operation are shifted to the consumer). Its owner is said to be more prosperous than even Bill Gates, the owner or gatekeeper of Microsoft (perhaps another tragi-comedy of materialism)?...

** Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia, 1320 (The Divine Comedy), in three parts: Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise). There are many translations into English. I prefer those by Laurence Binyon (in verse) 1933-43 and by J D Sinclair (in prose) 1939-46.

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