Goods and services

We, at college, have just been joined by a student doing his work attachment. He’s very good at PC repair and we’re learning from each other. Last week he replaced the faulty network adapter card in one of the PCs wiht a good one from an otherwise bad PC. He approached me with the defective card in his hand.
“This needs to be stored separately because it doesn’t work”, he said, “or labled so we don’t mistake it for a good one”.
I looked at the small piece of plastic with two chips glued and soldered to it, and a metal plate for attaching it to the PC case. The words “no user serviceable parts inside” did not come to mind, but they do now as I look back on the event.
“OK”, I replied, “lets store it separately in the bin”
He laughed. I don’t think he thought I was serious. I took the card from him and tossed it into the yellow plastic waste-paper basket in the lab. He looked horrified.

I remember locking myself out of my flat in Shepherds Bush one evening, after dinner at Blah Blah Blah with Mithi. It was almost midnight and I had to make a choice: Call a locksmith and pay GBP 140 for him to open my door or break in via a window and, in the morning, pay a glazier GBP 70 to replace one square foot of glass. In both cases the bulk of the cost was from the man’s time.

Once in Leicester I had the Vailant engineer come and replace a small part in my boiler. The bill read:

         Parts: 
1 X Diaphram 40p
Labour:
1 hour 75.00

Last week I had a man come and make a pig’s ear of attaching some wire mesh to my chimney to keep the rats from falling in. I overpaid him 100 KSH and still he had the cheek to ask if I could “add something”. But two metres of wire mesh and one kilogram of binding wire had cost me 490 KSH.

I already knew that the price balance of parts and labour was reversed over here from what it is in the UK but I’m just beginning to appreciate by how much.

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