In a mad fit of enthusiasm for all things Idle Eye, I purchased a camcorder off of the eBay last week. Not an expensive one (£40) and not new either, but something to document our relentless march of progress nonetheless. When the initial rush of a successful bid had simmered down, I checked the spec on the reviewer sites, only to discover that the very model I am shortly to own has been universally panned:
- Poor quality video/Image stabilisation a joke/Irritating control scheme
- Focus awful/Shocking battery life/FOUL AND PESTILENT software (sic)
- Unattractive picture/Useless low light performance
- Horrible LCD/This small piece of obscene machinery hardly does itself justice
And so on. But at least it works and comes with an attractive carry case, so I paid up and waited eagerly for shipping details. These were duly sent in a cheery email from the seller the very next day. I was given a reference number, and a website I could go to in order to live track my parcel from Derby to Crystal Palace. Now, according to Google Maps, this is a journey I could feasibly walk in 43 hours if I kept to the M1 and M6 (sleeping arrangements are not mentioned but I would imagine I could do without, spurred on by the thrill of new ownership). So the fact that my camera was to be delivered by one of the UK’s premier courier services could only mean I would be in receipt within a day or two, surely?
Not so. When nothing had turned up for over 100 hours, I had a quick gander at my status. Here I found a bewildering series of green boxes, virtually representing the arduous trek my poor parcel is currently undertaking. According to its unique history, it was collected a week ago, then marked for despatch. The following day, something called a Hub Sorter scanned it and threw it onto a Hub Trailer. Next it was sent to a Depot, processed at same, and scheduled for shipment. The final box proudly declares it is now ‘Manifested for Delivery’. Manifested for delivery? It’s a camera, for Christ’s sake! Not a subversive piece of neo-Nazi agitprop!
This is the legacy of our once-proud Royal Mail, scandalously undersold to profit hedge funds and the like. Yes, it was a bit pants at times, but aren’t we all? And they were reassuringly pants, unlike the charlatans I am dealing with now. This lot have the temerity to suggest they are the messengers of the gods, begging the question: Which ones exactly they are serving? Tedius, the keyholder of infinite patience? Verbose, the supreme mistress of eternal obfuscation perhaps? Or how about Prophylacticus, the virginal numen of delayed gratification? None of whom are mentioned on the website, I note.
Slight addendum. As I put in the full stop above, the doorbell went. It was a thoroughly pleasant courier with a box, a smile and a beard. And winged sandals.