Wednesday, June 23, 2004

patio furniture was ordered, and now it has to be re-ordered...

I went to Möbel Roth yesterday and ordered our teak patio furniture set. I thought it was all taken care of, and then I received a call around 17:00 saying that the table is no longer in stock. I was given the choice of taking the outdoor/weathered table at a reduced price, another similar table that is double the price, or another table that is slightly different that is actually a little cheaper. I'm going back today around 10:30 to figure out what to do. Actually, it's kind of funny. One thing I've found in Switzerland is that stores do not really carry any kind of inventory. I mean, who couldn't run a profitable business if they didn't have to carry a lick of inventory. Also, stores don't really offer rain checks. If something's on sale and then they run out of it, that's it - you're out of luck! Finally, large stores order a certain amount of stock, and then that's it. For example, last year when the weather was approaching 40ºC, OBI - the German/Swiss version of Home Depot - was telling people that they were all out of fans (no air conditioning in Switzerland) and that no more would be ordered this year. Imagine that!!! You want to buy something, and the store won't make any effort to satisfy the customer. I think back to my working days as a "sales professional" and I think about how much easier my job would have been if I could have taken this approach.
The weather's been kind of crappy for the past few days - cool with passing showers. However, it looks like it's going to improve for the weekend - which is good. Anne (Finnish) and Roger (Swiss) are coming over for a small Juhanus celebration. Juhanus is a Finnish mid-summer celebration where you traditionally light a bonfire, and I'm not sure really what you eat. I think it might be makkara (Finnish sausage), but I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm planning on grilling some sausages, making silli salatti, and then I'll consult with Anne as to what else we should have. We'll light a fire in our patio fireplace, and maybe have a nip or two.
Today, after going to sort out the patio furniture, I'll go to the gym, walk Dave and Jane's dogs, and then I'm making Niçoise Salad (or Nik-o-see as my neighbor Andy said in Monte Carlo when ordering it at a restaurant after a few beers). It doesn't sound like much, but if I go to the gym by tram it takes about three hours door to door. It takes a half hour to get to the gym, two hours to work out, and a half hour to get back. Then, I walk the dogs which takes about a half hour. By then, it's approaching 17:00, I relax for about a half hour, and then I start making dinner (which reminds me, I have to take the tuna out of the freezer).
Other than that, not too much is going on right now. Jo Ann and I kind of figured out the travel schedule for the rest of the year. Jo Ann leaves for NJ on business this Sunday, and she returns on Thursday around noon. We'll be in Brussels/Bruges for a 4-day vacaton in mid-July. We might take an overnight trip to Lugano (southern Switzerland) in early August, and a trip to Nyon and Montreux in late August. Then, in mid-September, we'll probably go to Rome for a long weekend. This will be followed by Jo Ann going to NJ the next week on business, and then Arkansas (of all places) the week after that on business. In October, Jo Ann has a conference in Paris, and I'll probably tag along at the tail end of it. In November, Jo Ann has a business trip to Kuala Lampur, and the following week I think she's going to be in Prague. I'm thinking of going to Chicago around November 12-19, and then I think we'll probably end up going to Vienna for a long weekend around the first weekend in December. It's still not absolutely final, but the plans appear to be firming up a bit - which is good.
That's it for now. Take the tuna out of the freezer...TAKE THE TUNA OUT OF THE FREEZER!!!

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