Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Over the last several years, I have griped a lot - too much, perhaps - about the widespread obtuseness and inefficiency one encounters in China, and have at times been close to utter despair as to whether this country will ever catch up to the standards of foresight, consideration, and common sense that we rather take for granted in the developed world.

But the two guys who delivered and assembled my IKEA purchases for me last week - they actually gave me HOPE.

They didn't faff around for 10 or 20 minutes discussing how to divide up the work; they just got straight down to it. They didn't constantly hassle me with trivial enquiries or requests for confirmation of instructions; I happily got on with some e-mailing while they worked quietly around me. They were brisk and efficient, completing the job in a little over 40 minutes. They didn't botch anything, and have to backtrack and start again. They didn't even have to ask where the powerpoints were. And they didn't leave a mess. 

Most remarkable of all, they didn't even have to ask me where I wanted the stuff put.

I mean, it might be blindingly obvious that a coffee table goes in the middle of the room in front of the TV set, and that the tall bookcase goes in the corner, in one of the only two available bits of empty wall space, while the two smaller bookcases might go in the slightly wider stretch of wall next to my desk.... Yes, it's not exactly rocket science. But to have a Chinese workman solve such a puzzle for himself?? Unheard of!!!!!!

Maybe things are slowly moving forward here, after all....

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