Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lost luggage and shopping


Have you ever seen the peculiar (even by contemporary television’s standards) game show where contestants rush around supermarkets filling their trolleys with the highest value of items in an allotted time period? It is, most certainly odd, but there is a real life example.
Lost baggage is a curse; irritating and somehow unsettling, but the temporary separation of passenger and luggage can have a silver lining. If one is properly insured, and there are many options available, a game-show can ensue.

I have an American Express card, suitably elevated to the point that I am entitled to spend money in the event of a delayed bag; the delay used to be four hours, and has now been inflated to six, but the compensation has also risen, from $400 to $1,000.
Several years ago, flying from Winnipeg via London and Edinburgh to Kirkwall, our bags went astray. It was in the late 1990s and security was less then rigid, so during transit in Edinburgh, when I spotted my bag on a cart that would clearly not make our flight, I grabbed it and boarded. Andrea was less fortunate.

Arriving in Kirkwall at 3.30 on a Saturday afternoon, we phoned the insurance company to alert them to our misfortune and get permission to start shopping. We were advised that we would have to wait until 7.30 before such benediction could be given; we advised them in turn that this was the last flight until Monday morning and the shops would shut in ninety minutes; in turn the insurance advisor in Toronto chose to disbelieve this, indicating that any community that allowed a thirty-six hour gap between flights was beyond his comprehension. We pushed the matter in a strong but forceful tone, and eventually received the OK to shop.
By now it was 4.00, and the town ten minutes away from the airport; we rushed to the high street, and charged aimlessly from shop to shop trying to find clothes appropriate for the weekend, but to little avail. Advised by delightful and conscientious sales people that “Ye really dinna want this one, and can get much finer in Inverness”, but nevertheless snatching the item before continuing, we were able to clothe her in an elementary style, and save the insurance company some $200.

Yesterday, I had a similar experience.
Allowed to spend $1,000, and still having no sight of my luggage, I headed into Limoux.

Now I have to say at this point that not all Frenchmen are slim-line creatures (Gerard Depardieux springs to mind) and although I could happily shed a kilo or two I am hardly a giant, but the shops of Limoux carry a very limited supply of comfortable clothing.
One disappointed shopkeeper, eying this rush bonanza keenly, told me that a certain size, of which he had many shirts, was “tres chic”; he lied, it wasn’t, and instead I had the single shirt available that actually fit. We were both sad, but I ploughed on.

Now I don’t actually know where Gerard Depardieux shops, but I can say with absolute certainty that it is not in Limoux. In addition to the shirt, rather catchy if I do say so myself, I managed to find suitable underwear, socks, a razor and a toothbrush before giving up the ghost.
And now, Friday morning in a rather overcast Esperaza, I wait for JAP Transport Chronopost  to arrive, and hope that my bag remains unrifled and intact.

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