Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carrefour is not my favourite shop but I went there tonight to buy a bed, in advance of a houseful of guests at the end of the year. The girl was charming and the transaction was duly done but, along the way, she confided that most of the things on offer in the catalogue I was perusing were no longer available. As this was a loose-leaf binder, the rejoinder was obvious. But I never made it. Paying for the bed naturally involved the showing and photocopying of my ID card, which contrasted markedly with DHL’s not asking for this when they delivered my new passport this morning. I would have thought the latter was worth more than a bed but, on the other hand, maybe I look like the sort of person the packet was addressed to and the guy just took a chance. Or maybe there’s just no logic at all.

We may be deep into an economic downturn from which Spain looks like taking a long time to emerge but there’s no end to public works all over Pontevedra. Especially disruptive roadworks. It’s been like this for at least ten years and, given the slow pace of it all, my guess is the current works will just be being finished when the first post-recession round begins. Assuming Spain has solved its debt crisis by then and can borrow enough money to throw at even more civic improvements.

Talking of the parlous economic situation, you might have expected this to be reflected in reduced sales of tickets for the two humungous lotteries that take place here at Christmas. No chance, it seems. Hope springs eternal, even if numeracy doesn’t.

So, the estimable Franz Beckebauer thinks that the FIFA voting system – under which Russia and Qatar gained the most recent World Cup awards – is a mockery. Well, he’s on pretty safe ground there. There’s probably only about twenty people in the world – plus the populations of these two countries, of course – who are going to disagree with him.

Finally . . .I wonder why you can buy a Kindle e-book reader for 98 dollars in the USA, against 200 euros (around 265 dollars) in Spain. Possibly the same reason why ADSL prices, inter alia, are so high here. Though I don’t know what this is.


Mike the Traditionalist said...

If you buy the basic kindle with wi-fi from Amazon in the USA you can get it for 147 euros and that includes vat. They ship free to Spain.

Sierra said...

Items: USD 139.00
Shipping & Handling: USD 20.98

Total Before Tax: USD 159.98
Estimated Tax To Be Collected:* USD 0.00
Import Fees Deposit USD 28.80
Order Total: USD 188.78

i.e. €147 includes shipping & import fees.

Also Amazon are using the "dynamic currency exchange" scam if you ask for it to be priced in euros or pounds. If you have a reasonable credit card it's better to buy in dollars

Colin said...

Thanks, folks. I guess the 99 dollars is for buying it in the States, perhaps from a cheaper source than Amazon.

Mike the Traditionalist said...

And remember if you ever buy anything from the USA which will attract import tax try to pay the vat (iva) in the USA otherwise you are going to have a battle just trying to pay import duty to the Spanish Customs in Madrid.

Anthea said...

Our experience of DHL is not good. We ordered books from Germany which never arrived in Spain. DHL said they were "in transit" but the suppliers said there was no evidence of them having entered Spain. Apparently parcels go astray on a regular basis. Think yourself lucjy you got your passport, never mind not having had to sign for it.