Middle Class Problems: Collection-only eBay items are rather inconvenient ... especially when the seller isn't in

A text, a call. Nothing. And, alas, Robert Epstein's phone had died

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The Independent Online

We recently went on hols to France. Lovely, it was. And eye-opening. In one particular area: that of the highchair.

Our baby has squashed meals into her face for months while sat in a chair inherited from family that is perfect in every way except one: it is near-impossible to clean, thanks to a covering of some hellish plastic that ensures the chasing of couscous with kitchen roll is the work of Sisyphus.

Imagine our delight, then, at being provided with a chariot that could be wiped clean with a mere swish of cloth. What ingenious people these Gauls are, I clapped.

"It's from Ikea," said my wife.

"What wondrous people those Swedes are…"

On returning home, and with our current highchair literally coming apart at the seams, we decided to purchase one of these shining exemplars. Not from Ikea – that would mean driving out of town, searching the warehouse, queuing, the whole palaver. No, we would buy a second-hander, off eBay. Not only cheap (£6!), but environmentally responsible.

Naturally, it was for the buyer to collect. So I drove 40 minutes one night – past an Ikea store, as it happened – to the current home of our new chair, and parked outside. No lights on. Strange.

A text, a call. Nothing. And, alas, my phone died. I had waited 25 minutes. I decided to begin the trek home. Where I found my wife, distraught. "They called two minutes after you left. They were running late. They'd just got home and were looking for you."

Needless to say, everyone was a little embarrassed. Too much so to actually try again. Ikea it is…

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