Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

I'm planning evil revenge on my suppliers
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The Independent Online

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age...

What's wrong with self-pity? Do you never feel sorry for yourself? I wish I still enjoyed drinking heavily. Narcotics would help, but where do you get them at my age? Running away is always an answer. If only the legs were up to it.

We were in the last moments of the prototyping. You may remember some of this. There's been a year of me and my rickshaw going round the houses. China, Oxford, Wales. Drawings. Foam models, sound rig, prototypes one, two, three. And oh, the variations. Children's version. For women. For young women. Rude boy's one. Idiot's one. Tourist one. All with studio time. All with demonstrators. Three with their own circuit boards. It all whirls around like debris in a twister.

They put a resistor into the circuit board, you know. To help. It blew the whole thing up. Back the box went to Guan Dong on the Royal Mail's special delivery service - just £7.50 instead of 30 times that with a private company. And at five to 10 working days' delivery, well worth the extra wait. Except we're now 17 days into the wait and no one knows where the parcel is, the only functioning prototype. The Royal Mail can only track it to the British border but they won't look for it until it's been missing for six weeks.

Is it lost? We won't know for a month. Shall we make a fourth prototype? But China doesn't have the storage chip with the voice files. So shall we send them a storage chip? But then when P4 is finished, they'll have to send it to England. With Christmas in the way it'll arrive in January. And the problems will be back to what they were in November. How about bursting into tears? That'll help, surely?

Meanwhile, Wales has sent over the three different circuits for the three different characters and two of them are too loud. The one that has the right volume? That's an accident. That was a short in the soldering.

I've gone 17 rounds now and the legs are going a bit. You may be getting weary of this tale of woe. I sympathise. Deeply.

I think I have the answer to self-pity. There's only one decent way out of it. And that is to assume that these failings - the missing bits, the inability of suppliers to follow basic instructions the first time round, requiring every single thing to be doubly re-done - to assume, as I say, that these things are my fault. The suppliers aren't taking me seriously. They hate being shouted at but they now know it doesn't last very long.

So the answer is to escalate the level of retaliation to something so awful no one will dare get anything wrong ever again. Shall I go and live with them until everything has turned out right? Yes, I can see I shall have to go back to China and sit with them and watch them work until they hate me more than anything they've ever known.