The true cost of a free lunch

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

I've never been one to write about personal stuff. However the goings-on over this last weekend made me rethink this policy. I was asked to help my seven-month-pregnant daughter and her lovely husband to move home.

Actually, “asked” is a little too complimentary; lured may be the better word to use. Yes, it appears that I will agree to do anything for a free lunch – which in this case involved a hamburger from an extremely well-known hamburger chain. Before I go any further, I need to point out that I live in the country, in a place that doesn't have a franchise of this extremely well-known hamburger chain, and my family knows that I will pretty much do anything in order to sink my teeth into one of its, in my opinion, works of art. But I digress.

Moving home is an incredibly stressful experience and, no matter how much you think you are prepared for the big day, is also extremely tiring. Obviously, using the services of a moving company takes a lot of hard work out of the equation – but why use professionals when, for approximately R45, you can use the services of your mother/mother-in-law. Again, I digress.

Glam it aint!

Hollywood has made moving home look somewhat glamourous. No one has ever seen the likes of George Clooney or Hugh Jackman lifting a fridge or unpacking the four million boxes that contain every kitchen gadget known to man. On the big screen, the whole operation basically just happens by itself. One moment it’s lights, camera, action, as the removal truck pulls out of the driveway, and then “poof” the actors are in their perfect new place looking every bit as un-frazzled as they always do. There’s not a cardboard box in sight and Emily Blunt’s hands are not black as the ace of spades from relieving the nine million kitchen items from the four million boxes and 13 tons of newspaper in which they were packed for safe transportation.

No one mentions the pain of moving. And when I say pain, I’m talking about the physical agony that invariably invades your body an hour after starting. Ad companies take note: sales of anti-inflammatory medication and any other items aimed at numbing muscles would soar if you ran a couple of ads showing the truth about moving home. No hamburger on the planet was going to fix my back, feet, knees, hips, calves or arms and I have to be honest, there was a point (about three hours in) when I cursed the fact that my daughter hadn't listened to my advice about marrying a doctor.

Delivery – and service delivery

Moving home does not a happy family make. My daughter and son-in-law were the perfect picture of marital bliss before he forgot to bring the box containing the kettle. Things basically went downhill from that point and the chirpy chatter that had been resonating when I arrived, quickly descended into a somewhat frosty, somewhat thick silence for the rest of the proceedings. Important note: pregnant woman do not move well.

I’ve saved the worst for last. It appears that the extremely well-known hamburger chain doesn’t deliver. Quite frankly, the idea of “popping out” for a quick burger was completely out of the question, given that by the time we finished, no one had the energy to press the television remote, never mind drive across town and stand in a queue. The only one who may have had enough energy was my daughter. However, according to her, my grandson doesn't like eating extremely well-known hamburgers at night. She did offer to cook – which would have been great if Eskom hadn’t turned out the lights 10 minutes later.

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Eskom Moving Furniture


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