Sunday, April 01, 2007
The carpenter, the Zimbabweans and the gays
I enjoy hearing about non-food uses of Tupperware products. This week I meet Jim, who has ordered some FridgeSmarts not for storing his veg in the fridge, but for storing biscuits. And not edible biscuits either, but those little beechwood lozenge-shaped "joining biscuits" used in carpentry. When I deliver his order, Jim takes me on a tour of his workshop, where I snap this photo after he decants his biscuits into his new FridgeSmarts. They need to be kept away from moisture, lest their precision cut size expands, and Jim reckons that the FridgeSmart is ideal for this.
Jim is a former yachtsman, and says he swore by Tupperware on board. He reckons it protects food and equipment from salt, water, wind and knocks. He suggests to me that Tupperware targets the sailing market, and I pass this on to my distributor. Jim came to Tupperware via his ex-wife, who was a consultant many years ago. Mind you, he explains, she used her "Tupperware parties" as a cover for an affair, so it could have gone either way, with Jim developing an aversion to Tupperware instead of a penchant.
I wonder if my name is being passed around the ex-pat Zimbabwean grapevine? Or perhaps some Zimbabweans have been shopping in The Savanna, where I left some catalogues last month. Either way, this week I have had a sudden flurry of phone calls and emails from UK-based Zimbabweans all wanting Tupperware. One woman explained how she and her family had to leave Zimbabwe in some haste a few years ago, and without provision for taking their housewares with them. She was thrilled to track me down through Google, and I have provided her with an order form and catalogue, which she is probably marking up as I write this, recreating her lost African kitchen.
I am volunteering at the 21st London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at London's new BFI Southbank (the former National Film Theatre). Mostly I am involved in hospitality, making sure visiting film-makers, press and other guests are happy and catered to. This involves providing snacks, drinks and friendly chat at receptions and pre-screening events in the Green Room. So imagine my distress at finding a few drab dishes and plates for serving, and no storage at all. One quick bus trip home and, as you can see here, I have equipped the Green Room with Eleganzia Bowls, Mini Maxes and Expression dishes, all with Tupperware seals to seal up any extras and keep them fresh for the next event.