We had to have the roof replaced on our porch in the summer because the one that had been there since 1901 was leaking like a sieve! So a nice chap called Tim came along, stripped the whole lot back to sky and built a new roof, everything including the rafters got replaced. In the process he broke the light fitting which was no great loss Ė a Focus DIY ďvalueĒ lamp that cost about a fiver.
The trouble started then because DM and I both hate almost all modern light fittings. Somehow they all manage to be either pig-ugly or completely impractical and are often both. We mooched around in a couple of DIY places and couldnít find anything we positively liked, the best we could come up with was the one we least hated. So I decided to see if I could find a second-hand one on ebay.
It was before the news broke about their cheating ways and so I was blissfully ignorant of it at the time. I browsed and found this lovely thing. Itís obviously hand-made, with hand-blown pink glass. It needed rewiring but I knew that would be OK because DM had just rewired another old lamp of mine. I paid the princely sum of £12 for it, far less money than we'd have paid for the one we least hated. It has sat around on our dining table for two or three months since I bought it waiting for DM to buy the kit to repair it, which finally happened yesterday. Itís now got new antique style flex and an antique chain and looks so much nicer than anything we could have bought new. It's also got a 4 watt LED bulb in it so it's really economical on the leccy and given that our electricity bills are the size of the GDP of a small country, any savings are worthwhile.
Weíre both really thrilled with it Ė itís great value, beautiful and well-made BUT I look at it and am reminded that the place where I bought it is cheating us out of tax revenue by exploiting tax loopholes. Iím not happy about that.
Itís easy to boycott Starbucks because in almost every location there are coffee shops from other companies. Itís a bit less easy to boycott Amazon but even that can be done with a little bit more effort. Ebay though? As far as I know, there is nothing else like it. So, do we go on supporting a company that behaves in this way because there is no alternative or do we cut off our noses to spite our faces? I dunno Ė it depresses me to think about it.