I'm in a state of total fucking disbelief. I've decided that
International Moving Companies are a massive scam. They exist to milk
as much from corporate moving reimbursement as possible.
Since flats in London are 90% of the furnished variety, and since none
of our appliances are 220 (except our laptops), we're getting rid of
furniture and electronics.
So, I've whittled our move down to a few key areas:
- paperwork, CDs, and miscellaneous keepsakes
The rest is just noise, and appears in our checked and carry-on luggage.
Now, when I ask people for an in-person moving estimate, they direct me
to some stupid web page first. The form on that page usually looks like
PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY:
[ ] BAND SAW [ ] COMMERCIAL DRYER [ ] JUNGLE GYM
[ ] FLAGPOLE [ ] DRYCLEANING GEAR [ ] SWING SET
[ ] GARAGE DOOR [ ] BED (4-POSTER) [ ] SWIMMING POOL
[ ] BRICK (TON) [ ] CHANDELIER [ ] CAMARO + CINDERBLOCKS
So I kind of scratch my head and go "um, none of the above?" and they
drop me like a hot rock.
I spoke to a longtime friend who has done the expat thing many times in
his life. According to him, oil company stooges are the worst. You'll
walk into a merkin's house in Lagos and there will be all the family
antiques. He goes to parties in penthouses where dining tables have
been hauled from Nebraska and fill all available space in whatever room
they're stored. Basically some midwestern housewife is handed an
expense form by her husband, told "the movers will be here on Tuesday,
so just show them all our stuff" and then sort of by default has them
ship anything not nailed down. The moving companies count on this.
These people run 110V heavy appliances like washing machines and
refrigerators from foreign power, just using a converter. What, they
don't have refrigerators where you're going? Is your dishwasher
really that precious to you?
Add to that the fact that moving and shipping companies seem to all be
crooked (been looking at http://movingscam.com) and the whole thing just
seems so not worth it. At this point I'm ready to just pack it all up
myself and ship UPS and USPS.
What a goddamn racket!