This morning I walked into a hardware store, and asked for three metres of light chain. Here is how the transaction went: ▫ "Three metres of chain please. This one." I point to the bottom shelf. ▪ An assistant replies: "Right away, sir," and walks away and vanishes. After an age, another assistant appears: "He says you want some chain, sir?" ▫ I say: "Three metres, please. This one," and point to the bottom shelf. ▪ "Oh, the yardstick is gone, sir." He searches for the yardstick, but can't find it. He vanishes into the back of the store for an age. When he reappears: "I'll have to use my arms, sir. What length?" ▫ "Three metres, please." ▪ "Er, this one?" He points to the top shelf. ▫ "That one." I point to the bottom shelf. ▪ He tries to cut the chain with a chain cutter, but: "The chain cutter is jammed, sir. I'll have to try this." It is a stubby pair of cutters. He applies all his strength, but the cutters won't work. He puts the chain and cutters on the floor, and jumps on them. Both chain and cutters go flying across the floor. But now he's lost the partially cut link. He searches again for the yardstick, but doesn't find it. "I'll use my arms, sir. Ah, here's that link." He tries again to cut the chain. "I'm sorry, sir, but this won't work. I'll try an angle grinder." He disappears into the workshop for an age, then walks out again: "The angle grinder is missing, sir. I'll have to borrow one from Tool Hire over there." He walks across to Tool Hire, obtaining permission to take one out. Then he disappears into the workshop again. One hears the angle grinder starting up, then a scream. The other assistant asks: "What's he up to?" ▫ I say: "He's cutting the chain with an angle grinder." ▪ He coolly walks out of the workshop with a smile: "Your chain, sir." ▫ I say: "Thank you very much." ▪ "Always at your service, sir." OBSERVATION: Out of curiosity I measured the chain: 3.07 metres. It all climaxed in a till that wouldn't work.
POSTSCRIPT: Afterwards I needed to cut the chain in three places. I did it with a Swiss knife, in the shortest of time.