08 July 2012

The Expensive Toilet

A couple months ago, Maïf and I were overjoyed to receive the greatest treasure we could imagine -- a new throne. Our old toilet had been designed by a medieval sadist with a serious caca complex -- and that's all I'm going to say about that in case you are eating lunch right now.

We are overjoyed to finally have a well-designed porcelain portal in our little cottage. Now, each morning when I retreat for a few minutes to commodiously contemplate the universe in solitude, I pause to bow my head (but not too far) and give thanks to the gods, and to the designers at Laufen, the Swiss manufacturer of fine bathroom facilities.

Of course, this being Switzerland, the cost of our heavenly potty could back you up a bit. The toilet itself cost nearly CHF1000 (about the same in US dollars), including various mysterious taxes. In case you aren't conversant in toilet prices, when I bought the toilet at our house in very expensive Hawai'i, it cost about $400. Labor in very expensive Hawai'i for this sort of thing was about $15 per hour. Here, for an apprentice, it was CHF56/hr. Happily, our apprentice was a young woman who lives at the farm just down the lane from us, so we kept much of the wealth in the neighborhood.

Of course, this being Switzerland, the work was superb, with smooth calking that looked like it had been applied by a sculptor. I found this out only after our saucer's apprentice was gone, because before she set to work dismantling the old toilet, I jumped in the car to take care of several suddenly important errands.

The bill just came: CHF1205.95. We will pay it happily. But it's weird to look at your toilet and know that it cost more than your computer. 

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