On a recent trip to Spain to visit our friend Lisa served one of my favorites, soft-cooked eggs. I could not help but admire the perfection of the unbroken eggshells. Lisa told me she’d used an egg piercer to punch tiny holes in each end of the egg so it would not crack when cooking. I asked her where she had gotten the tool and she said that she’d bought it in Germany years and years ago. I had her write it out in Spanish and tried to find one in Ibiza before we left. I was unsuccessful, but since we were going to England—a country that makes breakfast an important meal with a cozy, not only for the teapot but also the eggs—I felt I would surely find one. It was not so easy. I wasn’t able to find any in London, rather, on a side trip to Northampton at a store called Church’s. Alas alack, they had only 3. I bought them all and was advised to take their email address so I might order some more, which I did. The following is the saga of the egg piercers.
From: Philip Church June 1
Dear Mrs. Russell,
I now have your egg piercers ready for postage. Could you please ring me on (number given) or leave your card details with one of our staff. They will be £11.90 including carriage.
From: Barbara Russell June 2
Dear Mr. Church,
Thank you for letting me know that my egg piercers are there. I tried to call using an access number and the country code added to the number you gave me and I could not get through. I went to your web site and converted the 11.90 in US Dollars=21.60. I would be happy to send you a personal check or a money order. Please advise.
I have used the egg piercer and it works perfectly. I have already given the other 2 I purchased to friends who are delighted. Such a small gift—such appreciation!
From: Philip Church June 3rd
Dear Mrs. Russell,
Thank you for your email; I am afraid I didn’t realise you were from overseas and that you wanted the goods posted outside the UK. I am afraid carriage will be £3.00 making the total £12.90. As our banks charge in the region of £15 to process cheques from abroad you sending a cheque is not really viable. If you go to our website www.theukgiftcompany.co.uk and search for an item called ‘school friends’ you could buy that item online and we will have your address and card details (secure). I will then send you the egg piercers instead of the cottage school friends. As you are in the USA you will not have to pay our VAT so the actual amount I shall take from your card will be £11.43.
From: Barbara Russell June 4th
Dear Mr. Church,
I went to the website and did as you suggested. However, I need a postal code–so I went to the delivery info on the site and requested that they send me the correct code for my address.
I am enjoying the fact that I will order “school friends” and get 10 egg piercers! Our correspondence is reminding me of the book 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book, but it was about a woman who lived in New York during WW2 and she ordered books from this place for many years–never ever meeting the folks she wrote to for all that time though she did get to know then and often sent “care” packages.
Do not expect the arrival of a canned ham or nylons.
Thank you for your prompt replies for such an insignificant sum.
From: Philip Church June 5th
Hello Barbara, [emphasis added]
Thank you for your email. Try putting in our post code here which is NN1 1JW. I am away for a week fishing in Scotland but I have informed my brother Stephen of the possible purchase of School Friends by Lilliput Lane and he knows they are really egg piercers!! He is more literate than myself and smiled at your comments about the book as he has read it.
Please let us know if you have any more problems with the website.
From: Barbara June 6
I have just ordered the egg piercers–the code seemed to work. I will be anxiously awaiting their arrival. Though I will miss our emails across the pond. Hmmmmmmmmm? I wonder if I could be Church’s rep for egg piercers in the States?
I hope that your fishing in Scotland is successful though I don’t know if catching fish is the most important thing about fishing in Scotland.
Now if there is a snafu and I receive a “cute cottage” instead of the egg piercers you know that you will be hearing ASAP from me.
Thanks again for your promptness.
From: Barbara June 17
Dear Philip or Stephen—or whoever is watching the store.
Imagine my delight when I received a notice from the post office that I had a package awaiting. I picked it up today and became a little suspicious at the very small box, but it was from CHURCH’S. When I opened it I found a tiny ceramic cottage—very sweet, but not my 10 egg piercers. It seems that when the order from the states for Barbara Russell came in for “School Friends” someone was not alerted that was really code for egg piercers.
Now what do I do? Do I hold the cottage till I get my egg piercers and then return it? There will be the question of postage. Please advise.
From: Philip June 20
I knew going on holiday was a bad idea. The fish weren’t biting, I had a flat tyre and we sent you a School House instead of egg piercers! Please keep the cottage with our compliments (you never know it may be the first of a large collection) and I will send on the egg piercers.
From: Barbara July 1
They have arrived!!!! I was not at home when the delivery came but my neighbor kindly took them in and left me a note that he had a package from some foreign country. Since I had not ordered anything from Madagascar or Tashkent I knew that my egg piercers were here. I must say that I have dined out on the story of our correspondence and I have several folks who are now requesting said egg piercers from me. You may be hearing from me again for another order and if you want to pass this on to someone else I will understand.