Tweezers - Or the Terror of the Tongs

by Dr John Horsey

I don’t know how, but they are forever going missing. I suspect I am not alone in that. Maybe the armchair is full of tweezers?  I use (and lose) the Showgard 902, 6 inch long, fine point ones. Over the years, I have found they are simply the best. I guess it’s a matter of what you are used to, but I can’t get on with spade ends and worst still those angled ones.

Due to this attrition, every so often, I order a pile of new ones from the wholesaler. Although nominally they are £4.39, they are also a legitimate business expense. Allowing for trade discount, saving of tax, reclaiming of VAT, etc., the real cost is rather less than £2. I figure that is cheaper than the cost of the time I could spend looking for a lost pair.  Basically, it pays to keep a stock on hand.

Strangely, it’s almost better to lose them than sell them. While selling them might lead to a gross profit of just under £1.10, if you allow for VAT on the sale and the eventual tax on the profit, you end up with less than 60p.  Add in your time and overheads to make the sale and you’re probably into a loss!

Anyway, a while back, I went off on a buying trip to Australia. Remembering that these things are dangerous weapons and decidedly not for hand luggage, a pair was duly packed in each of our suitcases. Even if Qantas managed to lose one bag, I’d still have the other.

While the loss of tweezers would be a minor fiscal irritation, I was reluctant to consign my best magnifying glass to the vagaries of airline luggage—it’s the type the BPA uses for certificates and costs a small fortune. We checked in at Heathrow without problem and on to Singapore (hot and wet) - similarly from Singapore to Perth (cold and wet). To Sydney (cold and wet) was a bit more of a problem.

My briefcase got pulled out from the X-ray thingy at Perth for a security check. They wanted me to open it. They thought it strange to have a high power, illuminated magnifying glass but, having explained I was a stamp dealer, they were happy with it. It had round edges, so was therefore not dangerous, although I imagine one could set fire to the plane by focussing the sun’s rays!

With the glass now removed from the briefcase, they scanned it again—still a problem! They said the scanner showed something sharp near the hinges. I couldn’t see anything to explain it. I did find a couple of sharp pencils—nope, they were OK, so was the pen, which could clearly draw a nasty line on someone.

Eventually, I looked in the lid pockets—those leather slots for filing A4 papers. Lo and behold, buried at the bottom was one of my lost pairs of tweezers! I hadn’t even seen them when emptying the briefcase of unwanted stuff whilst preparing for the trip. They’d probably been there for years.

They confiscated them and rescanned the briefcase to find it now passed. Security then went into a bit of a conference as to what to do with this weapon of mount destruction. They concluded that an impoverished stamp dealer, who’d only managed to scrape together just enough to go business class, probably needed them more that they did—and handed them back to me.

So much for security at Heathrow and Singapore, but well spotted Perth for saving the world from another dastardly plot!

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