The next morning, I was back in the office and at 11 o’clock in the morning I stood peering at the bulletin board. There were two notice boards: a real one and a digital message board. The real one had birth announcements, a call to participate in the photo contest and announcements for the chair massage sessions. From behind my desk, I looked at the digital bulletin board, which was described as:
‘Our own EBay, where everyone can offer everything for rent or sale, and of course can also ask to buy anything. A selection of the current offers: tickets for ‘Les Mis’ the musical, a green retro designer couch, a houseboat, a collection of comics, and a holiday home in Spain. The digital message board, however, brought out the inner internet troll in people, which they had rightly hidden deep whilst working at the office.
Where EBay mainly knew suppliers of all kinds of junk, the digital bulletin board mainly had customers with special questions. Lana asked for corks because she:
‘Has been collecting all kinds of corks of bottles for a long time.’ I wondered if Lana was drinking more champagne now, and whether she abandoned her Coca-Cola and switched to wine. The corks were donated to Lana and then they continued their way to the Police Station of St Albans City, which, together with the Watford Police Station, sold corks to raise money for the training of guide dogs. This whole process was rather cumbersome, but Lana preferred not to give money because she thought that was too impersonal. It wasn’t as if many intermediate steps were personal, but Lana and I disagreed on this point. The training of guide dogs was in itself a good cause, only I wondered who would buy these corks from the police. What did someone do with thousands of corks? Someone could take them to the day care of their children and use them for the crafting hour. They could not do that on a large scale, because after a complaint by a parent that their child almost choked in a cork, that market would be saturated. So somewhere in the world, someone was saddled with a shed full of unusable corks.
All in all, Lana only created problems with her innocent question. Except for on-her-bare-feet-walking-Catherine, because she felt relieved. She wrote on the bulletin board:
‘I’m saving corks, but now I know who I can turn them in to.’ Which, of course, was fantastic for Catherine, because she had saved corks. The corks gathered in her tin box, the kitchen cabinets were full of them, and the spare room burst out of its joints. Luckily, she had found a solution for this thanks to the bulletin board. Unfortunately, Michael had a very different problem; he put up a notice at the bulletin board because he was looking for people who could help him save Tupperware supermarket stamps.