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Ittehad Chemicals, Ltd

Requests For Quotes
OPERATION PAKISTANI BALLDROP

This was the second absurd request for quotes that I received. They had seen that I had taken some photographs of toilets. Based on that, they asked me a complicated and somewhat misspelled set of questions about me shipping a bunch of valves and other industrial equipment to Pakistan.

From: "Muhammad Imran Sufi" <ia.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com>
To: Bob Cromwell
Subject: Toilets of the World
Date: Thursday 26 June 2003 09:08

REQUEST FOR SUBMISSION OF QUOTATION:-

OUR REFERENCE NO.PU: IM/8835

Dear Sirs,                    ATTN: INTERNATIONAL SALES / EXPORT DEPARTMENT



Kindly e-mail/fax your most competitive quotation for the items mentioned
below, prices ex-works, FOB and airfreight C&F Lahore Pakistan / sea
freight C&F Karachi Pakistan separately showing:-


·  Approximate gross / net weight, dimension of the packing.

·  Minimum delivery period and validity.

·  Technical literature/catalogue/pamphlet/brochure in English
   Language.

·  H.S.Code (harmonized System Code) for the convenience of the
   Bank / Customs.


Kindly ensure that items being offered must 100% conforms to the given
 details and specification and suitable for our use/purpose.

DETAILS OF ITEMS:

    I T E M                                                        QUANTITY

1.  CAST IRON, TEFLON LINED RUBBER DIAPHGRAM (WITH TEFLON PACKING) VALVES.
         FLANGED TO DIN 2532,          PN-10
         SUITABLE FOR SULPHURIC ACID 80-90%
         TEMPERATURE:-                     UP TO 90C°
         WORKING PRESSURE             10KG/CM2
         SIZE: -     ND 25                                         06.NOS.

         SIZE: -     ND 50                                         12.NOS.

         SIZE: -     ND 80                                         06.NOS.

2.      RUBBER DIAPHRAGM WITH TEFLON LINING (PTFE/RUBBER) FOR ABOVE VALVES.
         SIZE: -     ND 25                                         06.NOS.
         SIZE: -     ND 50                                         12.NOS.
         SIZE: -     ND 80                                         06.NOS.


NOTE:-
            OUR COMPLEATE ADDRESS IS AS UNDER:-

            ITTEHAD CHEMICALS LIMITED,
            39-EMPRESS ROAD,
            LAHORE
            PAKISTAN
            TEL: 0092-42-6306586-88
            FAX: 0092-42-6365697
            CTC: MR.SAEED KASHIF
            SR.MANAGER PURCHASE
            E-MAIL: sm.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com
            E-MAIL: ia.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ITTEHAD CHEMICALS LIMITED,
39-EMPRESS ROAD,
LAHORE,
PAKISTAN.
TEL: 0092-42-6306586-88
=46AX: 0092-42-6365697
CTC: MR.SAEED KASHIF
SR.MANAGER PURCHASE
E-MAIL: sm.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com
CTC: MUHAMMAD MUSTAFA GONDAL
ASST:MANAGER IMPORTS
CTC: MUHAMMAD IMRAN SUFI
IMPORTS
E-MAIL: ia.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com
web: www.ittehadchemicals.com

-------------------------------------------------------

Well, this detailed request clearly deserved a more detailed response. Here's what I sent. For obvious reasons this came to be known as OPERATION PAKISTANI BALLDROP:

From: Bob Cromwell
To: ia.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com, sm.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com
Subject: Re: Toilets of the World
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 22:10:35 -0500


Gentlemen --

I could probably get you these.

In the interest of avoiding shipping damage while minimizing cost,
I would suggest packaging the valves in our innovative immersive
rubber packing.  Not only does it provide a vapor barrier (vital
for preventing corrosion, although your requirement for 80-90%
sulfuric acid resistance largely obviates this need), but it
also supports our state-of-the-art Just-In-Time (JIT) air
delivery system -- what we call the Chuteless Airdrop.

Our recent project to deliver two dozen stainless steel loos into
the Zambian bush showed the utility of our innovative technique.
The rumors about bush sharpshooters had the pilots rather nervous,
and since they were hard-drinking and short-tempered Ukrainians,
we found it very gratifying that the toilets could be air-dropped
from well out of range.  Had they been porcelain we would have
needed to use extra layers, but steel or cast-iron objects are
well-suited to our approach.

Parachute delivery adds unneeded expense in several ways -- the
cost for the chutes, plus the skilled labor required for packing
and deployment, plus the cleanup (including retrieving packages
trapped in power lines or treetops).  One valve per hard-rubber
sphere provides for compact packing in transit, and for final
delivery they are simply rolled out the aircraft's ramp.

This sort of delivery, you can understand, is best carried out
in an open area.  Urban areas are really not well suited for
dropping large numbers of heavy rubber balls from great heights.
Beyond the potential damage to windows and thatched structures,
it can be difficult to locate all the merchandise after their
energetic interactions with multiple angular surfaces.

Now, if you carefully reconsider my brochure page, which you
have already found ( http://toilet-guru.com/ ),
you will see that while I could obtain most anything along
these lines for you, the stock kept in-house is kept rather
minimal to minimize costs.  Our JIT Chuteless Air-drop approach
is used by very few international toilet hardware sellers.

As for the intermediate supplier, I do know of some plumbing
supply houses in Turkey and China (see the brochure page for
further details of one of our Chinese contacts).  Their relative
proximity to Pakistan might reduce the cost somewhat.

The shipping and the finder's fee will be substantial, I
must warn you.  But, as the saying goes, "You get what you
pay for".  I am based in Indiana (that's IndiaNA, with "NA"
at the end, and not India), and the contract will need to
address the following operating costs in addition to the
base cost of the material:
 -- Transport for myself and one or two staff members from
    Chicago to either Turkey or China
 -- Air-droppable shipping containers, to be purchased or
    constructed from indigenous materials
 -- Onward transport for myself, my staff, and the material
    from the intermediate site to somewhere in South Asia
    within 800 nautical miles of your location (see below)
 -- Rental of a C130 type aircraft (including fuel), plus an
    aircrew of three (pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster) for the
    drop mission.  Ukrainians work cheaply, if you can find them.
 -- Return transport for me and my staff.

Careful selection of the staging point could provide air
coverage of both Karachi and Lahore.  Being a fan of Kipling,
I would much prefer making the run to Lahore.  Is the museum
still open on the main square?  As I interpret your request
for bids, air freight to Lahore is on equal standing with sea
freight to Karachi, and it is only Lahore for which you are
considering air delivery.  Please inform me if I have
misinterpreted your request for bids.

As you will have noted, I have not included a precise cost in
this message.  Assuming that the Chuteless Airdrop is satisfactory
to you, I will need to know if you want the cost worked out in
U.S. Dollars or in another currency.  As soon as we can agree
on that, I can start working out precise figures.


I look forward to a message indicating your interest in a
business deal!


Bob

A few days later I noticed that I had not yet received a reply to what I thought was a well thought out and detailed quote. So I enquired as to their interest:

Gentlemen --

We have not yet received your response to our proposal.
Please respond as soon as possible, as we may need to
deploy our available staff on another mission.  This
could leave us unable to airdrop the valves into Lahore.

You might have noticed in my original response that I had also sent a copy to the other address they provided, apparently the manager of the person who sent me the original request. I got the idea that my response may have led to some tension within the Ittehad Chemical Company.

Subject: Re: Toilets of the World
Date: Saturday 28 June 2003 00:51
From: "Muhammad Imran Sufi" <ia.purchase@ittehadchemicals.com>
To: Bob Cromwell

DEAR SIRS,

SORRY THIS IS WRONG INQUIRY WE MISSUNDERSTAND SO PLEASE DONT SEND US AGAIN
ANY THIS TYPE OF MAIL SORRY ONCE AGAIN FOR THIS MISUNDERSTANDING ,

THANKS

However, I had not heard the last from the hapless Ittehad Chemicals! They got back in touch with me for: OPERATION PAKISTANI BALLDROP, PART TWO

Other forms of nonsense