Measuring it wouldn’t tell you anything about its size

Admiral does something quite simple: it stores things.

Now in doing this one of our prime concerns, and indeed one of the concerns of our customers, is that we know about dimensions: how big are the items to be stored, how big is the storage space we have available.

If this seems fairly straightforward and clear to you then you are clearly one of our sort of people.  You believe in such issues as height, width, and depth.

So basic is all this to our everyday work that it comes as a bit of a surprise to find out that not everyone actually goes along with this version of the universe.

For it was reported a while back in New Scientist magazine, a strange encounter between a man who wanted a bag and a motoring accessories chain of shops – which, as with most shops these days, sold things online.

He found a “large tool bag” on the virtual store but noted that no dimensions were given – which meant he couldn’t work out if the tool bag would indeed hold all his tools, an issue which he felt was a basic prerequisite for deciding whether to purchase or not.

He therefore decided to call the nearest physical store of this chain to his house, and he asked what the size was.

“There’s no size on the bag in the store,” he was told, according to the subsequent report in the magazine.

“Could you measure it for me?” he asked.

“I don’t have access to the equipment,” was the response.  Now that was interesting because it seems that the store also sold tape measures.

Disappointed, but unbowed, the potential customer decided to go to another store and ask how big the large tool bag was.

“I don’t know,” was the answer, “it’s just a bag”.

“Yes but what size is it?”

“You want me to measure it?”

“That would be helpful.”

“But measuring it wouldn’t tell you anything about the size.”

Now the story in New Scientist continues on from this point, but I want to pause there because there is something profound in that statement that “measuring it wouldn’t tell you anything about the size.”

The potential customer persisted (which I have to say is more than I would have done at this point) and suggested that, “if you got a ruler and put it beside the longest side of the bag that would help.”

To which the answer came…

“Not really it doesn’t have any size.  It’s just a bag”.

The magazine left the story at that point, but I wondered just how a shop assistant who had presumably been through school, had actually managed to complete 11 years of compulsory education and yet ended up with the notion that measuring a bag wouldn’t tell you anything about the size.

My only guess is that the sales assistant had only ever seen “size” as meaning clothes size – but even so, what had been going on in lessons concerning area in maths, country size in geography, the size of the bits and pieces of matter in the physical universe (in physics)…   Could all of it have been by-passed?

This is, after all, going a bit beyond the old joke that crops up when someone speaks of 1500 cubic litres – which is a joke because a litre is already a measurement of three dimensions.  So a cubic litre is presumably something which exists in six dimensions.

I can understand that sort of comment – it comes from a confusion about what a litre is.  But to think that measuring the bag won’t tell you the size of the bag, really does suggest that somewhere along the line our educational system is failing in every dimension that it exists in.

Or maybe doesn’t exist in.

You can find more information about our facilities on our website at  Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 7839 516.

Admiral Self Storage Ltd
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125


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