Kathy Fuld etc
Triple up: thousands more drinking glasses
Kathy Fuld is the wife of Richard S. Fuld Jr (sometimes just Dick Fuld). These are not especially household names in the UK, except possibly in banking households. Kathy Fuld has several households, or she did in about 2007 when she phoned me from the USA to buy some Duralex drinking glasses. I sold Duralex from 2006 up to some time in 2008 and phone calls from North Americans weren’t unusual. Duralex France was in trouble at the time and unless you were in the Middle East my website was one of the few places in the world you could buy them apart from occasional boxes of six on eBay. That’s why I set it up. I phoned Duralex in France and they said I could maybe get some wholesale from a distributor in Liverpool. Before long I was receiving pallets of Duralex on my driveway and selling them online all over the world. My turnover in 2007 was over £30,000. Bar owners in the USA were phoning me wanting hundreds at a time, and restaurant owners in London or Wales, private buyers from Norway to Australia to South America and even France itself – all from my living room (plus my garage which was stacked full of Duralex). By 2008 – the year Lehman Brothers went down – I’d had enough of all the box packing so one of my sons took things over for a while. It made money but it was extremely boring.
Richard Fuld was the boss (or CEO or Chief Executive Officer as they like to be called) of Lehman Brothers, a famous financial services firm based in the USA which famously collapsed in 2008 (see disclaimer). Executive Officer seems a daft term to me – you are either an executive or an officer, but not both. Chief Executive makes more sense if you are actually the boss as Richard was.
Anyway I got this phone call. I thought she said her name was Kathy Fold. She said she wanted Duralex glasses for several homes she had. I assumed she was running retirement homes or something and wanted Duralex for safety because they are unbreakable. She gave me an email address to deal with ending in lehman.com so obviously I looked it up together with her name. It was Fuld, not Fold, and the order went smoothly. I was paid in advance, bought extra large packing boxes then sent hundreds of Duralex Picardie drinking glasses via FedEx to an address in the USA.
I learned a bit about Lehman as well. At one point probably late in 2007 I was on a banking forum in the Far East where users were talking about problems at Lehman Brothers – just chat. At least nothing much was in the news. Kathy Fuld was involved in art collecting I think, and high society in New York and other places. She phoned me again a few weeks later and this time wanted my entire stock of thousands more Duralex. I told her that wasn’t possible because I would then have nothing left for other customers and my little business would have to be shut down until the next delivery of pallets from Liverpool. Even so, the same as before, I sent off a second load of several hundred drinking glasses, paid up front etc. And that was the end of my personal dealings with Kathy Fuld.
I’m writing about this now only because I was reminded about it recently as I was watching a 2019 Storyville documentary: Inside Lehman Brothers and because I am reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. And because the British free-market capitalist political party the Conservatives has just won a general election very easily. Why don’t people realise the free market is now f*cking human society? You only need look at the Lehman fiasco and what has happened – or not happened – since 2008. Yuval Noah Harari explains the situation exactly; not about Lehman Brothers particularly but how capitalism is simply a phase in the long-term development of human civilisation (for want of a better word) rather than the basis of civilisation itself. In other words it’s just a blip in the continuum until humans think of something better.
By the way I am not blaming Kathy Fuld for anything, nor Richard – they are only a consequence of now. So is Philip Green who screwed up a major UK retail company on which thousands of others depended for their livelihoods and old-age pensions. Instead of losing his trousers he is probably on his yacht somewhere in the sunshine. Or Jeff Bezos taking over whole cities, fossil fuel corporations, mining conglomerates or any other free-market selfish capitalist sh*t (read about this collapse).
It would be good if Kathy actually did run retirement homes, and did it properly. At least she seems interested in art. If so, I hope it’s because she admires it, not some other reason. Meanwhile Duralex made a comeback. If she needs any more she can now get them anywhere.
Incidentally, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens is a stupendous book. It should be read by every human, especially Kathy, Richard and Jeff. It’s non-fiction, like The Selfish Gene.