Wednesday, August 24, 2005

On the mother of invention

Okay, so a few months back, I was teasing Doug about his bold choices in home decor, specifically his decision to decorate almost entirely in empty beer bottles and boxes of Tanqueray. Well, someone has come along who can beat that with a sock full of tangerines, and that someone is softwear developer and honorary Womble Jose Avila.

Living on his own, somewhat strapped for cash, and surrounded by empty FedEx boxes, Avila had the brilliant idea to turn shipping materials into furniture. And we're not talking about a pile-of-padded-mailers chair next to a half-smooshed-large-box table; this is actual furniture. Behold the genius that is his nine-and-a-half-foot couch (with center storage compartment), dining table and four chairs, bed, and really-almost-attractive L-shaped desk. And it works! He's got himself a sleep-onnable bed, a sit-onnable couch, and a put-your-computer-onnable desk.

But of course, you can always count on corporate America to have a big old stick directly up its collective butt. Citing the DMCA (pdf), FedEx has said that Avila's website and blog constitute an illegal use of their logo. And they're not too happy about him using all that free packing material.

All of this leads to the question: if FedEx on crack? First of all, Avila's site? Not exactly a FedEx doppelganger, especially considering the "If you are trying to reach FedEx, click here" warning across the top. And if that wasn't enough to send you on your way, the "what is this" section does a pretty good job of telling what this is.

The biggest bucket of stupid, though, has to be the fact that FedEx is missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. Sure, they probably don't want to publicize the whole thing, because poor kids would be snapping up free shipping materials left and right. But what better testimony to the strength of their packaging than to have a 5'6", 165-pound man jumping up and down on a bed made of the stuff? What better way to show the plushness of their padded mailers than to make them into a cozy slipcover?

Instead, though, they start throwing around big legal words to scare a guy who obviously isn't making any money off of it, or else he would have actual, real furniture ('cause let's face it, a guy with a FedEx box bed is likely to be sleeping in it alone) and make it abundantly clear that they have no. Sense of humor. Whatsoever. If I were DHL, I'd hire this guy to make a red-and-yellow bookcase, dresser, and china cabinet to match the rest of his furniture, if only to show that they, at least, can take a freaking joke.

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