Damien Hirst artworks, 4,000 cola cans, nudist customers: all part of a day’s work for Relocasia’s Lars Kuepper.
Ever asked the person next to you at a dinner party how they earn a living and then immediately regretted it? Bankers, lawyers and accountants are used to a feigned response, just like rubbish collectors, data clerks and removal men. But next time you’re seated beside the latter, spend a little time probing and you may discover comedy gold.
Lars Kuepper is the country manager of moving company Relocasia and boy, has he got a few stories to tell. “When I was working in Hong Kong, I went round to a house to do a quotation and was greeted at the door by a man in his birthday suit. Feeling a bit embarrassed, I apologised for catching him at the wrong moment and asked if I should come back another time. ‘No, not at all,’ he said, inviting me in. He then explained he was a nudist, so off we went round the house making a packing list, me fully clothed and him not so. Let’s just say it was a pretty short interview.
“Just before leaving, I told him that I respected his commitment to that particular lifestyle but some of the packers might be a bit sensitive to it. Luckily, he just laughed, and he did pop on some clothes before the removal team came.”
It’s not just the clothing-averse who require Relocasia’s services. Lars has moved various celebrities – though he won’t say who! There have also been some seriously unusual packing requests. “I called one customer who was moving to the UK, and after going through a list of household goods he added ‘Oh, I’ve got a little art collection that needs to go too’. I assumed this meant a few canvas paintings, but when I got to the house his ‘little art collection’ was all kinds of sculptures, antique porcelain and even a few Damien Hirsts. We had to make special plastic cases that maintained a low temperature for 30 days. Thankfully, everything arrived on time and perfectly intact, though I was pretty nervous for the entire month.
“We’ve also moved a couple from Singapore to Japan who collected Coca Cola cans. There were 4,000 cans in total and each needed to be individually wrapped in air-cushion packing material. Oh, and another guy had us move 20,000 bottles of wine from his cellar. And once, we even moved a fully armoured Second World War jeep from Hong Kong to the USA – that required a crane!”
As well as the many bizarre things people ask Relocasia to move, Lars says reassuringly that the company can also be relied upon to treat “a more average relocation with the same amount of care and attention”. So, pick a packer as your next dinner partner.