The nature of this job is that there are sometimes some odd requests. Don’t Do It Yourself is a personalised lifestyle management company, and as such, we get jobs that range from grocery shopping to luxury property management. And in between that? Well, we’re here to do whatever you need done, and sometimes people have some unexpected needs. Case in point: we recently received a somewhat odd request from a client… to find a watermelon. No problem, we thought. Until, that is, we realised that watermelons were out of season.

The client had requested our research services for one hour, and to get the watermelon to him that afternoon. I wasn’t overly worried. One hour to find an out-of-season watermelon. I enjoyed a good Friday challenge anyways; I got this.

I did not have this.

I began with your standard online research, looking up contact details for all the major food outlets in Cape Town – Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Spar, Checkers. When none of the head offices could help, I began phoning up the individual branches. I then tried online shopping (which, I now know, inconveniently doesn’t tell you that they’re out of stock until you’ve given all your details) and came up with nothing.

The hour at its end and I still hadn’t found a watermelon.

I found quartered watermelons, watermelon juice, watermelon flavouring, and even watermelon sherbet. But no whole watermelons.

I had a hundred other things to do but couldn’t stop – I HAD to find this watermelon. I went back and phoned food outlets that were further out the area. In desperation, I called my father – who regularly eats watermelon in the summer – but he merely pointed out the fruitlessness (pun intended) of my task. Thanks dad.

Two hours of research later (one of which was unpaid, because I just couldn’t let it go), and I had failed. I never found the watermelon.

Even at DDIY, where we go out of our way to fulfil our clients’ requests, it sometimes just isn’t possible. No matter how odd a request is though, we still pour our all into it, and more often than not, our all is enough.

So what about you? Have you gotten any odd requests at work that had you pulling your hair out?