Sunday, March 20, 2011

No Pole Dancing

Not my garden...
My TWDB and I went in search of a coffee table for his des res yesterday morning. A simple operation you might think, especially as he'd found one he liked on the internet in a local shop, Cocktail Scandinave.

We went in my car as I have an estate with a sizeable boot, crossed town and found the place. All furniture plus shops now seem to be designed along the lines of Ikea where you follow a predestined route which takes you on a visit of absolutely everywhere whether you want to see it or not.

We found the section with coffee tables and spent a while comparing them before deciding on the one he wanted. Then we had to find out how to buy the thing. Wending our way back around the shop in a seemingly endless search for a till we eventually came across a customer service block.

My TWDB told the young man which coffee table he would like to buy, and the young man went to the computer to look it up. Not in stock. When would it be in stock? Mid-May. What about a different one? Not in stock, would be in stock at the end of May. Two months! Gone are the days it seems, when you can walk into a shop, choose a product other than food or clothes and walk out with it. No, you have to wait for it, for months, and then when it arrives you have to put it together yourself!

Their stock system was so bad, they couldn't even keep up with demand. Ikea, of course, has a much more sophisticated system where things are usually in stock (although not always), but they didn't have a coffee table that looked anything other than crappy. My TWDB was not prepared to wait two months so we headed towards the door.

I noticed some nice parasols in the entrance and, with the glorious weather, got seduced into believing I needed one. I went to the girl on the till by the door and asked how I could go about buying one as there were none in view apart from the ones on show, and she told me I had to go back upstairs to her colleagues there.

Honestly, what a palaver! Back to the same guy, a wait while he was on the phone to check the stock of something (it wasn't in stock), then dealt with the person in front who wanted to know if something was in stock (it wasn't) and finally to me. I wanted either a terracotta parasol or a blue one. Unsurprisingly, the terracotta one was out of stock so I went for the blue one.

I was given an invoice and told to go round the corner to deliveries where I would be able to obtain it as it was not in the shop itself...

Back to the car, round the corner, another wait in the reception of deliveries, then an even longer wait while someone got an entire kitchen brought out and someone else got a bathroom. Had I not already paid, I would by this time have given up, but was obliged to hang on to the bitter end. What a system!

Eventually, it came and we got it in the car and went in search of a coffee table elsewhere, fruitlessly it turned out.

Back home today, I decided to put the parasol up and into the garden table. The weather was beautiful and I wanted to sit out and have lunch under the parasol. It's a pretty big one, but I assumed that parasol poles come in standard sizes to fit garden tables. My eldest and I dragged it out of its box and exerted our muscles to the tricky task of fitting it in the hole.

Imagine my fury when I discovered that the damn pole was too big for the table hole! Swaying precariously around, there was no way it was going to make contact, so we had to abandon the mission, which means I'll have to take the damn thing back.

Buying it was complicated and time-consuming enough, I'm dreading the thought of the hurdles I'll have to jump to get a refund.

So, the weekend's shop in summary: impossible to buy a decent coffee table on the spot, and parasols do not come in standard sizes for all garden tables.

I cannot understand people who love shopping. I find it a nightmarish experience full of frustrated expectations. Frankly, the less I do it, the better for my blood pressure (and purse).

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