So today I tried to go and buy a new front door. Because I like to try and support local businesses if I can, I went to the door shop conveniently located in the high street ten minutes down the road.
It didn’t go well.
Imagine you have a shop selling something which doesn’t attract an awful lot of foot traffic and is really a one-off purchase for most people. Now imagine that two potential customers walk in and start looking at your stock while discussing their requirements for precisely the thing you sell. You’d probably jump up from behind the desk almost entirely hidden behind a wall and ask if they needed any help, presumably? Perhaps you’d ask them a couple of questions about what they wanted and how your business could give them exactly what they wanted? Or at least perhaps say hello and tell them to give you a shout if they needed help? If you had any customer service skills whatsoever, you wouldn’t ignore them and stay silently seated behind the desk playing with your phone.
It got worse.
When it became clear that no assistance would be forthcoming unless we actually went and asked for it, I approached the desk and said we’d quite like a new front door, what we had in mind and could they help. I’ve always quite wanted a super power of some kind and it seemed that I had instantly gained the power of invisibility as the teen behind the desk focused his attention on my husband, who was still standing on the other side of the shop. Rather offhandedly, he told my husband that they could indeed supply and fit a door but it would cost money. How much? I asked, because obviously up until that point I’d assumed it would be free.
‘£168 plus delivery, that’s fitting all your knockers and stuff too,’ he told my husband.
‘How much is the actual door?’
‘It’s on the website. Have you seen our website?’
‘Yes, but how much is it?’
After quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we found out the price of the door, but teen said it was supplied unfinished and we’d have to paint it ourselves because it was too much trouble for them to do it (!). FOUR coats, he told us gleefully. Given that kind of the point of us wanting to pay someone else to supply and fit a door was to avoid this sort of DIY nonsense, having to paint the damn thing ourselves seemed a bit much, frankly.
We sort of gave up at that point and decided that we’d go and buy a front door from someone who actually wanted to sell us one and wasn’t going to force us to paint it too. As we left the shop, I suddenly developed the super power of telekinesis and caused all the doors in the shop to slam simultaneously*.
* Not really.