Friday, 30 September 2011

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

It has to be said that London is good for shopping. What with Oxford Street, two Westfields and a plethora of markets, it has something to suit all tastes. That is, unless you don’t like crowds. There’s no escaping them, not even when it comes to the weekly trip to the supermarket. Then there is the issue of not having a car. Quite frankly in a city as congested as London, I really don’t see the point. It is true, public transport is far from perfect but even with severe delays the tube moves more quickly than your average automobile.
Which is why I have turned to the internet. Okay, so I have to pay up to a fiver for my delivery, but it means that I get my groceries delivered to my door hassle free.
Or maybe not.
I am now on my third online grocery provider. Poor substitution choices (sorry, but baked beans do not resemble sun-dried tomatoes no matter how you look at it) and wild variations in fillet sizes (think the breast of a sparrow and that of an ostrich in the same pack and you get the idea) were becoming a regular occurrence. Then, items started to go missing. The last straw was when not only my milk was absent, but a pack of fruit and essential ingredients for a planned dinner party were nowhere to be seen either.
So far, provider number three is faring okay. Apart from the small incident of the electric toothbrush packaging that was delivered without the actual toothbrush. Mmm.
It doesn’t stop with groceries. Last week I ordered a bike from Halfords. I was disappointed when it didn’t arrive on the day I had requested. The next morning I called customer services. They were very apologetic and said it would be delivered that day. And I was also offered a reimbursement of the delivery charge. Result.
When I got home from work on Tuesday, a huge box awaited me. Like a kiddie at Christmas I ripped open the packaging and started to put it together. Noticing that one of the brakes wasn’t attached to the handlebars, I consulted the instructions and, still flummoxed, Him Indoors.
Yep, you guessed it. It was broken.
Decidedly begruntled, I called customer services again. They didn’t seem surprised – apparently mine wasn’t the first bike they had sold with faulty brakes. Already more than a little bit miffed, they then told me what my options were: either swap it at their nearest store, or have it collected and, once inspected back at the store, replaced.
There were two problems with these solutions. One, how the hell was I supposed to get the bike with no useable brakes to my nearest Halfords store without a car? And secondly, why should I have to wait so long to have it replaced, bearing in mind that I couldn’t guarantee someone would be in between the hours of 9 and five for the next seven days?
So, four days after my bike should have been delivered I am sat in my lounge with a bust bike behind my sofa and no way of getting it replaced for what looks like the best part of a whole week. I’m starting to think that I should have spent the extra fifty quid and got a bike from the independent shop over at Finsbury Park. Oh, well, you win some, you lose some.
It just goes to show, if you want something doing, you need to do it yourself. And it would appear that goes for getting your purchases through your front door in one piece, too.

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