Monday, 8 June 2009

Speedy Gonzalez .P and a bit of Bricomanship

Motorbike man arrived with 2 pieces of paper for me to look at. I was expecting the long awaited detailed statement of work to be carried out including itemised billing details). One was a Bricomarche quote for 2 windows and a metal door, the other was a list of materials for the replacement garden shed.
He went through the list with me. Hyperactive man had done the research for the first at Bricomarche and no one knew if he had specified opaque glass for the bathroom window, so when I went to place the orders…. Yes folks. I was going to have to go to the firms and do the necessary ordering.
Tuesday was a busy day. First stop was Point.P (what a catchy name!). After waiting in a cue, I had to see the lady huddled over her computer, as she had done the initial quote. I had to explain that the name and the address on the order had to be changed to mine, and that the crossed out items on the list were no longer required. Some of the wood was not in stock and would have to be ordered specially? I said that that was fine. We settled on a delivery date of 17 June between 8 and 10am.
Next stop was a nearby town where I parked at Mr Bricolage. Inside the big DIY store I found some windows, and a counter with wood. There was a queue. Two smart ass Dutch, a French woman and me. I asked one of the men in French if this was the correct place to be to order windows. He replied in English (obviously I need to work on my French accent) that he didn’t know.
Him and his mate had been WAITING OVER 10 MINUTES!!!!
No one was behind the desk, but they could see someone sitting at a desk, somewhere behind the scenes and to their right.
They kept shouting at the hidden person. There are 7 people waiting to be served! Hey! You have customers here! (they did not bother speaking in French much).
A young female assistant hove into view behind the barrier, but this was not her department. This was toooooo much. One of the Dutchmen lifted the chain and started off into the staff only area. The girl looked very alarmed, and stood stock still like a petrified rabbit. Their training hadn’t included dealing with angry Dutchmen in staff areas.
He disappeared and we could hear him shouting at someone, who presumably told him that it was not his department and that he would have to wait for the correct person, who was currently busy to reappear.
Dutchman stomped back into view, and him and his mate stomped off, complaining loudly of shocking service etc etc.
30 seconds later the correct man appeared with lots of pieces of MDF board cut to various sizes resting on a flatbed trolley.
French woman gave her order for a piece of (she picked up a piece from the wood sample display stand on the counter)
I knew that I was in the wrong place but hung on to ask the man upon his return.
I had to go out of the building and to my left.
I found the correct part. It was like a drive-through restaurant, only with building supplies.
Enter the office and join cue of one.
I admire the strange and wonderful items on the shelves.
My turn. Show list. Explain about frosted glass.
Lady looks up computer, but finds that it is impossible to answer the frosted glass question. Perhaps it will be dearer with frosted glass, I say. She thinks that it might be dearer. I say that I will buy some opaque plastic to stick on the glass if that is the case. She starts to get enthusiastic about the range of such material that they currently have in stock in the main store.
Time is ticking on as it is now about 11.30am and everything will shut at 12noon for a couple of hours.
More people are waiting now. This is an excellent opportunity for her to go and find the man who made the quote to see if he remembers if the quote is for opaque glass.
She returns. The man is very busy, but he will come down to see me soon.
She starts serving the queue.
Man appears. She explains my order to him again, and he looks at the computer.
No it not possible to tell if the quote is for plain or opaque glass as the item stock number is the same. He will have to look up the price of that size and type of window on the list. Recklessly I suggest that perhaps it will be cheaper I venture as being non see through, it is actually less useful and you don’t get the same benefits. Now this could go two ways, but he thinks about it for about 10 seconds and says that one could always open the window it one wanted to see through it.
He continues his research and discovers that opaque and plain glass are the same price.
Meanwhile a woman (English, I think) has been trying to order 4 velux windows and an ordinary window. Two of the velux windows have to open in a certain way to comply with health and safety regulations. She draws a diagram in her diary. Lady staff interrupts my expert. He is very busy (It is now about 10 to 12 and lunch shut down is looming) and cannot possibly sort out such an order today. She will have to come back another time. Lady says that another assistant in the shop had told her that if she came here, they would be able to fill her order today. Etc etc etc
She is able to place the velux order with the assistant, but the window will have to be ordered another time when he is less busy. If she leaves her contact details he will contact her. This is the best she is going to get, so that is what she has to do.
The man finishes typing in my order and prints it off. They will contact me when my order is ready to collect. I explain that my car is very small and will not hold a metal door and two windows, one of which is very large.
Delivery charges are added.
What is my account number? I say that I do not have an account. He says that without an account I cannot make an order. I am stumped. I whisk out my bank card and say, do you mean to say that even if I give you the money, I cannot make an order?
I use my card to make a 200 euro deposit, the rest to be paid upon receipt of the goods at the shop.
At one minute to noon, I burst out into the blazing sun. No I don’t turn to look back to see what happens to the unlucky people in the queue. They should have given themselves more time to complete their transactions.

And that is just the first half of the day, with my original reason for visiting the town still to complete….. but you have suffered enough for today.

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