It was a fabulous build day. However, I had to get into town because I’d found these T-hinges for the right price, they had 12 in stock and I needed 24. Last week, the lad had ordered the 12 extra and held the existing 12 for me, gave me the order number and I was due to go back yesterday.
Went in, up to the order desk, gave the number …
Totally blank face. When did you actually order these, sir?
Last Wednesday. Young lad.
What was the name of the lad again?
I don’t know.
Well, can you describe him?
Look, he was dark haired but the point is …
Sounds like Robert. We have five lads like that here …
Look, it doesn’t matter. He went to the very screen you’re looking at last Wednesday, kept the 12 aside in one of your bags, ordered, told me that was done and advised this Tuesday. Will you be here, I asked him. He didn’t know so he wrote the details on the slip of paper I gave you just now, in case something like this happened.
N-n-n-n-n-o-o-o-o, he doesn’t appear to have ordered them. Says we only have the 12 in stock and you say we’re holding those?
No, I’m not “saying”, as in making it all up but you do have them somewhere in one of your own bags with my name on a slip taped to the bag.
Ooooh, I’ll have to ask my manager.
Manager comes over. She goes and looks.
She brings them back. There you are, 12 hinges.
Yes but I don’t need the 12, I need 24. The whole idea was that unless there were 24, there was no point – they have to match.
Well, do you want these 12 or not, sir?
Let me explain again. I need 24, not 12. If I took the 12, there’s no guarantee I could get another 12 matching. Can we possibly order these further 12 hinges, which I needed today because I’m ready to put them on?
She goes into the computer. Ooooh doesn’t look like head office has them in but they’re coming in today.
OK, would you hold these 12, as before and let me order the other 12 now. Is there some mechanism, some way, that 12 hinges can be ordered? Would it help if I paid for all of them now?
Yes, it would guarantee it.
Good, well let’s do that.
Ooooh, I can’t do that. You see they’re not in yet. I can’t go charging you when we don’t know if we have them.
Which is what I thought might be the case. [Do you, in fact, have any cheese in this shop?
No, I was deliberately wasting your time.
Well I’m going to have to shoot you.
What a senseless waste of human life.]
You could go online though and when head office gets them in, they’ll be manifested and then they’ll appear. You can order them to be sent to this store. But they might go onto the floor and we’d just sell them.
Thank you. You’ve been such a help. I had work I needed to do today and have just spent time and money coming in here to have this conversation with you, which I’ve greatly enjoyed. So you’ll keep these 12 until I order the next 12, if and when they come in to head office?
That’s correct. Glad we were able to sort that out.
I said nothing.
Got home, did the things which needed doing, cooked up the meat [preserves it better] and so on. Thought I’d check hinges with my regular supplier. Hey, not bad, cheaper in fact.
Phoned through, ordered the hinges and fixers. So they’re 2 packs, yes?
Mmmmmm, doesn’t say that here, just says pack.
No matter, they’re still cheap at the price. OK, I’ll have 24 of those.
She does the biz.
Um, I’m having a bit of trouble here, Mr. Higham, red arrow coming up, won’t put it through. Can I take that security code again? N-n-n-n-o-o-o-o, doesn’t seem to want to go through. Let me try it on my colleague’s screen, we’ve been having lots of trouble today.
Are you there, Mr. Higham? Yes, we can’t see what the issue is.
Was it the card?
No, that would accept or reject. Seems to be your account. Let me check the details again. Please tap in the long number.
At the end, I asked if the delivery instructions were entered, as she hadn’t mentioned that.
Let me see. N-n-n-n-o-o-o-o, nothing here.
Must be there – because on every invoice you send, the delivery details appear as a line of the address.
Let me check again.
N-n-n-o-o-o-o, don’t know what to suggest. Can we call you back? No? Phone blocked? You’ll phone back? Oh, I should think twenty minutes, half an hour.
She gives her name and extension.
During the interim, busting to get downstairs and start work, already mid-afternoon, I go online again and see that the one I really want is a 2 pack, cheaper and twice the number of hinges.
I phone back at the agreed time, well a little bit earlier. Young spotty herbert with high voice. What was that extension number?
Brr-brr, brr-brr. She’s not answering, sir.
Look, from where you sit, can you see her anywhere? Can you physically walk over to her?
Well, I don’t actually know her. You could try phoning back and put the extension on the end.
But then BT won’t recognize the number.
Y-e-e-e-s-s-s, there is that. Tell you what, I’ll try again.
That would be fabulous. Most kind.
Not at all.
Brr-brr, click, hello, Mr Higham? Yes well it appears your account was corrupted. I’ve transferred all your details and made a new account for you but that means we’ll need to start from scratch again. Would you be willing to do that?
I’d be delighted.
Terribly sorry about all this.
So we do it, painstakingly, including all the digits, spelling out my address, which they usually get wrong.
Thank you for your patience, Mr. Higham.
Don’t mention it. It’s been a pleasure dealing with you.
Oh, that’s nice. Her voice becomes doubly helpful. So, would you tap in your long number again?
You mean as I’ve done twice already?
Terribly sorry, it’s been like that all day.
Completely understand and I’d be delighted. You ready?
Yes. Tap-tap-pause-tap-tap-pause-pause-oh no, can’t see that next number-tap …
Thanks, now I’m just putting this through again. Guess what? It’s gone through.
Delighted. I haven’t enjoyed myself so much since – oh – yesterday. So, is it all done?
Let me just give you your new customer number. So sorry again.
Speak not of it, fair Chloe. The pleasure was all mine.
Oh that’s nice. Is there anything else I can do?
Not at this point. Farewell, fair lady, until we speak again.