Monday, 21 May 2012

Shop Local

On Friday last week, our microwave oven finally packed up. We've had it for just over 20 years and a few weeks ago the light stopped working, but we thought it would be OK to continue using it rather than call out an engineer to replace the bulb - you can't do it yourself with a microwave oven light fitting, apparently. I have always been a firm believer of only replacing things when absolutely necessary, as I think we live in a very disposable society these days. I've even known friends to replace large items (such as washing machines) in their house because the colour doesn't match everything else. Each to his own and all that, but there has to be a limit, doesn't there?

Anyway, the microwave oven stopped working altogether on Friday, so after a quick internet search for a replacement Panasonic model (our old one was Panasonic and we were very happy with it), we rang Comet to check if they had it in stock for collection. No - they could order one in for us but it would take 5 or 6 days to arrive. When you need a new microwave oven, it has to be there and then or not at all, doesn't it? How else can you cook Oatso Simple, or baked beans - two of life's everyday essentials (I actually cooked my Oatso Simple in a pan, and to be fair, it worked just as well, but I then had a pan to wash as well as the bowl my oats were in!).

Instead, we rang Hansons Electrical, a local company who we've used before on the odd occasion. A very helpful salesman advised us of the models they had in stock (the one we wanted wasn't in the Holderness Road branch, nearest us, but at the other side of town). Off we popped, managed to get parked right outside the place, we saw a different model which was more expensive than we'd wanted, but as it was the display model, we got £35 knocked off the price, and the salesman even carried it out to our car for us- which I was relieved about, as I try to stop Keith from carrying heavy items these days, and I sometimes struggle to carry heavy stuff due to my back problem. The whole shopping experience reminded us of what it used to be like when you visited shops, rather than how it tends to be in some of the larger stores these days. More often than not these days, you get unhelpful, unknowledgable or just downright rude sales assistants, and that is one of the reasons we tend to shop online for most products.

Straight after that, we visited another local shop to try and get some wallpaper border to finish off the set for the play this week. I'd already tried to source some from the B&M Home Stores, where we usually get our discounted wallpaper from - but the cheapest rolls of border they had were at £3.99 a roll (although the sales assistant had told me the cheapest was £5.99 so obviously didn't know her stock) , and as we'd need 3 rolls, I wasn't going to spend that much. Not expecting to find much in Home Decor, on Holderness Road, we chatted to the owner, Denise Noble, and she was extremely helpful in our search. They had a whole range of borders for £1.99 - and when I'd chosen the design, I was even more surprised to learn that we would only need two rolls, as they were 10mtr rolls instead of the usual 5mtrs! Fuelled by this run of good luck, we also bought some more border adhesive and masking tape!

We both felt that we had been dealt with in such a way that we were certain to go back - that is so rare these days, which is a real shame. I wonder if customer care will ever be great in the UK - certainly in the service industry it seems to be lacking - is it just the way the world is heading or have we always been so crap at serving customers in this country? Maybe I'm doing a lot of people a disservice, but I do know that if I was sure to get customer service as good as last Friday, we would spend less of our money online, and do much more shopping locally, which surely would be a great thing.

Home Decor are on the East Yorkshire Web site here, and Hanson Electrical have their own web-site as well as a FB Page. I can heartily recommend either to anyone in the Hull & East Yorkshire area.

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