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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Given the boot

Today I have spent six hours in Edinburgh Airport. Not even delays (so far), just badly-timed meetings. Along with Bristol Temple Meads station, I think it is probably the place I have waited the most. I thought you would want to know.

So, greetings from Edinburgh Airport. It is rainy. It is cold. It is aiporty. I have nothing new to impart to you on that front.

So... I gather you would like to hear about my argument in Jones the Bootmaker? It is a very big argument.

About three weeks ago, I was given a voucher for a 15% discount at Jones. I needed some new boots, so along I toddled in my lunch hour. Now, I am very fussy about my boots. My job involves a lot of faciliating and training delivery, so I sometimes stand up for a full eight hours or so. I need comfortable boots. Jones had a lovely pair in very soft leather with quite a small heel... Reader, I bought the boots.

I wore them the next day at an event at which I was facilitating. It was like standing on little expensive clouds. They were very comfortable boots. Success! There was a tiny bump in the leather on one of them, but I know that leather is a natural material, so wasn't going to return them for such a minor flaw.

Two weeks later, dear readers, and a fingernail-sized bit of leather had started to peel off where the bump had been. Not good. But I wasn't going to worry. I still had the receipt, I'd only had the boots for two weeks, and the shop was close to my office. It wasn't going to be a major hassle to swap them.

So, the next day, along with my colleague Clair, who had been interested in buying some shoes, we went back to the shop, and I explained to the shop assistant what had happened. They sent the Rude Manager (RM) to deal with the issue.

RM: You see, I'm going to have to send these to head office for a second opinion as you may well have damaged these yourself.

Me: Erm... how? The tear in the leather is right on top of the shoe, and as I told you, there was a flaw in the shoe from the start.

RM: You probably tore it on an escalator*...

* what the fuck?

RM: Anyway, it's your word against mine, so I'll have to send it to head office for a second opinion.

Me: I'm not going to be in the country for more than a few days - I need to get this sorted out now. I thought this was going to be a straightforward exchange; I've only had the boots for two weeks - they're clearly faulty and...

RM: (interrupting) That's immaterial.

Me: But...

RM: (interrupting) That's immaterial.

Me: Can I just finish my sentence?

RM: No, but... (realising he's being a tosser) Sorry, go on.

Me: I don't see what head office will be able to do that we can't achieve today.

RM: Sorry.

Me: (to Clair) What's your opinion on this?

Clair opens her mouth, but before she can speak, Rude Manager interrupts.

RM: I'm not talking to her. She's not a customer.

Clair: I was going to be a customer. I was going to buy those shoes over there. But you've been really rude to me.

RM: That's immaterial. Anyway, you've been....

Me: Calm and reasonable? I was just asking my friend for her opinion.

RM: Fine then. You talk to your friend. I won't. Call me when you need me.

Eventually I called head office myself and spoke to RM's area manager. Again I was getting nowhere until I said in quite a loud voice, "I can't believe I'm standing in the middle of your shop at its busiest period talking in such a loud voice at the head of your queue about how terrible your customer service is!"

"Oh, are you still in the shop?" asked the area manager. Suddenly, everything changed. Before we knew it, they'd agreed to a "goodwill" exchange, though I rather suspect there wasn't an awful lot of goodwill. And the manager still shot Clair a dirty look when she left the shop.

Still, I reckon I've told at least ten people about this story now, and probably an awful lot more via the Plog.

But the boots are lovely.


Laura said...

Before anyone starts, yes "faciliating" is a real job. I didn't mean "facilitating" at all. Don't you think I know my own industry?


L x

Anonymous said...

Sale of Goods Act 1979 - Goods have to be of merchantable quality, clearly they were not - RM needs some training!
Hazel's Mum

Erica-ca-ca said...

Does facilate mean to make facile?

That's one way to solve problems anyway.

I always wondered what it was you did. Do you do sarcasticating and flippancy?

P.S. Please don't talk too much about boots as it makes me want to go shoe-shopping. I'm an advertiser's dream.

Sara said...

Good for you Laura!
I can imagine I'd do something similar myself if my boots were faulty. Although American store managers are normally pushovers, haha!

Erica said...

Now I've gone and bought shoes. I told you it would happen. Look what you've done.

Mine are from Messrs Peacocks of Ashby de la Zouch. I'm so posh.

Laura said...

Oooh M. Peacock... Someone is moving up dans la monde.

Soon you'll be too posh to hang out here.

Boots are good for you. They make your sole feel happy.

(See what I did there?)

L x