We have some dining room chairs that are badly in need of upholstering. After a bit of searching we found the names of the upholsterers who did our sofa about 15 years ago.
Luckily they still had a shop in Reading, but it never seemed to be open whenever we passed. There was no details on the door about opening times, or a telephone number or website to find out how we could make contact. It seemed to be very difficult, if not impossible, to make an appointment.
But we persisted (though goodness knows why), and finally we saw signs of life when we passed the shop during one afternoon (there was a van packed outside with the same logo). We entered and spoke to the proprietor who said, quite laissez faire, ‘Oh, pop them round on Monday and we’ll have them done by Wednesday.’
We chose some suitable fabric that went with our curtains, he photographed its information with his iPhone, and scribbled out a confirmation sheet with our details. We agreed that I would bring the chair seats around on Monday, which I did, and left them with his associate who was busy upholstering a large sofa.
On Wednesday I phoned his mobile number (which had been scribbled at the bottom of our copy of the confirmation sheet) to find out how far our seats had got. They hadn’t. I said I would have to collect my seats as they were because we had nothing to sit on at our dining room table.
When I arrived at the shop he was there. I asked where our seats were in his work schedule. He looked blankly at me. I asked if had he ordered the material yet. Oh yes, he had, but it was coming with another order so he wouldn’t have to pay for extra transit charges. Certainly I appreciated his logistics criteria, but this was something he should have told us when we paid our deposit, and we would have arranged to drop off the seats to coincide with the material’s arrival.
As it happens, I don’t trust his ‘scheduling’ any more, and a call to his mobile is certainly in order to prevent a wasted journey to his shop once more.
The moral of this post is: he wasn’t considering his customers’ needs. It’s no good having seats wasting their time in his shop not getting upholstered for weeks on end when there is nothing for us to sit on at home. It’s no good saying ‘Oh, drop them off on Monday’ when he knows he won’t have the material by then. It’s no good not having a schedule of work sorted out so he can give realistic lead times as to when our seats will be ready. And it’s no good not having any contact details visible on his shop when it’s closed.
I asked my husband how he managed to get away with being so disorganised, and he suggested that as there was very little competition in his trade, he probably could do what he liked and there would always be work. Hmmm, I wonder for how long though, if he carries on like this…