So I haven't so far mentioned my kitchen to you all. I will now rectify this. In November 2005 I went to a well-known DIY store (we'll call it Q&B), and chose my kitchen. I even paid a deposit. In January 2006 the bits of kitchen duly arrived and were installed by a team of friendly, if not entirely tidy, chaps. Which was nice. And I looked and saw that it was good.
So for a few months I enjoyed my new kitchen, which is very lovely. After a few months, however, I observed that the stuff that covers the doors (the plastic stuff that makes it look like wood - I didn't say this this was a high-quality kitchen) started to peel. So I phoned Q&B and asked for new doors. They said this was fine, and they ordered them, and I waited for them to arrive. And waited, and waited.... Several phone calls were made; each time the lovely friendly person on the other end denied all knowledge but ordered me new doors. And still I waited.
There follow several months of me making intermittent phone calls to the warranty department who tell me to phone the warehouse who tell me to phone the warranty department who tell me they'll sort it out and call me back.
One day, out of the blue, the doors arrived at my house, in several huge boxes. And again, I looked and saw that it was good. So I phoned Q&B to arrange for someone to install them.
There follow 6 months of me making intermittent phone calls to the warranty department who tell me to phone the warehouse who tell me to phone the warranty department who tell me they'll sort it out and call me back. Occassionally someone from the warranty team calls me, to make sure that the kitchen has been sorted out. I say 'no'. They promise to sort it.
So finally, just before Christmas, a very pleasant sort of chap phones me and says he'll be there the next day. So the next day, he arrives, and begins installing the new doors. Unfortunately, one of the new ones has been damaged, so he can't install it. So he says he'll arrange for a new one to come, and he leaves.
I come home to find a mountain of empty cardboard boxes, and the entire set of old doors sitting in my living room.
I wait a few days for Q&B to phone. I wait a few weeks. I phone them. I explain the situation and they say that they will order the one remaining replacement door and let me know when it arrives. I wait, and Christmas is approaching. Strongly suspecting that workmen and Christmas are not two things that are liable to lead to my kitchen being finished, I phone and tell them to hurry up. I put on my angry voice. The lady who answers the phone calls me 'dear'. I know I have lost.
There follow several months of me making intermittent phone calls to the warranty department who tell me to phone the warehouse who tell me to phone the warranty department who tell me they'll sort it out and call me back. Occassionally someone from the warranty team calls me, to make sure that the kitchen has been sorted out. I say 'no'. They promise to sort it.
So eventually they say that they will deliver the door to my work on 2nd Jan. This is not hard, since their warehouse is less than a mile from my desk. I can even see it out the window. They don't turn up. So we're now into January 2007, and it is a full year since the kitchen was installed.
I give up in despair for a while. Then I decide to call in and see if I can just get the door from the warehouse myself. This works quite well; I get as far as holding a replacement door in my hands. I speak to a girl called Kerri. She knows nothing and can't give me the door without confirming it with the warranty department, who have all gone home for the evening (at 4.30). So she emails them and tells me that she'll let me know.
Easter comes and goes.
One evening I get a message on my answering machine, saying 'This is Greg from Q&B warranty dept. Please give me a ring'. He doesn't leave a number, so I call the only number I have and they have no idea, but they say they'll sort it out.
Then on Tuesday past, Steve calls. Steve is a cheerful sort of chap. He asks whether the kitchen is finished yet. I explain the whole tale. Steve is very sorry about it and says he will order the new door straight away and it will be delivered soon. Then I have to ring him and he'll arrange someone to come and fit it.
Last night, I get home and there is a huge box in the hallway with a Q&B sticker on it. Pausing only briefy to wonder why the box is quite so big, I rejoice that it has arrived, and go straight back out. I get home later, and open it, thinking I'd better check that my nice new door is undamaged. Except, when I open it, it's a cupboard. With a little message on the box saying 'to complete this cupboard, you need a door, hinges and a handle'. Thanks.
So this morning, I try to phone Steve, in the Warranty department. I get Aaron. Aaron listens to the whole story and says he'll put me through to head office. I tell the whole story again to the man in Head Office. He tells me I need to speak to the warranty depatment. I tell him I just spoke to them and they put me through to him. He says 'oh'. He tells me to wait, and I get put on hold. After a few minutes, another man answers. I don't know who he is, he clearly doesn't know who I am. I explain the whole story again. We agree that Steve (who, incidentally, seems to have disappeared) sent me the wrong thing. We agree that Steve should have sent a door, not a cupboard. He says he'll arrange for the door to be sent to the warehouse and for the fitter to pick it up and fit it.
I ask about the mountain of old doors, and the cupboard, to be sent back. He says he'll look into it.
We agree again that Steve should have sent a door, not a cupboard.
So I wait, in anticipation of this man phoning me back.