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spikey eye bw



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Waiting For Furniture
spikey eye bw
Okay, so they're supposed to deliver six items of furniture between 7.30am and 1pm. We're halfway through that time and there's no sign of them yet. At what point is panic and/or irritation justified?

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Unfortunately, as this is a delivery window, the answer is a depressing 2pm...


It is one of the annoyances of modern life that deliveries cannot be tied to a more specific time. They will argue that it's because of potential traffic problems, delivery rounds, etc., but the truth is that the system was established when it could always be assumed that the wife would be in the house, and no-one can be arsed to improve things. It's a scandal.

Are you sure about that?

I remember when I was a kiddy that specific times used to be given for deliveries (well at least to an hour or so). This sort of "timeslot" managment works to cut costs and staffing levels.

I don't know if that's true. But it is certainly weird how they deliver to the home on weekday daytimes -- the precise time when the homeowner is likely to be at work. They should either deliver things to the workplace (for smaller items, obviously, not wardrobes), or make their working hours 6pm-11pm.

How much of their working day is made INEFFICIENT because of all the time spent ringing the doorbell of people who aren't home, and walking around the house to find somewhere safe to leave it, or walking to the next door neighbour to leave the package with them, or writing notes saying they'll come back tomorrow? I'd guess all these factors make their delivery schedule very late.

(Additional: why did LJ log me out? I tried sending this comment and it brought up an error because I wasn't logged in? Grrr)

You shouldn't panic until 8pm or later.

At 1:01 pm you should ring the shop and speak to them. Do not panic, and don't raise your voice unless they begin to stonewall. What you are after is:

a) who is the delivering contractor?
b) what is the number of their office?
c) can they confirm the stuff was on the van?

You need to keep pressing until you speak to the despatcher or someone in their office. Get names and return numbers at all stages.

Once you've established that the stuff was put on the van this morning, you need to track down the van. Don't put up with 'it's probably just running late'. The despatcher will be able to get in touch with the van, either by radio or mobile phone (or often both). Try to get the mobile number of the chaps in the van (as it's a furniture delivery, there'll be two of them). My experience is that despatchers don't normally give you this, but sometimes they do. I often appeal to the fact that delivery vans can have trouble finding how to get to our road.

Reputable delivery companies will at least ring the van and find out where they are and what time they're likely to get to you.

Before finalising calls, work out what will happen next; in particular, at what time you should ring the office back if the chap still hasn't turned up. Note that this needs to be at least an hour before they pack up for the night and go home -- because after they leave you're basically stuffed, even if your furniture is still on a van driving around London.

Make it clear at all points that you work for a living, that you are losing wages by taking a day off, and that you will claim compensation for the extra wages that you lose if your delivery isn't made reasonably close to when they say it will be.

If people start saying that there's nothing they can do, or that something stupid is policy, or that there's no way to get in touch with the van, then escalate, one staff level at a time. Useful phrases include:

"I absolutely understand it's not your fault. But I will need to speak to the person whose fault it is."
"I have always found ________ to be a reliable company with a good reputation. I wouldn't want to have to tell everyone I know that it isn't."
"I'm writing a description of this conversation on my consumer affairs website even as we speak"
"I appreciate that you don't deliver the goods, you just contract with a delivery firm to do it. Nevertheless, from my point of view it's _________ that's let me down, not the delivery company."
"It doesn't really matter to me whether you're sorry or not; what's important is that I get my furntiture delivered, and what you and _______ are going to do to make that happen."
"I really don't want to get angry." [you wouldn't like it when I'm angry.]

If you get to the point where they won't escalate it further, then if you're talking to the delivery company, explain that your next phone call will be to the people in the retail organisation who are responsible for managing the contract with the delivery company. If you're talking to the originating company, then explain that your next several calls will be to consumer organisations.

Morning deliveries are much better than afternoon, so you're lucky here; in my experience, the 'delivery slot' for afternoon deliveries always ends later than the point where the delivery firm stops answering the phone and there's nothing more you can do till the next day. As I work each day except Monday, if I miss a Monday delivery then I can't normally get the goods for a week.

And as for Simon's point, it's no better for non-working Mums. The school run is fixed-time and non-negotiable, and no matter how often you explain to them that you'll be in for the entire day except 2:45-3:30, the delivery invariably comes in that slot.

Note that all of this is only a problem for cheap shoddy delivery companies. When I mail Plokta, I phone TNT any time up till 2:30, and they pick up that same afternoon, after 3:30 and before the time that my non-existent office 'closes'. No fuss, no problem, no suggestion that they might turn up at 8pm or not at all.

Good luck!

Panic and/or irritation

These are, of course, all good and sensible points and no less than I would expect from a potential member of the senior civil service (well, actually, based on experience of existing members of this group, these are surprisingly good and sensible points; but you have plenty of time to lose all sense of perspective *after* you've been promoted).

I agree that panic is not necessary in such circumstances. But the shorter answer to the original question is: if the delivery window begins at 7:30, irritation at non-arrival of furniture is justified at any time from 7:31 onwards.

As the saying goes, I tried being patient but it took too long.

---Still anonymous Claire (being impatient doesn't mean I can't procrastinate. And spend far too long at work)

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