Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The nightmare of home delivery

I hate waiting in for deliveries. It is beyond frustrating, and the stress is unbelievable.

A few weeks ago, we decided to order a new bed for Alex. He’s been sleeping in a single bed, but he is so tall now that it is just not long enough for him, and the other day when I went in to wake him his legs were completely off of the bed and on the floor. After a lot of looking around we headed to John Lewis, a chain of British department stores who generally stock very high quality at competitive prices. We should have gone there first. We found an amazing double bed with an array of drawers fitted underneath it – not just the standard two drawers each side, but drawers each side and on the end as well. It even had pull out side tables on both sides. It was a bit more than I had wanted to pay, but it was fabulous so we ordered it. Originally I ordered a mattress from John Lewis as well, but not only could I not arrange to have it delivered the same day as the bed(?), it was incredibly expensive and Alex kept saying he did not like it. He wanted the same mattress as he had on his single bed, only in a double size.

So I did a bit of research to find the company we had ordered our mattresses from about five years ago on the internet. It had worked out very well back then. We got top quality name brand mattresses for a lot less than we would have paid on the high street, delivered straight to the house. I found them, and the mattress that Alex wanted. It was £300 cheaper than the one I had ordered from John Lewis. Needless to say, I ordered it and cancelled the mattress order from John Lewis. I was also able to arrange to have the mattress delivered the same day the bed was being delivered – today. Excellent.

Of course, having anything delivered is a nightmare. Often they want you to stay in all day with no idea of exactly when they are going to arrive. I was very hopeful the bed would arrive first, and then the mattress as it would make things a lot easier. But at the end of the day, I was going to be grateful if both just arrived at all.

To start with, the mattress company had listed delivery as “between 7am and 12.59pm” on the email. They had also specified that the mattress would – under NO circumstances – be delivered beyond the front door. It was a “kerbside delivery”. Funnily enough, I don’t remember that last time. I know they brought the mattresses upstairs. Fantastic. Especially with Guy away, how were Alex and I going to get a double mattress upstairs without killing each other? I mean, we get on great, but try and get us to take anything large upstairs and the monsters inside both of us come rising to the surface. Put another way, we both like to be the one telling the other one what to do. It doesn’t work – never has, never will. On top of all that, the bed itself was due to be delivered “anytime” today. Excellent.

I got up at 6.30am, showered and dressed. I knew full well the mattress would not arrive until 12.59pm exactly, but I was terrified of being found in my nightgown at 7am. Amazingly, at 8.30am, I had a phone call from the bed company. The bed would be delivered at 9.30am today. Really? Well, bless me, it was. The chaps from the bed company were lovely and put the bed together within half an hour. It looked great. All that was missing was the mattress.

At 11.35am, fighting down rising panic, I called the mattress company “just to confirm” that the mattress was arriving today. I was told it definitely was, by 12.59am. Oh, and they would not take it upstairs – under any circumstances. I was beginning to worry over this, picturing a double mattress taking up residence in the hallway for two days until Guy got home. In desperation, I texted Guy, who suggested the old faithful tactic of “ask ‘em and tip ‘em”. I had forgotten that particular trick.

Sure enough, the truck delivering the mattress pulled up outside the house at exactly 12.59pm. When I fluttered my eyelashes and asked if – please – he could help me get the mattress upstairs as “my husband is away and my little boy won’t be able to help me”. (Little? Ha. If there is one thing my six foot two inch tall fifteen year old son isn’t, it’s little.)Anyway, the chap went for it, and helped me take the mattress upstairs. He saved Alex and I having a meltdown and I was very grateful to part with £10 in exchange. He did protest at the tip, briefly, but in the end he went away with it agreeing to buy himself a drink.

Getting the mattress out of the packaging and on to the bed was another thing entirely. It took me the best part of half an hour and I’m not sure my shoulders will ever be the same again. But, by the time Alex got home, his bed was made and looking fine. So, despite the frustrating nature of waiting in for deliveries, it has come out well in the end.

But seriously, would it be so impossible for companies to provide you with a two hour window in advance, and actually arrive at the beginning – or even the middle – of it?

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