Saturday, 2 August 2008

Let me bounce back with...

Please note that this yacht photo was taken by Tambako the Jaguar and appears here under Creative Commons licence. Please respect this image. I have not used a Creative Commons image before, so I hope that I have done this correctly! open post to the Chandlery worker who seemed to believe that people who do not own boats should not be in their shop.

Hello, my name is Gabrielle. Sadly, as much as I love being by water, enjoy sitting by, paddling or swimming in rivers and the sea, I am not lucky enough to own any kind of boat, yacht, water or marine going vessel - not even an inflatable or model one.

I know that you spotted this the moment that I entered your establishment. I guess that you could see from the uncertainty in my body language that 'I did not belong'. I am just sorry that you decided that the prospect of selling something specialist to a member of the General Public for a non boating purpose (shock horror) was irritating.

After all, you work for a retail outlet. Surely my money is just as good as the next person who walked in, reeking suitably of outboard motor fuel? I know that your Chandlery is not a general DIY store - it exists to cater for a specialist market. Actually, this was why I was standing in your shop, waiting for product assistance on the specialist paint that you stock. I am intelligent woman. I did not wander in by mistake. I made specific enquiries at a boatyard and drove out to the marina where you are based, in order to purchase it.

So why did you ignore me for almost 30 minutes? It was pointless for you to keep walking off in the opposite direction when I followed you around trying to catch your attention, in the hope that I would go away. I refer you to my point above, you had the paint that I needed to buy, so I was unlikely to leave until you served me.

I was polite. I even tried to work through the paint range on my own. I watched while you served the boat owner in front of me. I noted that you gave him real advice on the same range of products I was looking at - unfortunately, he needed something different to me, otherwise, I would have wimped, simply collected up what I needed, paid and run.

Eventually, I queued at the boat maintenance counter and spoke to another employee, who was perfectly polite but had to refer me to you, as you are the Chandlery's boat paint specialist.

You see, it is clear that buying boat paint is not like buying paint from a general DIY store - it is a whole specialist system with Thinners 1 - 9, a whole range of under and top coats. The range and combination needed depends on the surface that one applies it to and whether it is over or under water.

Well, it was interesting to catch you out when I followed him over to where you were lurking. You thought that I would remain standing at the paint stand. Yes, I did see you gesture in irritation, mutter that this is not a DIY shop and tell him to, 'Just get rid of her'.

I remained polite because I am stubborn, I wanted the paint and by that point, I was going to make you serve me even if the very idea of it made you choke. I simply and quietly suggested that the more quickly you served me, the sooner I would be gone. I also pointed out that if you gave me the correct advice, it would significantly reduce the chance that I would need to come back...

...despite this, I feel a little embarassed for you that you did not have the manners to deal with me gracefully.

Having observed your earlier paint advice to a boat owner, it was interesting to watch you take the tin of paint that I handed over to you, asking whether this was what I needed and then read me verbatum, all of the text on the back of the tin. Slowly and without intonation too - pretty much in the way a small child does when learning to read.

At that point, I gave up on you. I feel that the shame is on you for your lack of manners. So, I returned to the paint stand, I took out my mobile phone and phoned the fella who was eight timezones and 4500 miles away at that point and checked with him instead.
5 minutes later, I was at the till (with the polite employee) to pay for the products that I needed.

I suspect that I should counsel people to avoid your Chandlery at all costs. However, why should I give you the satisfaction of reducing your contact with non-boating members of the General Public?

Nope, instead - I intend to recommend the product that you sold me to absolutely everyone. If they ask, I will not blog it but I will tell them privately where I purchased it and send them all your way. Please think of it as personal development and I hope that, over time, you will learn to deal with non boating members of the public more gracefully.

I might warn them that they will not get a warm welcome and that they will need to be persistent, if not firm with you.

You see, time will tell but I suspect that specialist, very high UV resistent boat paint is much better for south facing external woodwork than the stuff that one can purchase at a general DIY place.

Yup, I went through that priceless snippet of poor customer service to obain high UV paint to protect my new front door. My home vessel might be very landlocked but I do care for it, so it deserves the best paint that I can purchase for it.

Here is my front door before I replaced it earlier this month:

I last rubbed it down, undercoated and glossed it about 2-3 years ago. As you can see - the hot, south facing sun, wind and rain had not been kind to it at all. In fact, some of my neighbours had started to ask when I was going to deal with it.

Mind you, not that I am alone in front door shabbiness on my side of the street. Here is a snippet of another front door in my road! It was painted about the same time that I did mine:

The reason that I had not dealt with mine, was that I intended to replace the whole door with a brand new one. I finally managed to organise it to happen this month.
Here is my new front door. It is not anything special but it has been beautifully painted in high UV resistent boat paint for me by my wonderful fella.

(Yep Mel, my front door is still red without a house number).

I cannot help it, what can I tell you? I like red front doors.

Before the fella suggested boat paint, I thought that I would have to paint it white to help the finish last longer.

Yes, if the blue door people ask - I will tell them where I got my paint and tell them that it comes in several, lovely shades of blue too!

So...if you have a south facing home with peeling front door paint. You could do worse than investigate boat paint - just be prepared to put on a rhino skin coat before you cross the threshold of your local chandlery.


Robynn said...

Beggars belief, it really does. But your door looks so beautiful! I'm also a big fan of red doors. Lovely.

toni in florida said...

Too bad that clerk will never see this post and have the opportunity to be embarrassed by her behavior. Your door looks great, though, so kudos to you for sticking it out.

Roobeedoo said...

So what do you call this paint? Since I need a new front door too, it might as well be waterproof... though I prefer the blue! I think I would have had a tantrum and walked out of the shop. Well done for being so noble!