After the last bleak posting about the joys of dealing with big companies who don’t even get close to delivering on their customer service ‘promise’, I thought I’d better balance things up with news of a recent happy retail experience. And those are three words that don’t often spring from my lips.
We’d just moved into the new place and as it was unfurnished we were busy raiding stores like IKEA to get the house looking more like a home, quickly and without great expense. I’ve become quite a fan of the blue and yellow place and its fantastic products (and assembly instructions which are simply brilliant). But this day I was heading down to our local Homebase , which is a DIY superstore in the UK, because we needed some things like lightshades and I wanted a pile of new tools and things to hang pictures, etc. All our stuff is still out in Italy of course. I’d got a trolley full of items when I went to check out a powerdrill. I didn’t really want to spend a fortune on one – I just needed a pretty basic thing to drill some holes for fixing curtain tracks, shelves etc. All the Black & Decker and Bosch power gear seemed really expensive. And then my eyes fell upon the box containing the PB Power Base 500W hammer drill, with keyed chuck, variable speed, forward and reverse functions, adjustable front handle and depth gauge and 12 month warranty. Made in the UK. Price £9.99. Whoa. That had to be a mistake but no, I kid you not, that was its special offer price. I know that in life you only get what you pay for and this was so cheap it had to be a pile of crap, but I figured I needed some 30 holes drilling and surely it could handle that. So up I trundled to the check-out counter with my trolley full of things we already owned a 1000 miles away. Ah well.
The total bill came to just shy of £100. Blimey. But we needed all the stuff so… Then the young girl on the till asked me if I wanted a Homebase discount card. I just thought it was one of those loyalty cards or, worse still, a store credit card and rather dismissively just said ‘er, no thanks’. But she persisted and said it simply entitled the user to a 10% discount on all goods purchased during the month of October (of which there were still 26 days left). All I had to do was bring it back to the store for use on my next purchase. For a second I thought I couldn’t be bothered but I cheekily asked her if she’d accept it for the pile of goods I was currently buying. She pondered for a second (I knew this wasn’t really how it was meant to operate) and said ‘OK, why not?’. Wey hey, she must like the fat old bald guys. So I got the drill effectively for nothing with the discount. What a deal eh. For once it felt like I was up on a retailer.
There’s a post-script to the story. When I got the drill home it worked fine for about 5 minutes then started cutting in and out. Oh f**k it. It was as if the wiring was badly connected. You knew this was coming I dare say. But you know what, a few days later I had to head back to Homebase for some more stuff. I took the drill back to the service counter and they offered me my money back or a replacement drill (they have a 28 day no quibble return policy – great!). The guy assured me it was the first unit that had been returned with a problem, so I got another! And he even put the discount back onto my discount card, which I ended up using several more times before the month was out. I have to tell you that the second drill has been faultless; it’s a bloody belter and I’ve been drilling holes for England with it.
I’m still smiling about what a great deal that was some weeks later. If I’d had any smarts stuff I should have written about this whilst the offer was still on so that you guys could have take advantage too. Sorry folks but it must be worth checking out from time to time because the store must repeat it at some stage (maybe they do it every month?). If you can top this story I’d be very happy to hear it shoppers.