If we’re in a recession…

…, why doesn’t anybody want to sell me anything?

So, we are in the market for a new kitchen. Mrs Emu has convinced me that if our children are to grow any taller, we’re going to need a bigger table. A bigger table will need a bigger room, and therefore the house will need to be extended. If we extend the house, we’ll need to rip out the kitchen. So we’ll need another one.

And, with the world tightening its belt, you would think that the easiest thing in the world would be to go into a shop and say something like:

“Good morning, I have been convinced that I need to spend an unfeasibly large sum of money on some boxes to fix to the wall in my kitchen. As a kitchen designer, please can you advise me on what boxes could go where, what components I need to buy, and how your sleek design will make me forget that I’m spending half a year of my salary putting all this in place.”*

Well, you might be surprised. Mrs E and myself have run the gauntlet now of three kitchen suppliers, varying from the disappointing to the infuriating.

Kitchen Company Number One: Had to be chased before he’d deign to visit. Then spent most of the visit telling us how stressful his life was. And how he thought that chasing for a sale was beneath him. And so it proved, as we chased, week after week, for some sort of design or quote. And we finally gave up.

Kitchen Company Number Two: Was part of a big department store chain. Who are supposed to specialise in fitting kitchens. And who charge you for coming to your house to give you a price. Before which, you have to effectively go through a 2 hour ‘consultation’, presumably to ascertain if they are prepared to do business with you. There is quite a strong possibility that I could go off on one here, so to avoid this, I’ll just state that John Lewis kitchens are in debt to me to the tune of 2 hours of my life that I will never, ever, ever have back.

Kitchen Company Number Three. After dragging our way through a couple of presentations on factory build quality and a couple of reasonably challenging home visits, during which the price has at any time seesawed between 50% to 200% of our budget, we now have a reasonable chance of buying a kitchen. So I asked for an itemised quote. Two weeks ago. And when chased, the sales guy says ‘Oh, I haven’t had a look at that for a few days now’. And I’m still waiting…

Maybe this is just a whine, but I fear that it shows a bit of an inherent problem – any one of these businesses could have had several thousand quid from me but decided that they weren’t bothered about selling to us. As it happens, they also managed to wind us up en route with the sort of customer service that Little Britain would struggle to parody.

Hey-ho, maybe I’m just imagining this recession thing, but I’m sure I’ve read in the papers that it’s going to be quite big news next year. And lots of businesses will be put out of action as they won’t be writing any new orders.

And we still need a kitchen.

* of course, you wouldn’t say it quite like this or you’d sound like some sort of Viz character. But you get the picture


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