Metal Garden Furniture Customer Service Queries Top Ten
Reading the Independent on Sunday’s recent feature on John Rentoul’s Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, From Politics to Pop I was reminded that I have been meaning to write a post about garden furniture top tens – by which I mean a top ten list of the daftest customer queries about our products that we’ve ever had to face in the sales office. Like most customer service departments, I’m sure we are not alone in keeping a record of the best ones.
John Rentoul’s book is a hilarious selection of lists, with the topics and suggestions proposed by readers of his column in the Independent’s New Review magazine. Some of my particular favourites appear on the list about genuine shop names such as Sell Fridges, the greengrocer, Melon Cauli and the utterly wonderful Napolean Boiler Parts in Alton, Hampshire. Rentoul is a political commentator, so unsurprisingly, there are a number of good political ones in there too – who can resist the list of unisex names of MPs when he offers us a bloke called Hyacinth Morgan, a Labour MP (1929-31 and 1940-55) and another chap from the 1940s, called Meredith Titterington? The past is indeed another country. While kids’ names have become increasingly outlandish, I can’t see anyone having the nerve to christen their son, Hyacinth these days.
So, here we go – I might not have ten yet but here are the starters:
Classic Remarks Made By Customers To Our Metal Garden Furniture Customer Service Department
- My all time favourite was the irate customer who called to say that her metal garden furniture was giving her electric shocks. Could we please remove the electricity from her aluminium chair? She felt the chair was faulty and wanted a replacement. She seemed to think that we could unplug the thing. It probably would have been easier to send her a replacement for her nylon slacks!
- Then there was the man who called about a gazebo offered for sale via an online auction site. He wanted to know if the aluminium garden furniture displayed in the photo was going to be thrown in for free. He got a bit tetchy when we explained that no, we weren’t throwing in a free set of garden furniture, and neither were we ‘selling’ the patch of lawn the gazebo was sitting on!
- The metal garden furniture customer services number rang one lunch hour and an angry customer was complaining that he was sitting at his patio table under the parasol, but that he was getting wet. “What are you going to do about it?” he wanted to know. Our manager asked if it was raining and when the guy said yes, explained that it might be better to move inside. While the parasol will shelter you from a light spot of rain, when it’s coming horizontally, you really are better to admit defeat and relocate in a room with a roof.
- Sometimes customers don’t come clean about where they live. I imagine this is done for snob reasons and it is usually the Londoners who are to blame for selectively electing their borough because it sounds good rather than for reasons of geography. A delivery driver, who was two hours late, came back from London recently having been told the customer was in Islington. If he’d realized the address was actually in Stoke Newington, everyone would have saved time.
- A customer in our showroom asked “what happens when this garden furniture is out in the rain?” He didn’t seem impressed with our technical answer – “It gets wet”, and just walked off!
- We also had a customer asking, “What is this metal garden furniture made of?” When the salesman said, “aluminium”, the customer questioned “but what metal is it?”.
- A cheat one, this – but one of our all time favourite funnies. We deal with the Far East a lot so we’re used to losing a bit in translation. It was hard to keep a straight face when one Chinese manufacturer proudly explained that his patio base was filled with 20 kilos of semen. Usually, patio bases are filled with cement!