Having just moved to a new unfurnished flat, and having sold all of my existing furniture, I ordered a load of stuff from one local shop to fill said empty flat.
The delivery cost is £15 and I’m assured in the shop that the delivery men will carry it all to the first floor for me. My only slight concern is that the 3 seater sofa will be too big to manoeuvre up the stairs of the building but I’m reassured they’ll find a way, and might just have to take the feet off.
This sounds preferable to the alternative, driving with a sofa on the roof of my car Mr. Bean style.
The delivery is booked for between 12pm and 2pm. So Naturally they arrive at 3pm.
“I was starting to think you weren’t coming!” I say in a passive-aggressive way to point out that their lateness.
“We’ve had 3 big deliveries today, and we’ve got one more after you as well as a collection. We finish at 5pm so there’s no way that last one’s happening.”
I wonder if maybe they should let the person know that, but for now I just want my stuff.
There are three blokes. Jake and Gary are stood next to me in the car park and Gary informs me that Vinny is ‘just backing up the van’ – I can tell Gary is a proper man who knows about things like skirting boards and radiators. I was soon to learn that Vinny was of similar ilk but Jake is about 17, quiet, and I don’t want to be horrible but if you played Pictionary and the word on the card was ‘stoner’, you’d draw Jake.
“So do you need me to help with any of this? It’s just that I’m supposed to be working.” I say, which isn’t strictly true but I assume between three of them and because I’ve paid and been told they’ll bring it up, I can sit in the flat like a studio manager pointing to where I want things.
“Yeah if you don’t mind helping, that would speed it up” say’s Gary who has either misread my motive or deliberately chosen to ignore it.
Vinny is on the van still, moving bits of furniture to the edge of the vehicle so that us three manual laboring heroes can lug it up some stairs, but something stops him in his tracks.
He looks at the sofas, then to the door of the block of flats and then to me and asks “how big is your hallway mate?”
This throws me off guard. “I don’t know I guess its like, one metre by…”
“One metre?!” Interrupts Vinny who seems to be outraged
“No not one metre, more like… the width is about the size of a large lilo”
The delivery men were not comfortable dealing in the metric of lilo’s and decide they’d better take a look for themselves.
Gary measures the main doorway and then tells me, “you’ve got two hundred by seventy there so we’re already struggling for the three seater, the two seater would be alright.”
He then goes on to measure the doorway of the actual flat as well as the doorway it would need to go through to the living room.
“Nah it’s not happening” he informs unapologetically. “Even if we get it up the stairs it’s not gonna go in, you’ve got one-ninety here and that sofa is easily two-twenty” he tells me whilst pointing to an internal doorway.
“What if you tilt it though?” I ask thinking maybe that hadn’t crossed the mind of these three professional delivery men.
At which point Vinny interjects, “No chance. It wouldn’t go because you’ve only got sixty five here”
I nod as if that has cleared it up for me. “Well if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit” – I’m quite happy with this sentence, it sounds like the kind of thing a real bloke would say.
Vinny has already started walking down the stairs and seems almost annoyed.
I suddenly remember what the shop manager had told me, “The bloke in the shop said it would be fine if you took the feet off”
“No chance” replies Vinny, “They don’t see it do they? They haven’t actually been to your flat.”
Now I think Vinny is annoyed at me for not measuring the hallway and / or for estimating it’s size in terms of inflatables.
At this point I tell them I wouldn’t want the two seater without the three seater, but ask if it would it be possible to leave the two seater for one night and I’ll pick another set so I don’t have to sit on the floor all night.
Vinny is not a fan of this compromise; “that’s a lot of effort though, we’d have to take it all the way up, squeeze it in just to come and pick it up again and do it all again.”
I don’t say what I want to say. What I want to say is “you work 9-5 carrying furniture from a van and putting it in flats or taking it from flats and putting it in a van. If you’re not carrying this particular sofa, you’ll just be carrying something else.”
What I actually do is agree in a very British way that it would be a lot of effort.
Gary agrees to call the manager and organize a refund for the two items. It’s the location and the volume of the call that surprise me. On the ground floor, right next to the front door of a neighbor I’m yet to meet, Gary practically shouts the situation down the phone. I’m not sure if the manager has hearing problems, or if Gary wanted to alarm / disturb the resident beneath me, but I’m pretty sure he achieved the latter.
As he is on the phone Jake the stoner carries a glass table past us which he manages to knock into a wall before offering up an expletive and an apology.
“Its fine” – I reassure him, but I’m not sure why I tell him it’s fine to be smashing furniture I’ve just bought into the communal areas of the building I’ve just moved into while his colleague does his best to wake up any sleeping babies within a 2 mile radius.
With almost all of the furniture unloaded Vinny does some paperwork and I’m proud of him for learning to read and write.
“Oh shit, we forgot the mattress. We might have to bring that tomorrow.”
But I need the mattress tonight. The shop is only 5 minutes drive but he seems very reluctant and put out by this.
Eventually they agree to go and fetch the mattress and I apologize for being a burden. They’ll be thirty minutes Vinny says. That was an hour ago.
I regret apologizing. They got the delivery wrong, turned up an hour late, couldn’t deliver the sofa and chipped the paint in the hallway as well as recruiting me to help them with the job that I’d specifically paid not to do.
Thank goodness for anonymous online reviews. Which I will write tonight whilst sat on the floor.