My Brompton

Soooooo . . .

I was supposed to pick up my Brompton last week. When I ordered it, I was told the approximate arrival date, which I double-checked when the marketing guy at the shop said it sounded too early.  The guy who does the orders, though,  told me that my Brompton was scheduled to be built in August, and to ship to the shop by September 10.

That was as fast as I’d been originally told, and a lot faster than the marketing guy had said.  I emailed him back, and Marketing Guy said that Order Guy was the one who knew, and that his dates should be good.

I was careful to avoid bombarding the shop with requests for status reports, but sent an email on the 9th, requesting my Brompton’s status.

On the 10th, Order Guy told me that my Brompton was on a delivery truck, and due at the shop by the end of the day.


Or not, as it turned out.

I sent Order Guy another email, asking if I could pick the bicycle up on Tuesday (and reminding him that I wanted a mirror installed).

Order Guy said that Tuesday wasn’t possible, but I could pick it up on Wednesday. He also said that he’d added the mirror to the work order, and even quoted the exact text.  I emailed back, say that that works fine (I was coming into the city from another state), and “See you Wednesday!”

Soooooo . . . . I arrange things, and show up on Wednesday.

The (very nice, sharp) guy who wrote up my original order is concerned when he sees me walk into the shop:  He knows it’s too early.

Order Guy is very, very squirrelly, and rushes around looking for my bike, muttering things I can’t quite understand.

Then he tells me he made “a typo” in an email, and meant to write “not”, as in “your Brompton is not ready”. I point out that this does not explain two other emails confirming the bike’s arrival, and that I can pick it up on Wednesday.

He squirrels some more, still, apparently, looking for the bike.

At which point I ask him, point blank,  if my bike is “physically present” in the store. He says “yes”, but his body language screams “I’m lying — get me out of here”.

Nice Guy, who, I belatedly realize, has figured out long before that the bike is still in London, has been discreetly hovering. Order Guy stares at the floor in abject misery, and finally says that he doesn’t know what he was looking at when he told me that my bike was in.  “This has never happened to me before” he wails.  He says he’d do anything to fix it, even spend his own money.

Which is, sadly, irrelevant, since nothing is going to get my Brompton out of England until it’s built and shipped.

But Order Guy never apologizes: Nice Guy does. Nice Guy also sends me out the door clutching a copy of The Brompton Book (which I’d intended to buy when picking up my bike) and a DVD documentary, which proves to be excellent.

Nice Guy also gives me an invaluable bit of information: It’s usually a week, after delivery, before a Brompton can be picked up, under any circumstances. If my bike had been on the truck on Monday, I’ll still probably have had to wait a week to pick it up. That’s good to know for next time.

I like Nice Guy. Nice Guy has been patient and thorough, all through this process (custom bike; ordering is complicated for a newbie like me). I feel as if Nice Guy is looking out for his customer in a way that Order Guy seems to miss completely.

Order Guy falls more than a bit short. Spending fifteen minutes looking for a bicycle he knew wasn’t there — and claimed, at one point, was, though he certainly knew by then that he’d messed up hugely — represents a real low.

Oh, and Order Guy apparently put the text about the mirror only into my email, not the work order. When I re-confirmed that it had been added to the work order as I was going out the door, Nice Guy had to add it. I guess all of Order Guy’s emails were “customer service theater” — you know, kind of like TSA’s approach to security. Or who knows, maybe somebody else’s work order now has a request to add a mirror appended.

So, five emails  since the order was placed, carefully confirming both expected delivery and [cough] actual delivery, and not one of them were accurate.

And I still have no Brompton.

Order Guy said that the new date was October 10, but he appeared to pull the date out of nowhere.

I’m thinking I’ll be lucky to see it by December. Unfortunately, I’ll be regarding the next email with some skepticism, and I’m guessing that going to pick up my Brompton won’t include the same heady thrill this trip did.  I’ll be coming from elsewhere again, later in the fall, and I’ll be wondering, the whole trip, if the bike is *really* there.

So sad.

Image from flickr.

6 replies on “Soooooo . . .”

Sorry about your lousy experience. I’m so with you on the struggle of waiting. My brompton (M6R, racing green with black bits, brooks saddle) ordered on May 31 was supposed to be in the 4th week of July. Then it was 4 more weeks, then 1 week ago, as LBS had gotten word it was built and ready to ship. When contacted last week, LBS said BBL had lost the check they had sent. Now I’ve heard that it may be ready to pick up next week?

I’ll lose my mind if they push me off to October! Best of wishes with your waiting. I’m not as handy as you with fabric, so I’ve just collected a little pile of things to be ready: proofide, bearing grease, proper sized spanners, mulit-hex wrench, Bonk paint protector… I walk by and try not to look :)

I do feel your pain, Andrew! M6R here, yellow with racing green; I’ll feel lucky if it’s actually in my hands by mid-October. (How one’s expectations adapt . . . ) Here’s hoping you really do get yours next week!

Hang in there! I know it’s easy for me to say, but once you have the bike, you’ll quickly forget the frustration you’re feeling now (at least, I hope so!). My story was very different. I bought my Brompton two years ago this November, after freaking out after waiting *again* for a city bus that never came. My journey to work, which should have been easy, was becoming a nightmare. So somehow I ended up in a shop which sold Bromptons. I’d never considered a folding bike before and thought spending a few hundred on a bike was nuts, never mind over a thousand (and I’m talking euros!). But love can make you crazy, and after a test ride I plopped down my deposit – and got the bike a few days later! Yes, it was in stock and luckily was just right for me. Next time (far in the future, I think), I’ll likely give more consideration to exactly what customization I’d like, and probably get a custom colour (mine’s red and black, which suits me fine, but I sort of fancy dark blue and white), AND I’ll order *really early*, like a half a year before I want it! Anyway, I’m glad to have found your blog and look forward to reading about your adventures once you (finally) get your Brommie.

“[L]ove can make you crazy”! Love that, Will B — that’s what the test ride did to me! Thanks for your encouragement; I’m sure these months of waiting will be well forgotten once my Brompton is here. (Totally agree on the price, by the way, but it’s so much the right thing that I’ve already forgotten about it.)

And … drum roll please… it finally arrived, 20 weeks after ordering. Since Monday, I have put around 55 miles on it. I love it!

I hope yours arrives soon! I’ve also succumbed to the siren song of blogging. Take a look if you like. :)

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