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.
Image from flickr.