Just before lunch on Friday 11 May, I got a call from one of our biggest trade clients, asking for 10 Sony Ericsson W880is in silver. It was for a promotional event and they needed the phones urgently, Saturday at worst, so that my client could drive up to Manchester to deliver by Sunday evening.
I managed to source 10 handsets for Saturday delivery, confirmed Saturday delivery, and emailed over the payment details at around 4:40pm. I didn’t want to take any chances so I called back to confirm that everything was ok and was told that everything had been processed fine.
On Saturday my client had not received the phones by lunchtime. I tried to call my supplier, but they weren’t open over the weekend. I tried to call the courier company, but to no avail. I had a contact in one of my supplier’s sister companies; my hope was that he would have access to my suppliers systems and could check to see if the order had been despatched. He made some calls, and was able to tell me that the order hadn’t been sent out for Saturday delivery. Panic stations …
Problem was that the phones were actually for Justin Timberlake – my client was sponsoring an event involving him and had promised 10 phones for Sunday evening. She had made a commitment to Justin Timberlake and his team, and she needed the phones before she travelled to Manchester on Sunday afternoon.
I told her I would endeavour to find the phones and get them to her in Kingston, even though I live in east London.
I spent some hours on the phone to source stock: no joy. One contact informed me that Carphone Warehouse was selling the phones SIM-Free for £300, but with limited availability. After more calling around, I managed to find at a CPW in Romford. I got a cab to Romford, got stuck in traffic, and pulled up at the store at 6pm sharp just as the sales assistant was shutting the door. Despite my pleas for him to let me in to pick up the phones I’d reserved, this wannabe bouncer wouldn’t budge and started to threaten me.
The cab took me to nearby Beckton – I hadn’t been able to get through on the phone, but was prepared to take a chance as I knew there were two CPWs in this complex. I managed to purchase three handsets there.
Thankfully, I managed to source another five from Dan Schama at ThatPhone (still need to find you a wife mate!), who was prepared to meet me in Southall that evening in the local McDonalds. Dan was running late, so my friend and I ate a burger and waited. He turned up, I paid for the phones, we went back to the car … only to discover it had been clamped by the McDonalds car park attendants.
I finally got home just after midnight on Saturday, having obtained eight phones out of 10.
I decided to try to find the remaining two en route to Kingston. I was due to meet the client at her home at 11am on Sunday. Gatwick airport was 20 minutes away, so I left home at 9am. I stopped at an M25 services for petrol to discover that I had a flat tyre. I changed it and went on to Gatwick. No CPW before duty-free. As I got back on the M25, the radiator started to leak. I now had to stop every 10 minutes to top up with water.
Finally I got to Kingston and found two phones in the second CPW I went to. I managed to meet my client at 1:30pm, delivered the phones, and got home sometime after 4pm.
This is how one cock-up by my supplier ruined my weekend. To their credit, they did compensate me with two Siroccos for the error. But what really got me was the attitude of the staff at CPW in Romford.
My customer mattered to me, so I sacrificed my weekend to make sure I delivered on my promise. Those guys at CPW Romford, as is the case with too many in our industry, hide behind rules and regulations as an excuse for being unhelpful. That’s something we shouldn’t tolerate, either as consumers or as resellers.
Dan at ThatPhone, Akif at Thornton Phones, Jas at MicroLine, Abdul Rehman at PhoneMax and the guys at CPW Beckton and Kingston – you all genuinely tried your best to help, and it’s much appreciated.
Top 3 groans:
1. The Saturday staff at CPW Romford (Brewery) – your attitude sucks. If you are determined to be unhelpful, become traffic wardens. Seriously, if you worked for me, you’d be long fired…
2. T-Mobile for not allowing dealers to offer their free evening and weekend calls promotion on FlexT. Why don’t you be honest, and just tell us you don’t want an independent consumer channel.
3. All networks (apart from Orange) for not counting calls to 07744 and 07755 numbers in inclusive minutes. It’s especially unfair on customers who’ve taken T-Mobile contracts to call overseas, and can’t use their minutes from 1 June as the network will start charging for the access number.
Top 3 deals:
1. Orange’s great total communications package. Orange Canary 40, with 850 mins, 300 texts, unlimited Orange calls, free Nokia E65 or Nokia 6300, unlimited 8MB wireless broadband, unlimited calls from home to Orange phones and UK & International landlines — all for £45 a month plus £10 a month to BT. Great overall savings and good margins…
2. 3’s Talk&Text 900 for £28 a month (18 months) giving 750 minutes and 150 texts — and best of all, a free LG Shine or Nokia E65. Cracking value …
3. T-Mobile’s Web’n’Walk USB Modem – 3.6MB mobile broadband at £29 a month, a genuine alternative to home broadband.