If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 25 January 2010

Shop locally!

On Saturday morning,I woke to the sound of cursing and crashing from the kitchen, with an added top-note of fracturing knife-blades. Fearing we were being burgled, and checking that Anna was not in bed and therefore dealing with it, I went back to sleep. When I awoke later, it was to the news that the old freezer is now totally beyond repair, and we needed a new one. Anna had opened the door to look for something for supper, and couldn't find a single thing for all the ice and snow in there. It too her 10 minutes of chipping with a carving knife to locate anything edible. We had defrosted it only a few weeks before, so I felt it diplomatic to agree. It was buggered. We thought back, and it predated my arrival in her life by a long way. In fact, it was purchased in 1978, and even I had to agree that it was way beyond its design life. Plus it was rusty and a bit of an embarrassment when we had visitors. I always imagined them saying to each other: "you mean we are going to eat out of that?"

Saturday afternoon, therefore, was occupied by a trip to town to look for a new one.

I know it's wrong, but I tend to plan my shopping around how easy it will be to park. (That's if I am in the car - on the bike I can park anywhere and therefore shop anywhere.) So it was to Curry's that we went first. We were looking for something very simple, to my mind - a freezer with a door on the front, must be white, can't be more than 1600mm tall because of the shelves. Curry's have whole aisles devoted to freezers and fridges, but 95% of them were these trendy combined fridge/freezers, or the even trendier 'food centres' with ice machines and enough chrome to look excessive even on a '58 Chevy. We got a salesperson to narrow it down for us, and there were only three suitable devices in the entire shop. All were too small, and only one was in stock for immediate delivery (immediate means some time next week in Curryspeak, apparently). The one we wanted (or rather would have accepted in the circs) was "not in stock", despite it being there as large as life in front of our very eyes. We would have to order that one from the website, and delivery would be - well, indeterminate would be the best way of putting it. On top of all that, delivery woukld cost £20 (I snorted; the salesman disappeared, and it magically came down to £10 as a "special deal"), plus an extra £5 if we wanted to specify the day and delivery slot. With an item like a freezer, that is spectacularly useless from the customer's point of view.

Memo to Curry's: freezers are full of cold things, and when you get a new one you need to empty the old one and keep all the cold things very cold until you have a new one. Promising a delivery 'sometime this week' isn't very helpful, unless the delivery driver is prepared to help you unload the old and refill the new, which I very much doubt he will.

Oh, and we would be responsible for getting rid of the old one.

I had shopping fatigue by this point, and would have accepted almost anything just for it to be over, but Anna is made of sterner stuff and demanded that we visit a local electrical retailer "just to see". You can see where this story is heading.

Immediately, we saw one which was the right size, a make I had actually heard of, and at a reasonable price. A quick phone call from the shop to the driver found that he could deliver to us at about 3.30 pm that day, and they would take away the old one. All within the price. We paid and rushed off home. We emptied the old freezer in record time, and I dragged it out onto the drive. Here's the good bit:

I paid for the freezer at 2.34 pm, as recorded on the receipt.
The delivery van arrived at 3.30 pm.
The freezer was installed, and the old one taken away, by 3.40 pm.
The food was back in the new freezer by 4.00 pm.


We always assume that you pay more to shop in a locally-owned business like this one, but here I don't think we did. We paid about £60 more (that would be just under 20%) for the freezer than we would have done in Curry's, but if you take into account the delivery charges it comes down to £40 (or about 12%) and with the fact that the one we got was bigger and better quality, and I have saved the cost and hassle of taking the old one to the tip, I think it comes out about even. I'm well pleased (and the salesperson was better-looking, too.)

Step forward Vaughan's Radio of Haverfordwest. Top people.

(I think this may well be the dullest post I have ever made. But I am of the belief that we are always quick to criticise when things go wrong, and it is incumbent upon us to praise when things go right as well. And the sheer timing of it all was well impressive.)


  1. If Vaughan's Radio offer a service for pembrokeshire people tell them to advertise free at http://pembrokeshirebusiness.blogspot.com/

  2. I believe in shopping locally when you can, but in our town they are short on plus size clothes, so I mostly buy online.

  3. Ah, Marie, but if you shop online, how do you know they will fit? It's a perennial problem. Seriously, I do a lot of shopping online myself, for stuff that isn't available locally, or needs a three-week period of order it, receive wrong order, return to shop, as for replacment and so on. I can have bike stuff delivered here within a day or two that would take a week and two 40-mile journeys to buy 'locally'. My argument was with the poor service of chain stores, where you inevitably end up with less than you hoped for, and an insulting level of customer service, all to save a few quid. Buy locally where you can, is my message.


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