It’s been a big week on the home front with a stack of work being done round the ol’ Plasterboard Palace. This is why my blogging (and every other form of writing) has taken a bit of a backseat over the last couple of days.
I ‘had’ initially planned on enjoying a couple of drinks down at the local Irish Bar to celebrate St Paddy’s day on my first day off, but got held up chasing hardware all over town. If there’s one thing that pisses me off the most with Gladstone, it’s the fact that in order to get, say, 5 items of hardware, I need to visit every hardware shop in town, and at least one specialty tool, or building supply store to get the stuff. There is no ‘one place’ in this town you can go to, to get paint, silicon, pipes, tools, concrete, garden edging, wire. etc. Nope.
Oh no. That would be too easy.
We have a major hardware store in town. A big warehouse, chock full of stuff… apparently. I won’t put the actual name here, but it rhymes with… ah stuff it, it’s BUNNINGS! Every week I find myself wandering through it’s massive aisles, clutching my list and looking desperately about for the things I need. Every week I stand in front of empty spaces where the stuff I want is supposed to be, but for some reason, isn’t. Every week I swear blind that I’ll never return, and every damned week, like some optimistic, drooling moron I go back there and repeat the exercise all over again.
I’ve filled in customer feedback forms pointing out their inadequacies. I’ve contacted head office (no reply), spoken with someone who is part of their management team, and eventually, on Tuesday got chatting with the kid who does casual work there, who was a mine of information.
Me: Mate, please, for the love of Jesus, tell me you’ve got some 90 mm downpipe stashed somewhere?
Him: No. It should be here. (points to an empty space)
Me: (sigh) So, you don’t have any at all.
Him: (taking another look just in case it magically appeared in the last few seconds) No.
Me: Mate, I’m not a shopkeepers arsehole, but if I was working here, and I saw a popular piece of stock was starting to run out, I would think to myself, “Time to order some more in.”
Him: Good idea.
Me: Yes, I’ve got lots of good ideas. What I don’t have though, is the necessary hardware supplies to put them in place.
Him: It’s not our fault. We don’t order the stuff, it’s up to the reps. They come through once a week, check the stock and put in an order.
Me: You’re kidding!
Him: No, it’s a good system.
Me: (staring at the empty space, then at my list with a lot of items unticked) Yeah, I can see that. Just to let you know son, I’ve got 13 items on this list, and this store (start waving arms wildly about) with all it’s f*&*ing shelves, boxes, and storage space, has managed to supply 3 things that I need. This is the last f*&%ing time I come here! Look at this, I’ve managed to find a spoon drain, do you have the mesh cover that is supposed to go with it?
Him: Um, they should be there (points to another empty shelf).
Me: So, you’ve got all these drains and traps without covers, which means all these drains and traps are basically useless.
Him: Yes. I wonder why someone bought all the covers?
Me: I wonder when you’re going to get some more in?
Man behind me: Yeah, you’re right, this joint is a joke! (turns to young casual) mate, where do you keep the 90 mm storm water pipe?
Me: (laughing hysterically… walks from the store.)
The hunt begins as I trail round town looking for supplies.
By this stage, I’m not even looking for a bargain, I just want the stuff (at whatever cost), so I can get home, do the jobs I need to do, then relax. What I need is a store whose ads run like this: We got it! Whatever you need we’ll have it! Ok, you’ll pay double the price of anywhere else, but at least we’ve got the shit!
So, my first day off was spent mostly behind the wheel of my car fuming and fretting about the crap service in this town, the uselessness of computer generated re-ordering systems, and wondering just what sort of message it is that the universe is trying to send me, and why?
It took 4 hours, of driving, hunting, and begging, but I got ‘most’ of the stuff, along with elevated blood pressure, and a twitching right eyelid… unfortunately things got worse from that point onwards.