Materialism gone mad

Over the last few months we’ve been moving house. As a result, we’ve had to deal with a large number of companies, and the experiences have been, well, mixed.

So, in the spirit of the internet’s role as a place you can say nasty stuff about things without accountability, here’s a rundown of which companies have been cuties and which have been cocknockers.

Better than expected:

  • BT – ironically, we ended up cancelling BT, despite their service being slick and polite. Moving house with them was really simple and very quick, and cancelling was painless and professionally handled. Considering what you’ll find further down this list we may end up back there sooner than expected.
  • – just about making it onto the “yay” side of the equation on the strength of a) ultra-friendly customer service and b) cheap prices for nice stuff. Made’s schtick is selling high quality furniture at prices that undercut the high street equivalent by about 70%. The do this by making stuff to order and having no middlemen. On the down side, it takes three months for most deliveries to be made, which makes planning tricky. And it’s doubly frustrating when the item arrives after three months and has a dirty great stain on it, necessitating a return and a re-order (only 7 weeks this time, mind). But I can’t fault their helpfulness whenever I’ve dealt with them and it’s slightly pathetic that this has become the sine qua non of a positive customer experience.
  • Max Inc. – a second hand furniture store in Shepherds Bush who get bonus points for being an actual old-fashioned small local business, which slightly assuaged my corporate guilt, but who deserve bigging up for great service and prompt delivery (and agreeing to a discount).
  • Tapstore – a confession. We only ordered a showerhead from them, but I thought we’d ordered a sink and pedestal too and hassled them about not delivering them. After several helpful phone calls, the chap even asked his courier to go and see where he’d dropped the delivery off. Our house. There was no missing sink. Sorry Tapstore, and thank you for being so helpful in the face of a befuddled idiot.
  • B&Q – scraping the barrel a bit here, but they’ve been there when we needed them, and one thing stood out to propel them into the positive: a helpful sink salesman, when confronted with our concern about their tap range, suggested we go to an independent bathroom shop just down the road as their stock and prices would be better.


  • Santander – not really a meh, but meh on average. Pluses and minuses here. The annoyance at having to pay £1250 for the right to a mortgage has to be gauged in terms of all the fucking banks demanding your first born for the right to own a house. So I’ll concentrate instead on their helpfulness when setting up a joint acount and the (as far as I can tell) genuinely competitive savings terms, but offset that with their home insurance quote being double what the advisor airily suggested it might be. We still bought it, though, because it’s good for bicycles.
  • Daniel Beds, Chiswick – we got a nice bed at a nice price, and dealt with real people in the process. But it took 4 weeks instead of 2 to arrive and it’s fairly obvious why that’s not ideal.
  • John Lewis – all very easy and efficient – our appliance buying was basically a cross-referencing of the John Lewis catalogue and Which? magazine. Points lost for selling us a non-existent washing machine and thereby delaying delivery, which is a BIG CRIME when you’re trying to get a whole house sorted.
  • Fired Earth – yuppily efficient and pretty and expensive. I guess they did their job fine – I just resent no other tiles sellers actually being cheaper and still nice.
  • Homebase – see B&Q, by and large, but they lose points for having vegetal debris dropped by the exit which resulted in my other half slipping over and jarring her already buggered knee with added clothes damage. They were good about it, but until we get a massive compensatory cheque (hint hint) they can sit with the mediocre (NB there is every chance I’ve got my B&Q and Homebase anecdotes horribly muddled, but it’s not really going to make any kind of difference to anyone).
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council – as numbingly bureaucratic as expected, but ultimately some poorly paid, stressed-out people unhappily obliged to toil for Tory filth caried out what was required.


  • Nationwide Bathrooms – so THAT’S where we ordered the sink from. They get a low rating for taking inordinately long to deliver and not telling us when it would be.


  • Sky – I’ve been looking forward to this. Fuck you, Sky. As we’re nowadays so pathetically useless we can’t take a dump without using the internet, 8 sodding weeks without broadband is a bit of a big deal. There were issues with non-delivery of a viewing card, repair of said viewing card, and a big porkie-pie regarding the pricing of the Sky-branded phone line (installed by a BT engineer – maybe they’re all as bad as each other after all)

But what took the biscuit was that at each stage of the process, we were informed of ANOTHER two week delay which, apparently, isn’t because anything was wrong, or faulty, or out of stock – it’s just how they do things. If that’s the case, tell us in advance, you appalling bunch of arses. Okay, we probably wouldn’t have ordered if we’d known broadband would be activated 2 months to the day after we got the keys (I am being generous here – the sticker on the box says “do not try to activate broadband before 31st May” – Christ knows what would happen. A phone call saying “well look what you’ve done. Are you happy now?”, I expect), but right now I am tempted to wait 29 days of their 30-day “cooling off period” (props for nailing THAT phrase, Mr Murdoch) and then cancel on their ass.

I bet I don’t, though. And bonus points for any of you who read between the lines and figured out my discomfort and hypocrisy in using their services in the first place.

So, in case I wasn’t clear, anyone tempted to sign up for (shameless Google-seducing here, sorry) Sky Talk, Sky Anytime+, Sky Broadband Everyday Lite, Sky Broadband Unlimited or Sky Unlimited Broadband – for the love of God go elsewhere. These people LIE TO YOU, and that’s way worse than mistakes or delays or faulty goods.

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