THE WORDS AND SENTIMENTS OF DAVID HEELEY - BROADCASTER | FOOD CRITIC | TRAVEL WRITER

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Rub a dub, dub where is my tub?


The ongoing travails of my construction of a modernist Mallorcian masterpiece/folly continue.

Regular followers will know that several years ago now I embarked upon an ambitious project to build a shrine to modern architecture, in the rural idyll that is the hinterland of the stunningly attractive island of Mallorca.

Several episodes have already unfolded and all of these and many more will eventually be published in book form under the title of “The Building Obsession”.

This latest debarcle came about as a consequence of me sourcing my bathroom equipment from UK suppliers due to the current weakness of the pound versus the euro “I’ll show those bureaucrats from Brussels” I thought, who tried to shaft us dinosaurs who still use the good old Great British Pound.

I’ll buy German bathroom equipment from Duravit and Hansgrohe via British company C.P Hart for a much lower price than I could ever buy the same equipment in Mallorca and simply have it shipped.  What’s more, there is a specialist firm “Webbs International Removals” who do a weekly run from Kent to the island, who will have it on my new doorstep within 5 days of leaving UK shores.

Thus, dear reader, here is a salutary tale – as well as email trail – of what happened when I embarked upon this seemingly easy endeavor.

February 14th: C.P Hart deliver bathroom equipment to Webbs at Ramsgate.  Webbs sign for the acceptance of the consignment and ship the whole thing to the island a few days later.

February 21st: Webbs contact DH to say they are hoping to deliver and can I advise them of the address in Mallorca of where plumbing supplies should be sent.

To this end, my Mallorcian plumber is happy to store the equipment until require at his not insubstantial storage depo in Porto Cristo.

I rendezvous with driver Jamie and direct him to the exact location where the goods are unloaded – somewhat hurriedly – and I’m given a blank piece of paper to put my signature on to accept receipt.

So far so good.

Six weeks go by and the Mallorcian plumbing firms boss, Juan, asks in passing when the second of my two bathtubs will be arriving.  “What do you mean? Be arriving?” I asked, “It came with all the other bathroom equipment”.  “No, no” he explained through my ever reliable polyglot Korser, “only one bathtub was delivered”.  And so began one of the more interesting email exchanges I have ever been involved with.

12th April at 11.27 Mr Webb to DH

Good Morning Mr Heely (sic)

Gareth has contacted me regarding the “Bath”    as previously explained,    everything was delivered in Febuary,  (sic)  my crews remember physically carrying this Bath,  they needed assistance from your builders to do so.

6 weeks after a signed delivery note,  you now question where the bath is,  that is quite a surprise.

We have delivered it, if it is now missing that is an issue between you and your people.

Therefore please stop constantly phoning, my crews whom are working and driving,    any query will be dealt with by me direct, and I did that yesterday

Regards Bill Webb

12th April at 14.53 DH to Mr Webb

Hi Bill

Thank you so much for your kind and understanding email, it certainly underlines your companies remarkable attitude to service.

I have attempted to contact your driver Jamie only because you yourself suggested it.

He has always been very polite and helpful and I was merely seeking his reassurance and confirmation that it was indeed the bath in question that he remembers rather than the other one also contained in the consignment.

The fact that it was delivered 6 weeks ago is far from ideal but it has been stored by the plumbers since then.

I have been at pains to explain through out this farago, that I am not interested in trying to blame you but merely solicit your help in trying to provide a route map for what has happened.

I would have thought that that at least was comprehensible and that you would have empathised with my situation, not least as a valued customer now and in the future.

As I may have mentioned ,I am writing a book about my Mallorquin project, so hopefully many readers will soon be able to read of your companies unprecedented attitude to customer service.
Must dash and update my blog,

Speak v. soon,

David Heeley

12 April at 15.37 Mr Webb to DH

Good Afternoon David,

May I thank you for your comments, my Company has bent over for you backwards to accommodate your every wish,   this being a Part Load Service, we have put you first on every trip.

The Bath being delivered over 6 weeks, you signed for is now allegedly missing

You phone me, I explain that we have delivered this, right down to how many people delivered it,  and where they put it.

I explained clearly, this was the very heavy bath,  that took three of my men and two of your builders to carry, and no it was not the smaller bath.

This is where the matter should end as far as we are concerned,

But instead you chase Gareth in the UK and Jamie here in Mallorca for further information.

It is therefore clear that you do not trust my Company, and that annoys me,   Customer Service,  you need Social Services,   if you have not worked it out yet,  and it takes no route map to suss this out,  your Bath has been obviously liberated, and that you have to take up with the relevant people.

I look forward to your Book,   I hope we get a good mention !

Regards    Bill Webb

12th April 5.59pm DH to Mr Webb

Dear Bill,

Imagine my joy and surprise when re-entering a wi-fi zone, to find I was the recipient of another of your charming missives.

Time precludes me dealing with every one of your points but may I humbly again remind you that it was at your behest that I contacted Jamie.

You kindly enquire whether I have worked out that my bath has been “liberated” but must again state that this is why I requested the support of your delivery staff, so that there could be no ambiguity on the behalf of the recipient.

Our little chats have often been perforated with your shibboleth “this is Easy Jet not Lear jet” but wonder if the analogy my be better made with Michael O’Leary’s renowned company, with which you share a similar commitment to customer satisfaction.

The various companies I have owned or been associated with have always shared the same motto – “Vado susicvous mile” .Whilst I feel sure that you will be only too familiar with this Latin phrase, it is often more commonly quoted in English, as you know, as ‘go the extra mile’.

I think the only difference between our respective outlooks is that you have chosen a measure a little on the shorter side- be it an inch or a foot.

I always like to reward good service, that is why I paid your first invoice on day of receipt and why I was happy to give you/your driver the 100€’s in cash for prompt delivery of the kitchen.

Your amusing statement “that I require social services not customer service” ,is very much from the same witty and entertaining vein as your comment to me last week when I called to enquire after my kitchen, to be told “we’ve been taking bets on who’d be on the phone first and my money was on you”.  Paradoxically, of course, it was my money but there you go.

Please rest assured that I will of course ensure that you are to be sent a copy of my book, like most things, at my expense.

I remain, your kind servant,

David Heeley

13th April 10.15 Mr Webb to DH

Good Morning Sir,

Just to touch on a few of your comments, I do appreciate your elegant words, mine unfortunately tend to come from basic commonsense,

My mother was a lecturer, in Latin, both my sisters are Notary’s educated in France,  my brother is a MD of a Shipping Company, so all the brains of the family have been used up when it came to me.

I suppose after twenty five years in the business, ten of those here in Mallorca, I do tend to see and here of a few characters, and you have certainly booked your chapter in any forthcoming book I might write.

Now on every job we have brought over, it is you that phones first, never the other 30 odd clients, we get to everybody, as quickly as possible.  You are no more or less important that Joe Bloggs or Clients who would top a Whose Who list.

You have offered financial incentive to be first,   at least I am pleased that your halo is not permanently affixed to your head,  and we do talk the same language.

When I have used the Learjet or Easy terminology, it is purely to explain that the Whole World does not revolve around you,    you are part of the whole deal,  and Michael O,Leary has the best Customer Services in the World,     Take it or leave it is his attitude,   you receive excellent value for money,  everybody is equal, and if you do not like it,   go elsewhere,     RyanAir,  the most successful and profitable airline in Europe,      Not bad !

Getting back to the Bath, I spent a bit of time with you, clearly explaining that ALL items had been delivered, and it was YOUR signature on the paperwork, again this is where the matter should have ended, but instead you phoned Gareth in the UK, you had the supplier e-mail my UK Office to confirm that it was loaded by Forklift, (again trying to put doubt in my Company) you constantly phoned Jamie to again clarify what I had already told you.

Mr. Heely (sic), you must take my word, it was delivered, and you signed for it, end of story.

You no doubt are a successful businessman, so smell the coffee, somebody has had it away !

Believe me, my Years in Mallorca operating a Removal Company has given me so much material for a Best Seller, I might just ask you to edit it!

Kind Regards, Bill Webb

13th April 16.26 DH to Mr Webb

Dear Bill,

I awoke this morning grubby but overjoyed to see that my in box was again the lucky recipient of another of your informative and instructive communications.

Whilst I was edified to read of your family ancestry, I am not sure how germane it was to our discussion/dispute.

Still, it warrants a response because if we are not careful we will reach a ‘rapprochement.’

Please bear in mind that I am rarely in a wi-fi zone and consequently have often had no chance to read your emails for many hours after they have been sent. Consequently, I have had to use the communication device at my disposal i.e. the phone.

I promise not to say this again but I attempted to contact Jamie at your behest. I was attempting to build an irresistible case/trail , that would irrefutably show to the plumber storing the goods that there was no wriggle room for misunderstanding .I was hoping to have the reassurance  that Jamie could actually confirm and remember the packaging and say to the plumber that “yes, he had indubitably delivered the goods”.  This, I believed would have more impact than a scribbled signature on a tatty piece of paper.

In short, being a gentleman I was looking for the support of another gentleman, not least a fellow Englishman ,in an alien world. Was I asking too much?

Your point re Ryan Air is correct as far as it goes but the point is that that company, whilst profitable, is universally despised. I am sure, that you -like me- would happily fore go a little profit in the name of good customer relations, or have I again misjudged the “cut of your jib?”

The fact that I am apparently the first to call merely demonstrates that I am fastidious and surely that is to celebrated.

I feel a little like the legendary Don Quixote and hope that I am not tilting at windmills.

I am potentially available for editing duties when your weighty tome is ready but unlike Mr O’Leary I don’t come cheap.

Clearly, the aroma of my caffeine free cappuccino enables me to recognise the forlorn nature of my search but c’est la vie.

I suspect I have exhausted our exchange but should you now be so concerned for my cleanliness, then I will of course keep you appraised of developments,

Yours sweatily,

David Heeley

13th April Mr Webb to DH

David,

Your Bonkers!

Welcome to Mallorca, you will fit in well, hope you find that bath,

Best Regards

Bill

So, unbelievably, we end up – not the best of friends – but at least on speaking terms and with the prospect of me being paid for editing duties in the future.

That old adage from a TV add campaign of the 80’s, “we won’t make a drama out of a crisis” would be a good moto for Webbs, as for its accuracy, I’ll leave you to judge.

The missing bath? Well, said Mallorcian plumber finally conceded he had been the victim of a burglary and that several of my items that he’d been storing had indeed been stolen.  The burglars gained entry and presumably exit via a small window.  My missing bath was huge, measuring 2m x 1m.  As it wasn’t inflatable the question remains how said miscreants managed to extricate it, not least without the help of a forklift and flatbed carrier.

Still, the important thing is Bill was right all along about its being liberated.  I can only hope he was equally correct in saying how well I’ll fit in, time well tell.

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Comments (6)

  1. DAVID SAYS

    In my opinion the plumber works well.In Mallorca there are so many robberies.

    Mary, April 27, 2011, 2:39 pm

    • DAVID SAYS

      Thanks Mary. Sadly I know what you mean

      David Heeley, April 27, 2011, 3:08 pm

  2. DAVID SAYS

    Bill should be receiving royalty, talk about wasting another mans time for material, no amount of flower disguising the banal end.

    S Smith, June 1, 2011, 2:46 pm

  3. DAVID SAYS

    Sorry for your misfortune but a get exchange guys, very amusing

    Zara, July 6, 2011, 12:00 pm

  4. DAVID SAYS

    sorry should read ´great exchange´

    Zara, July 6, 2011, 12:01 pm

  5. DAVID SAYS

    that is a´ GREAT´exchange

    Zara, July 6, 2011, 12:03 pm

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