Written on: 22/11/2011
I bought a Forge Steel workbench from Chelmsford store. I didn't remove it from its box (which was unsealed when handed to me) and I kept it in my car for less than 24hrs. It was to be a Christmas present for my son in law. After reading product reviews on Screwfix website I decided overnight to return it and ask if I could exchange it for the Black & Decker model and pay the £20 extra. "Don't do Black & Decker" was the reply. I said I had seen one in Screwfix catalogue, page 818. "What's the item number?". I said I wasn't sure. "Put it over there". I was directed to the oddly named "Service" counter. What followed next can best be described as reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch. I helped the female assistant remove the lid of the large box (remember it wasn't sealed when I bought it). She then proceeded to fondle and caress the workbench in slow motion. (I kid you not). Every surface edge and every nut and bolt was rubbed in meticulous detail. It was all rather embarrassing. I am not sure what she thought she was doing, I don't think she had a clue either. The whole thing was repeated over and over and it took what seemed like several minutes. She turned to a colleague and said, rather loudly, "Is this in mint condition". I said that I had not even removed the item from its box. It was exactly as it was handed to me the day before. Whereupon she picked up the small bag of accessories from the box and said "This has been opened". "Not by me" I said. Then, the second assistant (who incidentally was the one that handed me the product in an unsealed box the day before) accused me of shouting. This from a young woman, barely out of school who apparently thinks it acceptable to greet customers well over twice her age as "mate". Then a third assistant was summoned from out the back. First assistant then repeats question to her "Is this in mint condition?". Nice and loud so that all other customers can hear. I absolutely support the idea of thoroughly checking returned items (I don't want to buy something damaged by someone else) but how is this meant to work unless (unsealed) items are subject to a similar forensic examination when first purchased? It wasn't in this case, and I have never purchased anything from Screwfix that has been checked in such a way before it's chucked at you across the counter. Some Chelmsford staff members are fine, but the latest recruits seem to be patronising, arrogant and rude. Good news is that Chelmsford Screwfix is on a large trading estate where there are dozens of specialist tool; electrical and plumbing warehouses and Wickes is just around the corner.