I think I may know why Allied Carpets got into trouble
August 31, 2009
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As I have bitched about at length before, I have been having the kitchen re-done. Not because I have pockets of unlimited depth, but because after almost three years of living with sticky work surfaces (caused, I think, by the previous owner rubbing teak oil into already sealed wood) and flooring that was probably older than me and vile in its increasing filthiness, I snapped and had it fixed. I now have worktops I can – oh, the delight! – wipe clean, a couple of extra cupboards and, most delicious of all, brand new vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. (I know vinyl flooring may not be to everyone's tastes but, as I've already said: limited budget and needs to be warm and easy to clean. Those Welsh slate tiles will have to wait for my Blackheath mansion.)
Inevitably, this meant visiting a number of flooring shops. Now my Mum used to work for a carpet company and she told me I'd need to make sure they came round and did a proper estimate, and that there might be a need for some sub-flooring to go over the lumpy disaster that was the old tiles. I'd already been to an established family firm in Forest Hill and booked an appointment for them to take a look, when I called in at Allied Carpets. The day after some of the stores went into administration, but I'd looked at the website and the Lewisham store was 'safe'.
Scene: Saturday lunchtime, Lewisham Allied Carpets. There are perhaps two other customers in the entire shop.
Allied Carpets Man: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I need some vinyl flooring for my flat, can I book in someone to come round and measure up?
ACM: Oh no. We don't measure up until you've placed your order.
Me: But how do I know if I want to place an order until I know how much you'll charge? And I won't know that until you measure up.
ACM: [looking confused] You'll need to place an order.
Me: [sensing this may be a dead end] OK. Well what about preparation? The stuff I have at the moment is pretty old.
ACM: Ah. That'll cost you a lot of money.
ACM: What do you have?
Me: Vinyl tiling.
ACM: It'll all have to come up.
Me: Er, no, you can just lay plywood over the top can't you?
ACM: Can we?
Me: Yes. That's how it's done.
ACM: Oh. We don't do that.
Me: But you fit carpets and vinyl?
Me: But you don't do any of the prep.
ACM: No. You'll have to get all that done before we arrive.
Me: So that's two lots of workmen I have to pay?
ACM: That's right. Here's a leaflet for a guy called Steve. He does that stuff.
Me: You know what? I think I'm alright.