Confessions of a bathroom retailer: Handbag-gate

People are funny and as if to prove it our bathroom retailer recalls some of their craziest moments dealing with customers in the second of a regular series.

Despite issues such as courier problems, products doing a disappearing act Houdini would have been proud of, tiles turning up as mosaics when they are supposed to be large-format and suppliers and retailers alike being at breaking point, we have managed to carve out a portion of our day to fill you in on all of the goings on.

You know it’s been a tough day when you receive an email signed off Groeten and you reply, “Hi Groeten, lovely to speak to you, blah, blah…” I’m sure that’s not a new one for our Dutch suppliers, but it left us feeling a little silly as Groeten translates as ‘kind regards’.

When mindlessness hits and we do a Groeten-style mistake, we have a saying, ‘well, it’s not as bad as handbag-gate!’ Handbag-gate will go down in history. 

We’d recently finished working on a high-end residential property that had a master suite to die for, and one very particular owner. The cleaner would come behind the fitters and hoover even while the work was under way. So on completion, we ex—pected there’d be some snagging. 

This client did not want dust sheets brought into her finished home, but did want a real marble tile cutout and replaced – so the new tile needed to be cut to size on site. The garden was out of bounds, as the patio had just been completed, so the fitter asked the client where she wanted it cut and whether she was sure she didn’t want dust sheets. She said do it all in the en suite and not to ask again, so off he went leaving a plume of tile dust in his wake. 

Never before had we had to answer the phone to a fitter mid-client breakdown. The dust had made a beeline for her display of designer handbags in the walk-in wardrobe and what was once a python skin Prada was, well, let’s just say the client did not appreciate a snowy Christmas coming early. Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, she then called us directly after she caught him trying to get the Henry hoover on her Chanel clutch. 

It’s things like this that make us believe in karma. In the last column, we poked fun at a client in our fave ‘question of the week’ asked by a client in stone cold seriousness – “what happens if you run into a shower screen?” Well, we now know as just days after that my nephew ran into my new screen at home. The answer is, if it’s a slider, it comes off the rollers. 

Here’s one to ponder before you read our next column. Have you ever been in a room with a sugar daddy wearing one white glove and a pair of vicars? 

Be a bathroom designer they said. Well, well OK, but only if we can write an anonymous column so others can feel our pain! 

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