Right by name, but not by action.

I order laminate flooring and end up talking to lots of nice people. After 4 months I have finally got the flooring installed!  

Here's my story...


I visit salesman Andrew at Carpetright’s Northampton store.

It seems reasonable to contact the local store. I’m currently living in Northampton while my house in Milton Keynes is repaired. I’m due to be moving back in mid June, 3 weeks time – so let’s order a floor covering!

I choose a wood floor laminate.

Their Graham is booked to visit and measure up the floor to confirm my measurements. I arrange a time with the house decorators so that he has access.


Graham measures the floors.


A driver arrives at my house in Milton Keynes, and phones me.

"I have your delivery!"

I explain I’m 20 miles away in Northampton – why did he not phone and arrange delivery sooner?

He leaves the goods, and I speed down the M1 to bring them inside for safekeeping. It’s not raining so we’re lucky.

I then phone the Northampton store – the goods have arrived! "Now we can book the fitter? - yes OK - the 17th."

What's in the delivery? Edging, packs of fibre board underlay... but no laminate.

I incorrectly assume the fitter will bring the laminate flooring – why would the supplier not send all the order? Driving down from Warrington piecemeal seems odd.

Everybody else incorrectly assumes I’ve received the laminate flooring.


Bob the carpet fitter arrives.

“But where’s the laminate?”

“I thought you would have it!”

I call the Northampton store – where’s the laminate flooring? Why hasn’t it been delivered?

Hoping that a store will have some laminate - I'm past caring about colour - shade - texture - I encourage Bob to carry on.

He removes internal doors, and starts putting down the underlay.

After an hour - things look hopeless - he gives up and walks out.

“There’s no point carrying on!”

“I get like that at times.”

“There no laminate – so how can I finish the job?”

Now, am I being reasonable?  I want the flooring down before I move back into the house. I delay the furniture removal company. I delay my house move. I won’t move in on the 21st, we'll go for the 1st July.

This is very frustrating as I’ve arranged several business meetings in Milton Keynes – so there’s lots of driving up and down the M1 for me for the next 2 weeks.    


A driver arrives at the house, and phones me. I explain, once again, that I’m 20 miles away in Northampton – why did he not phone and arrange delivery sooner.

He leaves the goods, and I speed down the M1 to bring them inside for safekeeping. It’s not raining so we’re lucky.

The laminate flooring has arrived! Unfortunately the driver left the boards propped against the outside wall. Even I know that boards should be stored flat.

15 boxes are soon stacked neatly inside.


(“Coir” is today’s new word.)

Brian the flooring fitter arrives. He checks the inventory, tuts at the underlay – “Why did you order this? You should use this nice heavy shiny stuff!” He points to a large shiny roll in his van.

“OK. We need... vinyl flooring for the toilet, and a brass strip edge for the doormat  Go to the Bletchley store and buy them, and bring them back.”  He continues “Who’s the idiot that ordered laminate for a toilet? Piss on that – and you’ll know about it!”

I do as requested, while he and his team start to lay down the the laminate.

At the store I buy the items, and just as I am about to leave the store, I see Brian entering the car park. He’s aborting the job!

“The laminate is no good – the panels - they’re warped!”

We go inside the store and pick a better grade. (Balterio "Senator")

We return to my home. He lays the stair carpet, and the vinyl goes down in the toilet. He and his team leaves – pleasantly enough, hoping to see me soon!

He leaves. The underlay is stacked up - all the wood and brass trim, and the warped boards are taken away.

I call the Northampton Store 01604 413111. “May I speak with Nick the manager.” I explain to Nick that the fitter was not happy with the laminate supplied.

“With luck we will have the laminate with you by next week, and fitting on the 30th."

I follow up with a visit to the store. The manager, Nick, greets me like a long lost friend and is very apologetic.


Nothing arrives. The fitter is rescheduled for the 5/7/11


I move back into the house in Milton Keynes. What is so absolutely exasperating is that I now have furniture standing on a concrete floor – belongings cannot be unpacked because the furniture will have to be moved as the floor is laid.

Also it will also be harder for me to spot defects as I won’t be able to see a clear floor.


The day passes with no delivery made.



I call the Northampton Store 01604 413111. I ask that the manufacturer delivers to the store as I will be away on holiday for a month. There is no point making the delivery and arranging a fitter before my holiday. This will give them time to arrange everything for my return on the 10th August.


I am away on holiday for a month!

Week commencing 24th July

3 plaintive calls from the laminate manufacturer: “Your order is ready: we want to deliver to your house.” These calls remain unanswered. (You see I’m away on holiday for a month. The clue is in the words “I” and “away”. You’ll also perceive that the laminate manufacturer did not get my request to have the delivery made to the store.)  

An aside

I am on holiday visiting a Lao student I'm sponsoring though college. He would like floor tiles laid down in his house. Would I, Mr ATM, help?

We go to a builders merchant and order 60 m3 tiles. The tiles are delivered within an hour. A local builder start setting them down. Within 3 days the ground floor is finished.

We celebrate with a party.

This is in Laos.


Whilst I am frustrated at Carpetright’s ineptitude, I would not wish them the events of today in Tottenham. This is a sad day.


I’ve just arrived back from my happy holiday in Southeast Asia.


Numerous call attempts to 01604 413111 (15 in all)

“Good morning! May I speak with your manager Nick. You should have some laminate flooring waiting for me!”

“Nick’s gone! He left 2 weeks ago. What was your name?”

“My name is Nick Hubbard, and I placed an order for laminate flooring. The manufacturer has been asked to deliver to your Milton Keynes store, so the fitting can be started immediately after I return from my holiday.”

“You will need to speak with Trevor”

Trevor speaks “OK, expect a delivery to be made soon.”


A packing list is prepared at the mysterious “Warehouse A” and is attached to a tube of 18 ‘scotia’.



The driver calls - “I’m turning up with your order!”

I greet him.

“S’funny – I’ve been here before!” says a friendly northern accent.

“It’s called déjà vu.”

“It wastes my time – just delivering edging!” he grumbles.

“I apologise and I hope this won’t happen again. I am sorry to have troubled you!” I reply.

He’s very pleasant but knows he’s been on a time wasting exercise.

A tube of 18 edgings is left with me. (“scotia molding” is their term – too much like "mouldy scrotums" for my liking.)  There's a packing list - the tube came from the mysterious "Warehouse A".


I call Northampton Store 01604 413111. “What’s going on? I have mouldings, but no laminate flooring? Is this getting familiar?”

“Call back Monday”

Monday 15/8/11


Numerous call attempts to 01604 413111 (14 in all). It’s so 1970s – a single phone line into a business – no email or web tracking – this is 2011!


I finally speak with Northampton Trevor. “What’s the progress of my order?”

“I do not know. I will call straight back”  


A call from Northampton Trevor: “Due to be delivered Thursday to the Milton Keynes store, and I’ve arranged fitting dates for the following Tuesday or Thursday”

Friday 19/8/11


I call the Northampton Store 01604 413111.

“May I speak with Trevor? My name is Nick Hubbard, and I placed an order for laminate flooring.”


I continue. “It was due to be delivered to your Milton Keynes store yesterday. Has it arrived?”

“Trevor’s not in today.”

“Can you give me the Milton Keynes store number?” I ask.

“We have 2 stores in Milton Keynes. The Bletchley one is 01908 375061, and the Milton Keynes one is 01908 894322[sic].

“Thank you, I will chase them up!”


I call the Bletchley store 01908 375061.

“Have you got my laminate flooring order in your store? My name is Nick Hubbard, and I placed an order with the Northampton Store.”

“No, we know nothing about this. Call back and talk to Jeff if you have problems.”

“OK I’ll try the Milton Keynes store.”


01908 894322 is a wrong number – a chirpy computer tells me the line is not connected. I trawl the web to find MK’s actual number, but...

14:25’s a tedious IVR (Interactive Voice Response) 0844 248 5526 that eventually connects to their Milton Keynes store.


Jeff at Milton Keynes answers.

“Would you give me your store’s phone number – I don’t want to go though that terrible IVR system again.”


“Would you give me you store’s phone number – so I can call you.”

“01908 694322”

“Have you got my laminate flooring order in your store? My ...”

“No. We take orders, and the manufacturer delivers to your home. You call us and we arrange fitting.”

I repeat: “Have you got my laminate flooring order in your store? My name is Nick Hubbard, and I placed an order with the Northampton store.”

“What was the name?”

Meaning “What is your name?” That gets me it’s like “I don’t really want to be involved so if I put your name in the past tense – you too will be in the past and out of my life.” It’s also syllogistically wrong – is it likely that I’ve changed my name in the last few seconds? No.

“My name is Nick Hubbard.”

It's hard to speak with <strong/> attributes over the phone.

“Oh arrr, yes... Bletchley won’t know anything.” (Probably true – I know people from Bletchley.)  “Northampton ordered the underlay, and the edging, and you have already got that.”

“Indeed. But not ordering the laminate itself is unlikely. That would be odd.” I proposed: “How many customers do you have that order a fading green underlay, edging, but no laminate? Not many?”

“True, that would be silly.”

“Yes – so where’s the laminate?”

“The manufacturer delivers to your home. You call us and we arrange fitting.”

“No – the manufacturer has been asked to deliver to your store, so the fitting can be started immediately after I return from my holiday – which was last Wednesday.”

“I should wait until the supplier contacts you.”

“Waiting passively for them to contact me is not an option. This has been going on for 2 months. Give me their phone number."

“I can’t”

"Why? Phones have been around for 100 years. Don’t they have a phone number?"

“No, I can’t give it out”

I decide it’s time to write up this story and send it to Lord Harris of Peckham, the chief executive of Carpetright.


I read the packing list from Warehouse A and see there is a delivery assistance number 0871 250 880.

It looks like a telephone number. (I studied City & Guilds Telecomms - so I know such things.) I dial it.

“Please hold, your call is important to us!”
“Please hold, your call is important to us!”

Michael answers – he cannot help as the “lady that knows has gone home, but will be back tomorrow.”

“Saturday?” I query. (I know the order of the days, and am aware that Saturday for some is not a working day.)

“Yes, she will be back in tomorrow, Saturday. What is it you are waiting for?”

“Laminate flooring – may be Kronofix but I’m not sure!”

“OK – well do call back – goodbye!”    

Saturday 20/8/11


An incoming phone call from "Blocked".

It's Waveney, the "lady that knows" from Warehouse A.

A bright witty conversation ensues.

She will call back on Monday when she's phoned around.

Monday 22/8/11


I call the Northampton Store 01604 413111. 5 aborted calls... The 6th ringing tone ... eventually answers:

“May I speak with Trevor?"

"Speaking - I'll get back to you - should have been delivered to the Bletchley store Wednesday or Thursday last week. We're planning to fit it this week too!"

"Thanks - let me know if I can help - I'm happy to scream at anyone you would like."

A new spelling? "Carpet trite"


An email arrives...

Dear Mr Hubbard,

Thank you for contacting us about your dealings with our store. We have logged your correspondence and we are currently obtaining further information so that we can reply to you as soon as possible. We would be grateful if you would allow up to seven days for a response.

If, for any reason, you need to discuss the progress of this matter, please contact the Customer Service Department direct on 08456 045619 (local rate), quoting the reference number at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely

Miss M Greenoff

Customer Services Department
[email protected]


"Blocked" calls. It's Waveney my friend from Warehouse A. She's chasing around. I suggest she calls the Northampton store. (There's ambiguity there too - there's more than one store in Northampton.)


The Northampton Store 01604 413111 calls. It's Trevor.

"The laminate is at Bletchley. Fitting will be Friday - It'll be Bob."

I remember Bob, and I think he will remember me.

"The fitters are up to our necks in it - so I can't make it any sooner."

Tuesday 23/8/11


I leave a long rambling message on Brian's (the 2nd fitter's) mobile phone. "That brass doormat trim - get it over to me - otherwise it's £26 quid for another one - Bob's going to fit the laminate this Friday - thanks."

Thursday 25/8/11

Tomorrow the fitter is due to arrive. This might be an eleventh hour check - but I re-measure the floors. One Excel spreadsheet later and I think 15 boxes of laminate will do, not 17. I can gloat over my precision maths tomorrow. 3 thresholds, 1 step down threshold, and a brass strip. (And we will have 2 "scotia" strips over.)

Now to confirm this with Trevor. (I never did get the revised order paperwork.)


I call the Northampton Store 01604 413111. 10 attempts with engaged tone.


I call the Customer Service Department "direct" on 08456 045619. I'm immediately redirected to Trevor.

"Is this a secret number?"

"No, " says Trevor, " I've been manning the phones all morning - this the normal phone."

"I'd like to confirm everything for the fitter tomorrow, and make sure we've got all the parts."

We trawl through the order. All the parts have been ordered, and are either with me or the fitter.

Trevor comments: "And it will be Brian, he'll want his £407, cash in hand."

That's good - Brian seemed very patient with all the shenanigans; and he did suggest the better laminate. He'll know what's going on - as well as have the perishing brass strip for the doormat.

Trevor continues "I want £127 for the better quality laminate."

I protest, but I'm soon giving my credit card details to him.

What will tomorrow bring?

Friday 26/8/11


I leave a message on Brian the fitter's mobile phone. The content of which will be obvious to you if you've waded through all this saga.  (I learn later that he only responds to text messages.)


I call the Northampton Store 01604 413111. I get through on the first attempt! I speak with Enid.

I ask "Where's my fitter? - there's only 11 hours 45 minutes left!"

"Trevor undergoing bed training - he'll call you back."

Poor Trevor - incontinence can be such a nuisance!


... As I type this ... an SMS from Brian. "We are on our way now!" 


... Brian and his team arrive.

The Balterio "Senator" laminate has an instruction in Dutch English "Let acclimate for 48 hours before installing!"

We forgo that nicety.


...Lounge completed...


...done. Brian says that he will return later to fill gaps between laminate and wall.

He continues "The doors need trimming. I can't do that. You can't do that. You'll have to find a specialist to do that. Called a 'Chippy'." 

There's an hiatus for a week while I
enjoy a holiday in Cornwall.

Tuesday 30/8/11


My mobile phone in-box receives a call from Northampton Trevor.

"It's a follow up call."

Neither I, nor the phone, respond.

Sunday 4/9/11


I spend 3 hours trimming the doors. I take 7mm off two of the doors and 2mm off the third. (A power plane and a metal rule are the key tools.)

Now I know 3 hours may be a long time, but I'm happy with a job well done, with no stress of organising the "chippy", and waiting for him to not arrive.

What's really wonderful is that I can now start "moving in", something I should have been doing 2 months ago. Furniture is trimmed to fit around the "scrotia." Belongings unpacked. Books sorted and placed on shelves.

I can close doors. I can open doors, then close them again! 

If I was to have laminate again, I'd:

1, Apply levelling compound to the concrete floor.

2, Remove and re-fit skirting boards over the laminate. 

Monday 5/9/11


I SMS (I believe the verb is "to text") Brian. "When are you coming to fill the gaps between the laminate floor and walls?"

Thurday 8/9/11


 Brian texts: "The sealant has not come in yet: they are having a problem getting the colour."

"it's due any day now. As soon as it's in I'll be with you. I'll call you first."

Tuesday 13/9/11


I SMS: "Any news?"

Monday 19/9/11


I text: "When can you finish off the flooring?"

Brian texts: "Sorry for the delay. I have the mastic. I will be with you tomorrow afternoon. Sorry for the delay."

I text: "OK see you then."

Tuesday 19/9/11


The afternoon finishes. Evening commences. No visit. 

Friday 23/9/11


I text: "When can you finish off the flooring?"

Brian texts: "We came on the day agreed. We came at 18:15. We thought you would be in. Will you be in on Monday afternoon?"

I make good use of the mobile telephone's copy paste feature.

I text: "OK see you then."

Monday 26/9/11


Being aware of the linear progression of time (at one second per second) and the ability to subtract time mentally (about 2 hours before evening commenced) I was moved to write, er text: "Will you be here this afternoon?"

"Yes! I'm on my way!"

Brian appeared, with his family. He spent 10 minutes applying the mastic and was done.

"Thank you for being patient!"

I now wish to draw a line under this whole affair. I think a 3 pixel high, dark purple one. 

Page last updated 29th September 2011

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