Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Efficiency is (the) Key?

Yesterday I cycled into town to get a spare mortice key cut and to buy a new watchstrap. My watch is not trendy or even good looking, but it's twelve years old and astonishingly reliable. And Chinese.  Anyway, I didn't go to any well known firm (rhymes with Timpsons), because I'd read that our local Green Party (of which I'm a not spectacularly active member), had successfully proposed an effective plan to keep open the market hall in Lancaster. Besides, I'm generally quite determined to avoid big firms and to give my small amount of business to a local person.

The friendly chap in the market had only one strap which matched my conditions: not metal, not leather. It seems to be OK, but rather smaller than I'd've liked.

I rode home. The new key was completely useless. Well, as a key it was, although it might've made a good something else. I rode back and the woman at the stall had a go at improving my key.  I rode home. The newly modified key was completely useless. I rode back and the bloke started all over again. I rode home. The new key worked.

Now, I wasn't particularly busy and I do need the exercise, but three journeys to get one key cut? That's a long way from being efficient, isn't it. What if I'd been some poor old biddy with bad legs and no reliable neighbours to run errands for me? Not so long back I made several trips to a local bike shop after a brand new tyre had exploded at 110 psi when its limit was 120. The firm replaced the tyre free of charge, and fitted it, but refused to replace the exploded inner tube.

Is there anywhere in the world where people can get proper compensation for the inconvenience entailed in exchanging shoddy goods, or services?