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Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday 12th June 2010

We went in to town to pick up an engraved plaque that we need for the boat. After much haggling yesterday Stu and the shop assistant worked out a price for the plaque, which had to be 400mm x 150mm, with letters a certain height. The assistant proudly produced the finished item when we arrived – and it was about half the size we had requested and had the wrong lettering. “Sorry sir – my Father said that for the size you wanted we had to charge more, so this is all you get for the price I quoted”. Of course that went down like a lead balloon because everyone had been very clear yesterday about what was needed and the price that was agreed on. The shop closed in 3 hours and apparently there wasn’t enough time to do another plaque – although if we wanted him to do what we asked for we had to pay more anyway. The assistant kept going on about how the material had been wasted because we wouldn’t take it, and we kept pointing out that it was his fault it was wrong and we didn’t want to pay for his mistake. It went back and forth until finally he rang his Father, who didn’t appear to be very impressed with the whole situation and, when the phone was passed to Stu, definitely wasn’t impressed with the situation telling Stu in no uncertain terms that we had to take the offending item or pay more to get the new one done. The other issue was that they couldn’t do the new one until Tuesday when they reopened after a long weekend, which didn’t suit us as we are leaving before then. The 20 minute discussion between Stu, the assistant and the Father eventually ended when we were told (with a satisfactory smirk) that if we wanted our money back we had to call to Police. Fine, we said, you call them. The smirk disappeared briefly before he realized that he could just say no, which he did. We left with him and his mate chuckling behind us. He also looked very satisfied when we walked back in 5 minutes later, obviously (in his mind) to give in and pay the extra. The satisfied look was quickly wiped away, however, when we were followed 2 seconds later by the Police Officer we had met on the street! Suddenly it was all just a big mistake, and the assistant was more than happy to make a new plaque by Tuesday. Again we pointed out that we could not wait until Tuesday, so suddenly it would be ready just before closing time today at the originally agreed price. Amazing what can be accomplished when someone of authority is on your side. I can guarantee that the assistant never imagined that we would call his bluff! Unfortunately when we went back to pick it up we were told that he hadn’t done it because he had run out of materials but he would gladly give us our deposit back. We were sure that a shop would not totally run out of stock in 2 hours (particularly given we were the only customers…) and figure that was just his departing blow – telling us at closing time that he couldn’t do it, therefore all other engraving shops were also closed and we couldn’t go elsewhere. Or maybe he still had hopes that we would agree to buy the original plaque. Either way we got our deposit back. I’m sure he thought he’d won because he didn’t have to make the new one for us, but we thought we’d won because we got our deposit back and weren’t out of pocket, so I suppose in the end everyone was satisfied and you can’t really ask for a better outcome than that! We’ll just have to chase it up in Noumea now.

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