Forget the hype – in the end, it’s results that count

I decided to have my living room and dining room carpeted, so I contacted two companies. One was huge, national and had a very slick website. The other was small, local and had no website. The big chain had a unique offering: a home service, where a salesman came to you, measured up and showed you hundreds of samples ranged up and down the insides of his big white van with sliding doors. What could be easier? All I had to do was submit my details on the website, and they’d contact me within 24 hours to arrange an appointment. Or I could phone, which would speed things up. So I did. The woman was brisk and efficient. She gave me the name of the salesman who would call me within 24 hours. In the meantime, I phoned the small outfit. Yes, they’d be delighted to help. How about tomorrow? 11am? And yes, of course they could dispose of the old carpet. They could even take the doors off and plane them if they didn’t close properly afterwards. The salesman didn’t have a big white van. He had a small red Mini with a Union Jack painted on the roof. He took 20 minutes to do it all, called me ‘sir’, and invited me to come to the shop to pick up some samples. “Bring them back, put them down, and live with them for a couple of days,” he said. “It makes the world of difference.” So I did. A day later, I had a quote. Two days later, I’d decided which carpet to choose. Three days after that, the carpet fitters arrived on time, did a great job, and left earlier than planned. And the big firm? Well, two months on, I’m still waiting for that call. Which just goes to prove that big showrooms, groovy websites and high-tech vans don’t always deliver. Give me a small shop, a man who calls me ‘sir’ and a red Mini any day. And a promise that’s kept. Like the man said, it makes the world of difference.