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Margaret Gow: Delivery fees make me mad


One of the most maddening things I’ve had to come to terms with so far is having to sell too-big furniture at a ridiculous price and then needing something which will fit; chiefly my lovely mahogany dining table and six chairs for £125 to be replaced by a modern fold-up thing with no chairs for four times as much.

Knowing that the new matching sideboard is going to cost an arm and a leg, last week I opted for a cheap tall white bookcase from Argos, just across the road.

Clearly, at six feet high there was no way I could bring it back on my own. Out of 50 or so flats, you may have thought at least one chap would be up for it; but no. You would be surprised how many had urgent business elsewhere or really, really bad backs! In the end it was a willowy lady who offered to help, and off we set. The two young girls who brought out the flatpack were dubious about our ability to carry it - and they were right. Since I couldn’t wait for delivery (and I thought £3.95 was a lot to pay for 200 yards anyway; I am Yorkshire, you know), their suggestion that we ‘borrow’ a supermarket trolley seemed to be the only instant option, because of their male fellow-employees not being insured, etc., etc...

Having snagged a trolley, next stop was their back door - where we discovered the bell is located some seven feet up the wall to deter mischievous teenagers from making nuisance calls. Naturally neither of us could reach it. Leaving my helper (whose memory isn’t what it was, and was quite likely to wonder what she was doing with an empty trolley and wander off with it) I shot around the store front again and announced our arrival, and soon we were loading up. Askew. Because the pack was too long of course, and stuck out considerably fore and aft. Worse, if it hadn’t been for the grey jagged setts to make the floor more interesting, the mall between the shops is dished to allow rain to run off into a central drain. This led to an amusing lopsided trajectory as far as the road which - for once - had the crossing (with its lumpy pink bobbles) in our favour. Now, we were on the home stretch!

The path down to the front gate had us running to keep up, but we negotiated that, the gate, two sets of double doors, a ninety-degree turn and a corridor before depositing the wretched thing sideways onto my hall floor. Now, all we had to do was take the trolley back, which we did without mishap. Phew!

Thanks to my terrific daughter-in-law who assembled it, it is doing a great job behind the sitting room door of my flat. Of course, we told my friend’s husband we had brought it in on our shoulders, but I don’t think he believed us. Our fellow-residents all heard about it, naturally, and were sorry not to have had a good laugh watching our progress. All we have to pray for now is that an embarrassing picture doesn’t appear in the local paper here.

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