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And now for the irritated post...

It's been one of those weeks.   But on Friday we finally managed to cut something out that has been hanging over us...

We wanted some nice wool for a customer, and finally found something that sounded excellent: Scotweb's Barathea in a very dark green.Price OK, colour OK, lovely fabric to work with.  So we ordered it...  And waited.  And on the day we were supposed to see it arrive, they let us know there wasn't as much as we'd ordered!  What should they do?

OK, we ask, how much is there?

We'll have to ask the warehouse.  That could take a couple of days...

Gentle grinding of teeth.  Please let us know ASAP, as this is getting urgent.

Next day they ring us back: 5.30m.  Ok, we say, give us an hour and we'll work out if that is enough.  We rapidly throw the bits onto 5.30m of calico ripped off the bolt to check the fit.  It goes on. Just.  And only because this style of doublet means there are lots of tiny bits that we can cram into spaces between the larger bits of things like the Venetians and the lower body and tab pieces...  Good.  Ring them back and tell them to send it out ASAP as this delay had made it an urgent matter.

It fails to arrive.  By this time we are into the snow, and half of England is either gridlocked or hibernating.  I email Scotweb to see when they sent our parcel out so I can find out from the carriers where it is and when to expect it.

Oh...  The warehouse hasn't sent it yet.  FIVE WHOLE DAYS AFTER THEY WERE TOLD THIS WAS URGENT?  Because of their delay?  Colour me unimpressed.  So they sent it out on FRIDAY by next day delivery - in the snow.  Saturday: no parcel.  Monday, no parcel...  But at least this time i had a delivery tracking number and could track it to see where it was: it had left the local depot, but was marked DELAY ON ROUTE.  I rang the depot.  The lovely lass was ever so good, and rang the driver.  He said between 3 and 4pm.  And was true to his word: it was here at a quarter to four.  The lass at the depot said that while the roads had been cleared, there were areas where 'things had happened' over the weekend, and they were putting a delayed note on all deliveries in the area just in case...  It just meant that until the driver was on the way to us from the last delivery, he couldn't tell exactly when he'd be there and it would be later than they usually hoped to get things out to our delivery point.

So by this time Su and I are deep into other folk's projects, and this one that we knew would be complex and would need more time had to be put back into the time shift area where we DIDN'T WANT IT because we wanted plenty of time to do miles of piping and work with complex shapes and odd bits and strange seams...

If you can hear a sort of crunchy sound, it'll be us grinding our teeth!  And today I am going to be catching up on stuff that SHOULD have been done before, had we had fabric when we planned to make the projects up...  Rather than having three things neatly lined up to do one after the other, we are doing three at once!  Farewell, weekend!

Dammit, we had fabric from INDIA and the USA come quicker than this!  For the same carriage fee we paid, we get stuff from Hainsworth, James Hare, and Henry Bertrand in under 24 hours!   Scotweb have gone on the same list as McCulloch and Wallis:  only if there is no-one else on the planet with this fabric.  I don't understand how they stay in business when there is so much really good stuff coming out of India, China, and wherever so much faster!  And with exemplary customer service, to boot.

Next week is pedal to the metal FTL sewing from morn 'til eve, from eve to dewy dusk - and beyond!  Don't expect to hear from me...


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2013 08:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, it hurt just to read this post. How frustrating! I would write to the head of the company and tell them exactly what happened and tell them that is why you will NEVER purchase from them again, and also tell ALL your sewing friends far and wide to steer clear. It's too late for compensation for you, but the owners need to know how pissed off their warehouse/sales staff is making customers.

Best of luck and hope smooth sewing is ahead for you! I wish I could help!
Jan. 27th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
5.30m of wool took 15 days from ordering to arrival, and covered a distance of less than 200 miles! And this was AFTER we said it needed to be sent out ASAP! GRR! What really took the biscuit was them not telling us they didn't have what we wanted for a whole seven days!

And no, we won't be ordering again. But they are a massive sompany and I doubt that a few short bits here and there from us will bother them. Most of their trade is in made items, so this doesn't seem to be a priority. However, this will get out on Facebook etc. and we'll be warning our customers off them.
Jan. 27th, 2013 09:11 pm (UTC)
I can't speak to shipments from India to the U.K., of course, but for a few metres of fabric ("few" being relative but ultimately the avoirdupois weight is what is important as would be volume after a given point), a parcel will be sent by air from the United States. That's a given. The options after that would be how 'Express' the delivery is to be.
Jan. 27th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
Both the Indian silks and the brocade from the USA came by airmail. As recorded and signed for packages, they get priority shipment once within GPO control. Stuff arrived from both places in less than the week we expected. And when the silk brocade we originally wanted was out of stock from the USA firm, they let us know the same day! When we couldn't get their website to accept the order, we rang them and they put it through over the phone. :) PROPER customer service!

The last bits from Kashmir that we are waiting for are being specially hand embroidered for us. We wanted the pattern re-sized smaller for clothing rather than furnishing, and in slightly different colours than their standard range. Nothing was too much trouble for them, but we always knew this one would be going to the wire on time because of when we could order it (getting several customers all lined up at once!). It was still faster and cheaper than doing it ourselves! If we get almost everything else done this week, that gives us a fortnight to finish the jackets...
Jan. 27th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
Eeh! Yes; I'm with you.
The last time I sent a package to the U.K., it went First Class Mail, but to send it overseas automatically means air mail. For me (and from the standpoint of time the recipient, who wasn't in a huge hurry), this was the fastest service for the least expense for me.

Some folks, though, might elect to ship internationally by United Parcel Service or FedEx and, again, to get the parcel to Europe there's bound to be a plane involved.
Only an extremely bulky (the size of a semi-tractor-trailer truck, for example, or a medium-sized boat, or something of similar proportions) and/or very, very heavy parcel would have warranted shipping by water and then only if water were cheaper.
And, of course, if you'd elected shipping by boat if by boat were an option and not the only means of transport. But then, I don't expect you'd be buying THAT much fabric from one source at one go. Not until your business has expanded a bit more, eh?
Jan. 27th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
I think we'd have exploded rather than expanded! ;) Yes, less than half a car sized comes by air usually. But lots of tiny stuff is horrifically expensive to get from the USA. It seems to cost the same whether it's half an pound in weight or half a ton!
Jan. 27th, 2013 10:51 pm (UTC)
I doubt this will be much consolation to you, but I've found shipping within the U.S. to be horrifically expensive, ESPECIALLY if the carrier is other than the United States Postal Service.
Only very, very rarely do I opt for anything other than the basic ground service. For my personal purchases, basic serves me very well. If it takes eight business days to reach me, it does, and that's just fine. If it takes fourteen or sixteen calendar days, that's all right, too.
I can readily see, however, that you would need to receive goods much more quickly than works for my personal schedule.

"But lots of tiny stuff is horrifically expensive to get from the USA. It seems to cost the same whether it's half an pound in weight or half a ton!"
I believe it!
Jan. 28th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
We are happy to wait and get cheaper shipping for the customer if they ORDER in time, WE know in advance so can plan for it, and it's enough cheaper to make a substantial difference. Some of our suppliers (like Henry Betrand and Hainsworth will ONLY ship next day by courier on an insured service and it's £15 however much or little we order. We just tell the customer that up front, so the choice is theirs.

A couple of years back I wanted to send a large Christmas parcel to my FiL. The GPO wanted to charge £78 for a two day service. My local carrier, Candy, sent it next day for £15! Bit of a difference there! We will probably send out at least one of the costumes via the carrier as it'll be cheaper than the post. It seems the only places shipping by post these days have enough of a business to get a great deal from the PO!
Jan. 28th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
Don't grind your teeths, it could be expensive, have just paid the dentist £1290.00 for two crowns and am expecting bill for about £300 for root canal work, completed today, and then another £640 for another gold crown, (they're cheaper and a better clinical solution than the white ones). Grinding teeth can cause this kind of damage, don't go there!

Sympathise with you over the order. We are moving an office in Canterbury over the weekend, and the computer desks are held up because of snow...Sigh. Silly creature in Head Office says, 'you'll just have to put some of the old desks in instead.' I sigh and tell her that no, you can't do this, the old curve desks are 1600 x 1400 mm and they won't fit into spaces designed for desks 1000 x 55mm. I have a plan, though, if they can't be delivered I will nick 12 computer tables from our warehouse of recycled furniture in Worcester and get them delivered by our lovely removers! The preloved desks are 80mm x 55mm - and I already have this cunning plan in place, but before I put it into practice I will ring the big boss and see what she says. Cheer! She who must be obeyed kicks shins and creates mayhem! We have sufficient clout that the supplier will put more men on, work longer and harder and deliver the desks by Monday 4th at the latest. Lie back and fan myself, thinking 'I don't need this crapola!' Boss is narked with everybode who didn't sort this out, and quite pleased with yours truly as I came up with a solution, even if we didn't need it.

Will be in Canterbury working from Friday to Tuesday and staying over for four nights, thought I might come and visit briefly one evening, if I can wash the dust and cobwebs out of my hair and drag my weary bones onto a train, but if the FTL sewing is still happening I'll see you some other time.

Edited at 2013-01-28 09:32 pm (UTC)
Jan. 28th, 2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
Between this and the tax office, it's a wonder I have any teeth left!

Snow is NO excuse - especially as THERE IS NO SNOW! It all washed away over the weekend. So snow is not a valid reason. Unless, of course, the desks are being built by snowmen who have all melted...

Yes, do please come and visit, FTL sewing notwithstanding. At least you know how to sew a straight seam if you need to! I'll do salmon, or something, and it can easily involve rice, be fat free, and totally without gluten, cow squeezings, or any harmful substances.

And you can see the jingly suit and the silver dress and all the other things that are killing us with pretty!
Jan. 29th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
I will give you a ring from Canterbury and we can arrange something - and I can cook the supper if need be, better that than a seam like a dog's hindleg, or a pig's breakfast!
Jan. 29th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, you've listed some of the 'not if they were the last man on earth' shops above - where are some of your favorites?
Jan. 29th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
We don't deal with many actual shops as such... Mostly online suppliers. We love Hainsworths, who manfacure lovely wools, James Hare, Bennett Silks, Pongees, and Henry Bertrand in the UK for silks, and Decorative International Silks in the USA. We also have several good ebay suppliers in Vietnam, Thailand, India and Japan, for budget silk taffeta and oriental fabrics. Then there are several smaller enterprises that do handwoven stuff like Linton Tweeds and the Harris Tweed folk.

For cheap and cheerful and bargains there are people like Fabricland, Croft Mill, Abakhan, and The Remnant House. Our trims and stuff list is about as long as a whole family of arms! ;)

Watch out later for the dress diary of this lot. We'll be singing the p[raises of the lovely suppliers then.
Jan. 30th, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
Awesome, thank you!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )