Newshound, June 2022
It could only happen to us! When we stopped keeping fish two years ago we had a three-metre wall space with nothing on it so we decided to shelve the top half for fish food and medicines and put our one and only freezer under it. This gave us space on the wall the freezer came from to expand our range of hay and shavings and other beddings.
This still left quite a gap where the fish tanks were and, as raw foods were selling better, we went for a new five-foot freezer.
Thinking the new freezer would be the same width as our existing freezer we saw no problem getting it through a rather narrow door which separates the front half of the shop from the back half. How wrong we were. The new freezer was 5cm wider than the door, so off came the door frame and two sheets of slatwall. Eventually we had to strip it back to the pre-Victorian stonework as it was originally an outside door, just to slide a freezer in. Two hours’ demolition for two seconds to get it through the door, then two hours to rebuild and repaint! I swore never again!
Well, a few weeks ago the other half mentioned that the freezer was not freezing as well as it should and some of the 400g packs felt a little soft. So we stuck a thermometer in the freezer and, lo and behold, it only reads -5 degrees C. Luckily as it was only a year old and well within its two-year warranty we phoned the company and an engineer was called out. He was there within a day and quickly diagnosed a faulty compressor. Our supplier contacted us a day later with the news that this was an uneconomical repair and a new freezer had been ordered. It was only when I put the phone down did it dawn on me that to get the dead freezer out and put the new freezer in would require the dismantling and rebuilding of the dreaded door! As the new freezer was coming on Tuesday we spent Sunday morning dismantling the door frame and getting the old freezer out and Tuesday afternoon rebuilding the shop. The joys of being a self- employed shopkeeper. On top of that, it galls me that a one year-old freezer will be scrapped just for the want of a compressor.
A customer saw our range of Burns dog treats and asked if we sold Burns dog food, which we have done for many years, then announced that this would save them a 50-mile round trip if they bought from us rather than the large shop in town. I don’t understand why people go straight to the large town before they even check out what’s available on their doorstep.
A local family came in just to see the rabbits, which we haven’t had for two years, and
despite only living 10 minutes away did not realise we sold dog food. Again, I don’t get it. To get to the livestock area you had to first walk past rows of dog food, you cannot miss it. In fact, we kept the livestock right at the rear of the shop to make sure customers saw the dry goods going in and again coming out. I suppose it just goes to show that no matter how long you have been in business and how obviously you think the shop is laid out, you still need to constantly work to make sure your customers are aware of what you sell. It’s like the person who stands in front of the wild bird seed display and asks if we sell wild bird seed.
A customer wanted an extending lead for a 23-kilometre dog.
I’ve noticed cold callers have recently stopped using withheld numbers, so they’re getting through my call barring system, which is a nuisance, but they then ask to speak to the business owner, who mysteriously is not at work at the time they phone, or only works on Sundays.