In which I have another visit from Thaddeus, my personal Junior Executive Marketing Sprite, who appeared in a blog post here in March, and even received some fan mail.
…ah – there you are, Thaddeus – goodness, you took your time!
This is most irregular – I’ve never been summoned before – I am usually sent to follow up on some kind of Episode – are you having an Episode…?
No – not at all – today I am very pleased because I feel I have scored a small personal victory against the evils of Scam Marketing, and I wish to share my satisfaction with you.
Are you sure you are not having an Episode? – I can’t get a reading on the Event Analyser…
Please – sit down, there by the toothpaste, and I’ll tell you the Tale of the Broken Bog Seat.
Erm – OK – will this take long?
No – it is a simple story – but you’d better get your little iPad fired up, so you can take notes. This morning we had a small domestic mishap here – the toilet seat in the downstairs bathroom was found to have split – we have no idea why – but, as always, it happened at the start of a week when we have visitors coming.
Is this toilet seat covered under an extended manufacturer’s warranty?
Please, Thaddeus – if you do not mind – I shall be grateful if you do not interrupt. The toilet seat is over ten years old, so the breakage is what is legally termed Wear and Tear, I believe – and no, before you ask, we have no special toilet seat insurance, though I seem to recall that my bank branch once tried to sell me something which sounded very similar, apart from the toilet seat bit. Our toilet is from McFarlane-Hendry’s Montana range, which was all the fashion when it was installed, in 2005.
It is impressive that you are so well informed on this – clearly your interest in bathroom fittings is more active than your grasp of, for example, models of razor.
I shall overlook your interruption at this point, Thaddy-Boy (you don’t mind if I call you Thaddy-Boy, do you?) – I shall overlook it on the grounds that it confirms that you are paying attention, and I shall refuse to react to any whiff of sarcasm. As is the way of these things, TB (there you are, that’s shorter and more businesslike than Thaddy-Boy), the Montana range is no more – it has been superseded – it is OOP, as we say in the World of Toilets, and you will not be surprised to learn that you cannot fit a replacement seat which is from a different range. I reasoned that McFarlane-Hendry cannot expect us to replace the entire bathroom suite, so there must be some other possibility. I searched long and hard for it online, and eventually, after some fishing about, I found that the official Montana replacement seat (part #S401001) is not available, as I expected, but an alternative was offered – namely the seat from the Orion range from the same manufacturer, which is still in production – this, to be exact, is part #S404501, and is offered for sale at some £27 + tax + shipping. To be on the safe side, since the small product photos were not very clear, I sent an email to the customer service people at the makers, just to check that the Orion seat would do the job (so to speak), and I received a prompt reply from one Emily – she was very professional and courteous.
|Emily, whose specialist subject is lavatories - not bad...|
Emily replied that the Orion was indeed a possible substitute, but that I would get an even better match if I purchased a seat from yet another model, the Saturn (part# S404001 – are you getting all this?) – which was rather more expensive – in fact they could offer it to me for the princely sum of £100 + tax + shipping. Well, TB – I have to say I smelt a rat – a little furry chap with big teeth and a long tail. Armed with this most helpful information from Emily, I jumped in my van and drove to my local Plumb Centre – just down the road, and the nice man in there allowed me to look at and measure a sample of the (cheaper, and less desirable) Orion seat, and do you know what?
No, but I am waiting to hear, in a state of some excitement.
Well, I’ll tell you what. The Orion seat is exactly the same as the Montana seat – identical – I would say it came from the same mould, in fact. It is difficult to see how the Saturn could be a better match than the exact original seat, so I drove away with it, having paid some £20 plus tax – got home in about 20 minutes, and had it fitted within a further 25. Result. The toilet is as good as new, and that metallic sound you can hear is the extra £100 or so which I saved, rattling in my pocket.
I am glad that you are pleased, but did you call me just to tell me this?
|Perfect example of a bathroom which is nothing at all like the ones at Chateau Foy|
Well, TB – it seems to me that the manufacturers of bathroom fittings are yet another example of just what I was on about last time we spoke – they are given to the energetic marketing of current ranges – which are up-to-the-minute and attractive and just what one needs in one’s home – and these ranges, like all fashionable items, have a fairly short catalogue life before they are replaced. The spares industry which supports this is a minefield for the customer – but it is deliberately made artificially complex. I now have evidence that there is a small number of fairly standard toilet seats, for example, which are used widely across the various ranges, and a great deal of roguery is created by the pretence that the supply of a suitable replacement part for your out-of-catalogue toilet is a tricky and expensive thing to arrange. Why else would the manufacturer recommend an alternative costing £100 more, on the grounds that it is superior to, or more exactly compatible than, the original item, which is still on sale under a different name?
I regret that I have no answer to your question, but I have noted your experience, and I suspect that McFarlane-Hendry may well be in line for some kind of industry award – certainly, recommending an alternative replacement part costing £100 more than necessary is a fine piece of work. Exemplary, in fact. Thank you for bringing this to our attention – WHAT ARE YOU INTENDING TO DO WITH THAT TOILET DUCK?
And – once again – he faded from view…
I'm sure he'll be back.