Radio Bath

I bought a Roberts bath radio from John Lewis. Could there ever be a problem with that combo of quality and service ? Will this post be remotely interesting ? Yes to both.

The first time I used the radio the aerial snapped in two which meant although it was me who was underwater in the bath without an aerial it sounded like Sandi Toskvig on Radio 4 was, too. 

The next day I took the radio back to the electrical service desk at John Lewis. I was greeted by a pleasant assistant chap and I politely explained that on first use the aerial had snapped off.

There was a long silence, our eyes met and at first I thought he was empathising with me; spoiled bath/ busted brand new radio,/having to bring it back,/’I am truly devastated for you’, that type of thing. But No. The silence and his eye contact continued for too long, and I  suddenly understood – he was staring me out !

I have four teenagers and my mumsy eyeballing skills are ADVANCED. So much so that after they impart news like “I need a loan” or “I’ve got a parking ticket”  or “I’ve lost the dog” they will always wail “Don’t look at me like that!” I could stare for England, no Europe, no the Commonwealth, even inter galacticly.

I’d arrived at 10.30am and it felt like it was approaching time for afternoon tea when he finally looked away (I am the champion) and spoke, “I’ll send it away to be repaired”,  then another long clock-ticking pause, “Madam.”

Repair a day old radio ? There was a short burst of No-ing from me and Yes-sing from him before I cut short our sing-song fall out and  asked him to get his Supervisor.

What happened next took me completely by surprise because John Lewis man suddenly had wet eyes and spoke so softly that at first I didn’t hear what he said. He repeated it more for his benefit than mine and was shaking his head in disbelief as he declared “You don’t care about me.”

My conscience lunged forward to defend my love of humanity, John Lewis in general and him inparticular but apparently my mouth didn’t entirely agree because it said “No I don’t. I care that my new £30 radio doesn’t work and that you are not willing to help me. Please call your supervisor, now !”

By now a queue had formed behind me, not shifting or impatient at all. In fact they were transfixed by the drama playing out in front of them.  An electrical service desk had never been so entertaining.

 Next, he took us all by surprise and addressed the queue and not me. What a player. A single tear rolled down his cheek and dropped from his chins  onto his JLP green tie as he announced to them in a voice that cracked with emotion, “She doesn’t care about me”.  And then he swept through the plastic double doors into the ‘back’ and abandoned me. Did he serve me right ?

I got a new assistant (cheery not teary)and a new radio and I want John Lewis man to know that I do care. I care that I don’t look like Cheryl Cole.

2 comments to Radio Bath

  • MartinRWight

    Anna May, it is now I who have tear(s) running down my cheeks, thankfully with laughter! I empathise with you completely JL Oxford St had my partner and I running a practical marathon once, this prior it’s recent refurb.

    We had just purchased an electrical item that I had reserved over the phone earlier the same day. The system (I use this term lightly) was that you paid for your item at the till within the relevant department, and you then took your receipt to the basement (7 floors away) to collect your item.

    So paid for item and off to the basement we trot. Queue for 10 mins and only to be told:
    “Oh thats out of stock sir”
    “But I have one reserved”. Much scurrying later,
    “We do have one reserved for a Mr White”
    “Yes thats me”
    “Yea but No but…. but your receipt does not have the reseavation No on it”
    “That’s not my problem, can I have my unit that I have paid for (stuffing receipt up their nose) and that is reserved in my name, please”
    “Yea but No but…..the reservation Number is not on your reciept”. At this point I ask for supervision and a much full and frank debate is had interspersed by up and downing to the department. In the end I realise my simple request to give them money in exchange for goods is not going to work.

    “So I’ll take a refund then” says I in a depressed tone, mortified that my latest gadget has been lost. “You have to do that at in the department that you purchased it from”. It’s strange but I’m sure as he said this he moved 2 or 3 metres back from the counter.

    Two more ups and downs and I did actually get the goods.

    It was at this point my gorgeous lady partner seeing I was now happy with said latest gadget under arm, let fly and told the customer services supervisor what she thought of the alleged service. Ask you sister about Julie K. When JK lets go you stand back and watch, it’s normally far more entertaining than a Christmas Dinner at the Queen Vic with Elton John and Lily Allen as guests.

    He Ho Keep on blogging 🙂

  • mike Davidson

    Hi Anna May,
    My wife is a John Lewis groupie so I’m writing this with my laptop in a cupboard under the stairs. Did you by any chance retain the broken radio? I just lurv collecting broken thing and the back of my garage has a penchant for irreparable goods so if you did manage to salvage the radio it can have a warm and sympathetic home as it descends into that awful eternity where FM and AM don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that aerial!(sorry) love your site. XX Mike D