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Another Moan About Being A Consumer In Spain...

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 21st Jan 2011

Following on from my problems in attempting to spend some of my hard earned cash a couple of months ago (click to read "Everything but the bathroom sink"), my well-intentioned attempts to single-handedly rescue the ailing Spanish economy have failed yet again.

Either that or the news that Spanish economy has gone pear shaped still hasn't reached the businesses in my Village just yet.

I had been putting off a few jobs that have been needed to be done for a while: My Car needed 4 new tyres (4x4 Vehicle, so not cheap), a service, the A/C repairing and a nasty dent knocking out. I also needed some Fireproof glass fitting to the door of my wood burning stove, and I needed to buy 2 Wood-effect aluminium glazed doors for my outside bathroom and casita. Nothing for for the President of the Local Chamber of Commerce to get overly exited about, but it's all business, and I decided to place it locally wherever possible.

ES_Sale 300x250

So I decided to incorporate my shopping trip with the school run one morning last week, and had brushed up on my best castilian vocab in preparation (although I don't know why I bother - oddly I seem to be understood perfectly whenever I am spending money - just not at all other times). I loaded my broken Stove door into the car along with my daughter and set off into Town with a warm glow inside knowing that I could potentially be placing a small amount of much needed business with the local economy. I like to think of myself as being similar to Richard Branson, but on a slightly smaller scale.

My first stop was the ATM outside my local bank. Things didn't bode well when it was completely out of cash.

After dropping my daughter off at school my next port of call was the Carpenteria to get a price for the 2 doors. As luck would have it the showroom had a model in display that exactly matched what I wanted, so my attempts at speaking Castilian at an advanced and technical level were spared, I just needed to leave the dimensions of the 2 doors and my phone number. The boss, I was assured, would call me back later in the day with a final price. Job done!

Next, was my stop at the Cristeleria. The sign on the door boasting 'Open Mon-Fri 9am - 2pm' was either broken or lying, I'm not sure which. Decided to go to the 'Taller' instead with the car and call back here later.

The Garage, or 'Taller', is basically a compound at the edge of the village that is securely gated. So securely, infact that nobody can get in. Neither is there a bell on the gate or an intercom. Or a telephone number for would-be clients to call and beg for access. Music is played so deafeningly loud that anybody screaming for attention goes unheard.

((If I hear this guy in the bar moaning that business is slow anytime in the near future, I swear I will not be held responsible for my actions.)

So I called it day for the time being; 1 out of 3 wasn't bad by Spanish standards.

At 1pm I was due to collect my daughter from school so decided to try my luck once again with the 2 businesses that I was unsuccessful with earlier. I first stopped outside the Cristeleria. Sign said open, Lock on the door said not. Old man sat in the street said that they were 'out on a job'. I am amazed that they got any business. Once again, no telephone number advertised anywhere. It must just be pot luck if they are in the shop or 'out on a job' !

Drove around the corner to the Taller. Decided to park across their gates whilst I waited for my daughter to come out of school. At least that way if and when anyone came out they could not miss me. I was in luck - the guy came out eventually and took down all of my details, asking me to call back the next day to collect the quote he would prepare. Ok, fair enough.

Following morning: No phone call as yet from the Carpenteria, door to showroom open at Cristelaria but nobody seemed to be around, called in to the garage as requested but quote still not prepared - asked me to call back later.

Lunchtime: Still no phone call from Carpenteria - called into showroom to chase up quote but closed. No telephone number listed in shop window so I could call them. Door locked at Cristeleria (although, sign still said 'Open'), Quote obtained for the Car 'with the exception of the tyres', which I would need to call back for, yet again.

Anyway, I'm not going to bore you with the details, suffice to say that in the end I managed to get the quote for my car - in full - and eventually managed to get my stove door repaired - although at the cristeleria in the next town. The quote for the 2 doors never materialised, and likewise I placed the business out of town.

Being from a sales & customer service background in the UK it pains me to have to chase people up and beg them to allow me to spend my money with them. Businesses are lucky to get just one chance at a bite of the cherry in this day and age and personally, I prefer to give my business to somebody who is eager and grateful to have it. I'm happy to support local business, but they have to offer me a service in return.

Comment on this Blog

Tell me about it ! Why should spending your money be such a difficult thing to do in Spain ?
Gilbert - Sat, 23rd Mar 2013
At the risk of sounding illiterate or a bitch in heat, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep! Yep.
Mo - Mon, 19th Dec 2011
How frustrating! Good customer service is rare in Spain, unfortunately.
Mick Costa Blanca - Mon, 19th Dec 2011
Tell me about it !
Gus.lopez - Sun, 23rd Jan 2011

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