Friday, 28 September 2012

A Good Old Moan

When I started this blog, I promised myself I would use it as on outlet to be positive, sharing things I love, rather than being overly negative about things that don't work for me. I try to be fair and honest in everything I write. However, over the last few months I have been dithering about posting about something which really upset me. A huge purchase that I bitterly regret. And after much thought, I have decided to write about it.

Letters and emails of complaint seem to be doing the rounds at the moment (my current favourite is Shicklegate), andI wanted to share the one and only complaint letter than I have ever written with you. It was to a kitchen company, who designed and fitted our kitchen. To be fair, it was dealt with promptly and with lots of apologies and flowers, but I still feel pretty aggrieved (if you had to stare at a wonky cupboard door every time you sat down to a meal, you too might feel a little peeved). 

Dear Craig,

I love British brands. I especially love British manufacturing. I wear my Kinky Knickers with pride and love nothing more than a crisp glass of Chapel Down wine. Even when things go wrong (snapped knicker elastic, a bit of cork in my glass), I forgive, I forget and I continue to buy British. But my latest experience with Roundhouse Design, really took the biscuit. And to be honest, after the week of hell I was subjected to, a Rich Tea would have been gladly received as a token of goodwill.

I can only imagine you are asking yourself what could have happened to get me into such a state. I take it you are an intelligent and rational chap, and take pride in your top-notch kitchen design company. Well, for my first point I would ask you to read this, Craig.


What does that say I hear you ask? Indeed, my thoughts were along the same lines; what does it mean? Because this is what the Roundhouse kitchen fitter shouted at me, after being terribly rude to my builders, and regrettably my mother. Well Craig, it means ‘shut up’ in Lithuanian, shouted in response to me asking if there was anything I could do to help the angry gentleman in question. And ordinarily, I’m sure he would have said this to the English woman and got away with it, said English lady assuming he was saying ‘why, thank you for offering to help, would you like a Rich Tea?’ However, what hadn’t been anticipated by said gentleman, Craig was the presence of my Lithuanian cleaning lady, in the room at the time. So Craig, I guess you can take it that I wasn’t very happy, and still am not.

Now Craig, I know you don’t get to a position like yours without some astuteness. And I know you will have used that astuteness to notice the fateful words in the last paragraph, namely the mention of my mother. I should also add to the mix, that my one year old daughter was also present. Oh, and did I forget to say I am six months pregnant. 

Now, surely no sane person would insult a client in front of such an audience. Sadly, the aforementioned gentleman felt he could, and so he did. I’m sure you love your mother Craig; who doesn’t love their mother? Mine is a particular example of a kind, generous lady who would kill anyone who hurt her children, as would I. Luckily for you Craig, the kitchen fitter was not a horrible ex-boyfriend, as that could have ended badly, but he did shout at me in front of her. And now she is cross, oh so cross. And let me tell you Craig, when my mother gets cross it is pretty scary. You should be shaking in your boots around about now.

My next point Craig was the said gentleman’s response to me as I was shedding a tear or two. I accept that this may not have been the best way to ask the said gentleman to leave my house if he was going to speak to me in that manner, let alone my lovely builder and electrician (to whom he was rather rude). However, as I told you, I am pregnant, and that makes me a bit emotional. It is rather good fortune that I cried rather than went crazy, well, good fortune for the said gentleman. But what was less fortunate was that he found it within himself to laugh at me and roll his eyes, rather than apologise.

Once again Craig, I am left wondering, why would a grown man laugh at a woman that he made cry? Now, I grew up with an older brother Craig. I know that boys can be mean, and sometimes pull girls hair. My brother once even threw my Barbie over a balcony at a hotel. Sadly we were on the 10th floor, the Barbie never really recovered (and let me tell you Craig, my mother really gave him what for, he couldn’t look a plastic doll in the eye for a very long time). But, the gentleman in question wasn’t my naughty older brother, but a Roundhouse employee that I was paying tens of thousands of pounds to do a job. Why would he laugh Craig, why? Explain that to me and I’ll be able to sleep better, safe in the knowledge that no one from such a great company would treat a pregnant client in quite such a manner.

Then there is the little issue of why your highly trained kitchen fitter was quite so reluctant to assist my electrician to find a cable that had mysteriously been hidden behind a cupboard. A cable that I had paid rather a lot of money to have put under my floor, on your advice. And yes, that had involved ripping up my newly tiled floor and retiling it (which, with a toddler was a bundle of fun, let me tell you Craig). It was my cable Craig, mine, not the kitchen fitters, and I’m not sure why he wasn’t prepared to share it with anyone. When the lovely Damien from your Fulham office came to evict the kitchen fitters (such a shame it came to that), he quickly pulled out a drawer and showed the electrician where the elusive cable was hiding. Clearly a task too difficult and onerous for the gentleman who fitted the cupboard. Now Craig, I understand that fitting a kitchen is an art, especially when it’s a Roundhouse kitchen, and must take years to qualify for such a role. However, playing hide and seek with live cables, and being rather obstructive, is something of a dangerous game to play, especially in front of the client (and her wonderful mother). I would tell you know painful electric shocks are Craig, in case you are not familiar with the hot fizzing sensation associated with electricity coursing through your veins (I sadly am, a badly wired fridge left me with some rather frizzy hair once upon a time), but I feel that given the kitchen fitters wonderful ability to hide things, we probably weren’t at risk. But neither were my electricity hungry appliances, which I was rather keen to see work.

Finally Craig, I am curious. When you fitted Dave and Sam’s kitchen in Downing Street, did your fitters shout at her in a foreign language, assuming she was too dopey to understand? Did they laugh at her, while she was pregnant with the delightful Florence, and force her husband to leave a PM questions to tell the project manager to get the fitters out of the house? Did Dave have to ring around three people before he found someone to answer his call? And did Sam and Dave have to wait weeks longer than anticipated for their kitchen to be fitted because your fitter was so rude to them. Well, I think we can assume that if this had happened, Dave would have taken drastic measures. You know he has the Secret Service on speed dial.

So Craig, I know that your company prides itself on quality, service and being British. Based on my experience, I don’t know how you can live with yourself Craig. I just don’t think the service is up to scratch. Oh dear, best not get started on scratches. At last count, there were four good scratches on my new cupboard doors. But perhaps that is for a different letter. I once had a friend who had a new kitchen installed, and when the fitters left, a whole wall of units fell off the wall, bringing most of the wall with them (don’t panic Craig, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Roundhouse). I should count myself lucky this hasn’t happened to my kitchen, but actually, I’d be quite happy if it did. Because then I’d have some insurance money to rip out the half finished kitchen and replace it with a Bulthaup that would be fitted by friendly types (I also speak better German than Lithuanian). Wishful thinking I guess.

So while I sit here, surrounded by an unfinished kitchen, piles of dust, and rather a lot of unhappy builders, I’ll think of you, in your lovely showroom, and wonder what verbal abuse your fitters subjected you to while they were installing it. And I just hope your mother wasn’t present.

I look forward to your enthusiastic and prompt response.

Kind Regards


  1. Hear, hear lady! Let me buy you a pint one day, please :))) What a fabulously toned middle finger to the tossers at Roundhouse. Loved reading it and smiled the entire way through. Whilst feeling very angry for you and making a mental note to not give them a call when I want my new kitchen fitted! Great post xxx

    1. Thanks! To be fair to them, they did try and make amends, but sometimes the damage is done....Glad it made you smile! x

  2. Hello! I'm a new reader and fan of your lovely blog : )

    I'm really glad you posted this as I had a very similar issue a few years ago on our home in Barnes, it was truly horrendous and a very costly mistake (financially and emotionally). I'm an interior designer and have dealt with many, many kitchen dealers and never encountered such negligence, lack of professionalism and outright rudeness, it was appalling. I also didn't ever receive any flowers/apologies, they really didn't seem to care less.

    I would never recommend Roundhouse to any of my clients or friends or family. We sold the house and I have to say I was glad I left behind the daily reminder of that kitchen, £40,000 for a lot of abuse and a poor quality kitchen at the end of it is not something anyone would want to be reminded of...


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