Today isn’t your day – and tomorrow doesn’t look good either

This week I endured my worst ever experience of customer service. It was so bad I have to wonder whether it’s a real shop or an interactive training facility where businesses can send staff to learn how NOT to treat customers. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity and the last thing these guys deserve is good publicity so I won’t name the place: let’s call it Fawlty Mobiles.

My husband took my water-damaged Samsung into the recently opened mobile repair shop in Urmston on Tuesday to see if it could be fixed. He was told they could repair it with a new screen and camera. The ‘phone dude said it would be ready by Wednesday or Thursday of the same week and that he would ring us as soon as it was ready. This made us very happy: a speedy repair which, at £95, would be cheaper than buying a new ‘phone.

So … we’d heard nothing by Friday. My husband called in at lunchtime. Come back at four o’clock, they said. It wasn’t that convenient but back we trailed at 4.15pm. The ‘phone dude (let’s call him Shoulder Shrug) was outside, smoking a fag. He took a drag, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Another ten minutes – we’re just running the final tests.” No apology for the inconvenience.

We didn’t really want to wait (partly because Shoulder Shrug hadn’t thus far proved a good judge of time) so Shoulder Shrug offered to drop it off at our house when it was finished. “I’ll ring you,” he said. There was something just a little bit shifty in his body language that made me think Shoulder Shrug was lying – there’d be no ‘phone call and no delivery. For the first time since Tuesday I started to think I might not be getting my ‘phone fixed at all. Sometimes you have to just allow people to string you along – it’s awkward to look a stranger in the eye and accuse him of lying. So, out of politeness, we nodded and smiled and went home to wait for a call that never came. We tried ringing but their phone line was unavailable.

On Saturday morning my husband went and fetched the phone – this time there was a different guy there – for reasons that will become obvious, we’ll call this one Angry ‘Phone Dude. There was no reason given for not calling us the night before (or in the morning). Never mind, we were just glad to get the phone back …

Here’s where I must leave it for now: this sorry story is a two-parter.  Before I go, here’s a little tip for you: if someone fixes phone, check it’s working before it leaves the shop.

TO BE CONTINUED …

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How to survive after a nuclear war in Urmston

Photo

Homewares on Flixton Road, Urmston

If ever you survive a nuclear explosion in the environs of Urmston, when finally you stumble from your bunker, screwing your eyes up against the weak rays of a dying and forgotten sun, I do recommend you make your way calmly to Homewares on Church Road, taking care to avoid scattered debris en route.

The shop is known locally by various names (e.g. Bill’s) and in fairness, this is not just a homewares shop: you could also call it an ironmonger’s, a hardware store or a tool shop.  Whatever you ask for, they have it in that shop.  Nails, screws and thingummybobs?  Yep, they have have it.  Candles, barbecues or golf balls?  No problem.  Cat food, bedding plants or scary-looking tools?  Homewares has it all and it’s all cheaper than you think it will be.

I suspect they have done something fancy with the space-time continuum in their back room because although the shop doesn’t look very big from outside they seem to have EVERYTHING you can’t find elsewhere.

Read a review of Homewares.

Homewares’ owners are looking to retire and are planning to sell the shop; hopefully someone just as helpful will take over and carry on offering thingummybobs, doodas and utilitarian handy stuff for many years to come.

Shrove Tuesday in Urmston

Shrove Tuesday is coming up on March 4th.  Pancakes are feel-good food; an easily concocted sliver of lovely, sugary stodge that come with the added bonus of being flippable.  We may not rival New Orleans’ Mardi Gras but here in Urmston we don’t do too badly on everyone’s favourite Tuesday.

Gloucester Road boasts its very own Pancake Corner, where you can gorge yourself on at least twenty different fillings.  Mama Maria’s on Flixton Road are offering free pancakes (with a main course) but if you feel like trying something a wee bit different visit Lily’s at Eden for a taste of these delightfully special cakes from Sugar Bun Sisters.

Pancake-Cupcakes: chocolate with Nutella and a Vanilla with lemon - on sale in Lily's at Eden.

Pancake-Cupcakes: chocolate with Nutella and a Vanilla with lemon – on sale in Lily’s at Eden.

These lavishly iced cupcakes are topped with the cutest mini pancakes. Choose (Choose? How is this possible?) between chocolate with Nutella or vanilla with lemon.

Other Urmston independents serving freshly flipped pancakes on the day include Darby’s on Flixton Road.

If you run an independent cafe in Urmston and you’d like to be included in this post, please get in touch.  I try to include as many Urmston indpendents and any that are left out are not deliberately excluded.  This website is for all independent Urmston businesses and is completely free.

Urmston Comedy Club

Laugh at Urmston Comedy Club.

Laugh at Urmston Comedy Club.

UPDATE (26th February): The unfortunate news has reached us that the Urmston Comedy Club is no more and that tomorrow night’s gig is CANCELLED.

The Urmston Comedy Club is back at the Grill at 27, with a fabulous line-up this coming Thursday (27th February).  Headlining is the “flamboyant and fabulous” Jonathan Mayor.  Urmston Comedy Club says:

“As a headline act, Jonathan sets the stage alight with his razor sharp audience banter and stunning charisma. But don’t be fooled by the glitter and glamour, underneath lies an intelligent line of socio-political humour, from a unique and fascinating perspective.  He will reduce any audience to hysterics.”

Opening the show is the “fantastically funny” Hayley Ellis, and the evening is MC’d by the “wonderful” Jay Hampson.

The Grill at 27 is offering pre-show discounts for food if you mention the Comedy Club when you book your table.
There is a warning that there may be some strong language and that acts may be subject to change.
The evening costs £7.00 plus a 70p booking charge when you book online.

Craft and Vintage at Urmston Market – What to Expect

Urmston Market’s Craft and Vintage event this Saturday (22nd February) promises dozens of stalls brim full  of fresh, home made food, handmade crafts and unique vintage pieces, as well as all the regular, useful stalls.  Here is a rundown of some of the stalls taking part in the event.

Photo courtesy of Buckley and Blythe.

Photo courtesy of Buckley and Blythe.

Buckley and Blythe – Embroidery hoop wall art using a mix of vintage and modern fabrics, hand and machine embroidery, vintage buttons and lace.

Barnes' fruit stall has been on Urmston Market for three generations.

Barnes’ fruit stall has been on Urmston Market for three generations.

Barnes’ fruit and vegetables – the Barnes family have been selling fresh fruit and vegetables on Urmston Market for three generations.

Photo courtesy of Moorish Baking.

Photo courtesy of Moorish Baking.

Mooreish Baking – delicious cupcakes, brownies and other baked goods.

Do Well Picture Framing has been on Urmston Market for six years.

Do Well Picture Framing has been on Urmston Market for six years.

Do Well Picture Framing – expert framing, keenly priced.

Image courtesy of Pat & Peg.

Image courtesy of Pat & Peg.

Image courtesy of Pat & Peg.

Image courtesy of Pat & Peg.

Pat and Peg – Handmade bags and jewellery from British designers.

Photo courtesy of Mrs M Vintage.

Photo courtesy of Mrs M Vintage.

Mrs M Vintage – eclectic vintage discoveries – satellite stall from Mrs M’s shop on Flixton Road.

Photo courtesy of Sweetie Trees by Carol.

Photo courtesy of Sweetie Trees by Carol.

Sweetie Trees by Carol – sweetie trees, bagged sweets and pick ‘n’ mix.

Photo courtesy of No Retro.

Photo courtesy of No Retro.

No retro – Super quality, new & unique designer clothing at second hand prices.

Budget Baby Boutique – pre-loved  baby clothing in pristine condition.

Photo courtesy of Molly's Tree House Dolls.

Photo courtesy of Molly’s Tree House Dolls.

Molly’s Tree House Dolls – Hand made with love, Waldorf style dolls, each individually crafted with 100% natural fabrics, stuffed with Yorkshire wool and a sprinkling of magic.

May the force be with Steve's DVDs (and more) on Urmston Market.

May the force be with Steve’s DVDs (and more) on Urmston Market.

Steve’s DVDs – The force is strong with Steve’s (mostly sci-fi) DVDs and board games.

There are plans to make the Vintage and Craft Market a monthly event, so please do visit and support it.  Urmston Market runs every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.  Stalls cost just £12 per day –  get in touch with them to book.

Follow Urmston Market on Facebook

Follow Urmston Market on Twitter

Calling for an independent retail revolution #indieretail by @AnnectoUK

This optimistic post explains how independent retailers will always have an advantage over the big guys.

Independent Retail

January has brought some bad news for the big boys of the retail world… Retail giants including Tesco, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer reported a fall in sales over the crucial Christmas trading period – news that should encourage independent small businesses across the UK to up the ante and focus harder on how they can win over the consumer.

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Darby’s Coffee & Arts Lounge – a new café on Flixton Road

Opening today: a new coffee bar and arts lounge in Urmston

Darby's Coffee & Arts Lounge is open at 60 Flixton Road, Urmston.

Darby’s Coffee & Arts Lounge is open at 60 Flixton Road, Urmston.  Photo courtesy of Darby’s.

Darby’s Coffee & Arts Lounge is a new coffee shop at 60 Flixton Road,Urmston – on the site of the original Lily’s café.  The newly bedecked and prettified lounge is open from today (Monday) and, Urmston Independents predicts, will quickly become a favourite spot for sophisticated Urmstonites, art-loving families and common or garden coffee-heads.

Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge promises something a little bit different.  An upstairs seating gallery will be the main display area for a range of crafts, artwork, photography and music demos from local, independent artists.   All this lovely artisanship will be available to buy direct from Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge.

Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge is now taking bookings for its Valentines Day afternoon tea event (taking place at tea time this coming Friday) and from Monday 17th they will be running an official ‘opening week’ with freebies and special offers.  UPDATE: Darby’s official ‘opening week’ has been postponed, but the cafe is up and running and open for business (February 17th).

As well as Illy coffee, panini, homemade soup and all the lunch and breakfast items you would expect, Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge will offer school run lunch boxes for children.  Particularly harassed parents might occasionally go to Darby’s Coffee & Arts Lounge for breakfast before school and pick up lunch there as well.  Sounds like a good plan to this occasionally lazy mother!

To book a Valentine’s afternoon tea or to find out more about displaying your art/ crafts/ music, you can get in touch with Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge via Twitter, Facebook or by calling 0161 748 2323.  Independent Urmston businesses need your support: make a point of calling in to Darby’s Coffee & Arts Lounge.  Small business success keeps more money in the local economy and a diverse range of independent businesses is known to put a bit of oomph in local house prices.