Sunday, November 23, 2008

Buying locally

As far as we can, Pam and I try to buy things locally. Apart from the savings in delivery costs, we are helping to support the local economy which I'm sure you will agree is a good thing.

However, some things are difficult to find and in the odd cases it can prove cheaper to buy from England; even if you have to pay the delivery charges.

A case in point was my new DSLR camera. It was cheaper in the UK and came with a £50 cashback offer from certain British retailers. We had friends coming over who could deliver it for me so I avoided paying shipping costs. I saved close to £100 on that purchase.

When we came to Spain, we brought a battery operated carpet sweeper with us which has lasted 4 years. Pam only used it on the rugs so it didn't get hammered. However, the battery now refuses to charge up so the sweeper is effectively kaput. I suppose we could have tried to source a replacement battery but it seemed more sensible to replace the whole sweeper.

We've looked in all the local shops, even tried El Corte inglés. Although we've found plenty of portable vacuums cleaners, we only found one battery operated sweeper which was very expensive. In a country where most houses have tiled floors, I don't suppose there is a lot of demand for carpet sweepers of any sort let alone battery operated ones.

We finally resorted to ordering one from Lakeland Plastics in the UK. Lakeland will deliver to Europe so that was no problem. We ordered the sweeper online and waited for it to arrive.

After a month of waiting I contacted Lakeland who agreed that the delivery must have gone missing and so they agreed to send a second sweeper.

Nearly three weeks later and still no sweeper; I contacted them again. This time they phoned me to say that the two sweepers had been returned to them- the courier in Spain apparently could not find our address.

Undeterred, Lakeland sent a third sweeper which this time did arrive. So after over two months of waiting, we finally got our sweeper.

Yesterday, Mel, whose wife Lillian runs a Betterware concession on our estate, brought their latest catalogue around. Inside the booklet, on page 52, was a battery operated sweeper which we could have bought for less money and with a lot less aggravation. To add to which, Lillian, one of the nicest people we have met here, would have got a little bit of commission.

This is not the first time we've been caught out in this way. A while back we bought luggage scales - this time from a company based in Alicante so there was no problem with delivery. However, after we'd ordered them Mel told me that Betterware sell a similar product (you'll find them on page 95 of the current catalogue).

I'm sure there is a lesson here for us: check with Mel first before buying anything like this!

For those of you who don't want to repeat our long running saga with the carpet sweeper, you can find Mel and Lillian on Calle Inglaterra (or is it Calle Escocia !). You could save yourselves a lot of hassle and might also save a few euros as well.

PS Mel, if you are reading this, Pam would like one of the replacement grill pans on page 31 (item 17669) at 17.49€. The one that came with our oven is too big and too difficult to clean. Again we've looked in all sorts of places for one - we should have come to you!

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