In my life, I have not once shouted at a complete stranger in public.
If someone was shouting in a shop or restaurant I would usually judge them as generally being an arse.
Yet last week I shouted at a shop assistant.
The build up to this lasted three weeks. Let me explain...
We are decorating at the moment.
My weekends for the last month have all involved a trip to B&Q.
The first of a series of incidents occurred when they didn't have enough staff on the tills. This isn't that unusual there.
Nothing sends a chill down my spine like the self-checkout tills - you know it isn't going to work.
Sure enough, as my card was processed and accepted an error message appeared. My receipt was jammed. Not needing a receipt for screws, compost and a toilet seat we went to leave, my husband Sam taking the trolley to order an Uber. The lady at the counter stopped me.
She wasn't sure the transaction had gone through.
She needed to check by making sure the receipt printed.
After failed attempts at trying to get her colleagues to assist she decided to fix the situation herself, so we went to the other side of the store to check my receipt.
She insisted that she couldn't find it and I had to bring the items back in to the store to be re-scanned.
Sam was calling to tell me the Uber had arrived.
She could sense my eye twitching...
Thankfully she miraculously found the receipt and we we're on our way home.
The second incident took place approximately four minutes after we got there. The new toilet seat we had purchased was in fact broken. Caput. Nixed. Rubbish.
At the returns desk the following weekend I met two people.
Lets call them Kevin and Perry.
I calmly explained the situation with the toilet seat, that it was broken and that all I'd like to do was replace the seat with a non-broken toilet seat.
Kevin looked glumly at the packaging.
He said: "it's ripped, I can't take it back now."
I explained again politely, that it was broken and that it would have been impossible to know that unless you opened the packaging.
Kevin looked unsure. His next line let me know that this wasn't going to go down how I wanted.
"Have you got your receipt?"
I explained about the week before and 'receipt-gate' as it has been henceforth known in my household.
Kevin consulted with Perry who also looked dubious.
Perry suggested I needed to call customer services, who informed me that they could see the transaction from my card but they need to print this out and send it to my home before I could then return again to the store.
At this point my mind went into some sort of spasm.
I returned to Kevin and Perry who looked on unsympathetically.
Words like 'inept' and 'cretinous' left my mouth at a thunderous volume.
I demanded to see the manager.
Omar appeared, and as I recounted the whole sorry affair including 'receipt-gate' from the previous week and now the whole charade of having to return next weekend again, he calmly looked at me and said:
"I can sort this out."
Within 30 seconds he had found my receipt, found someone to get me another toilet seat and resolved everything.
At this point I turned to Kevin and Perry and asked them why they had sent me on a wild goose chase.
Perry shrugged and said "we don't know about some of the returns systems."
Perry, you work on the returns desk - you have one job, knowing the returns system.
As I went to leave the security guard asked to see my receipt.
"I hate this store!!" I yelled and left.
I won't spend one single of my British pounds ever again in B&Q.
In the future I will order everything online, have it delivered to my house and avoid 'receipt-gate' and now 'returns-gate' forever more.
Sometimes people lament the internet for ruining it for the real life stores, but as I climbed into my Uber that day one thing occurred to me.
Internet brands haven't ruined it for the high street, the high street has ruined it for the high street by being generally a crap experience.
Tech firms might be talked about in terms of the merits of their technologies or the whiziness of their operations but despite their techniness these online brands could not be behaving in a more conventional way if they tried.
They are making products that work.
That make life easier.
That are straightforward.
That require few choices.
That solve not just any problem but your problem.
Like a broken toilet seat and a checkout that you can get through whilst you are making a cup of tea.
Is that too much to ask?