In days not long past you could go into a shop and purchase the very thing you were after off the shelf.
The Internet and On-Line shopping has killed the need for stock to be held in the hope that a member of Joe Public might actually want one.
Flashing back to one of my earliest posts , this gave the perfect example of white goods being available for sale but only by order and delivery, thus attracting an extra charge.
In recent months, both of us have noticed how little stock is actually being held in depots and stores, from smaller nuts and bolts to a sports bra in a specific style in a larger size.
The excuse is always that it is available ‘on line’, but with people like me, I do not want the hassle of ordering something which on arrival either doesn’t fit or isn’t suitable for the job.
From a practical point of view and remembering when Hubby had a stab at being self-employed, holding large amounts of stock was ‘dead money’, especially as it was a lot of ‘just in case’ bits and pieces that may be but more often were not, required.
For the ‘Little Guy’ or ‘One Man Band’ Mr Fix-It, I can well appreciate why some things have to be ordered before work can commence.
But the Big Boys? Nah, they have the money power and clout to hold small amounts of stock which can easily be replaced when they are down to their last one. After all, computers are responsible for stock control, and what’s to stop a little flash message coming up to say ‘stock low’ or even ‘Out of Stock’.
In my working life I did stock takes, manually!, and we always held a minimum.
Just over a month ago, Hubby saw the exact gas isolator switch for inside the boat that would be required for our BSC when it comes up for renewal.
Hopefully our cooker will be having a change of residence after tomorrow, so in readiness we went shopping for said isolator.
Sure, we can get one with 10mm each side. Yes, there is one available with 8mm each side, but the one we want is 10mm one side and 8mm the other as the pipework on the double burner unit is smaller than that from the bottle.
For safety’s sake, he already has the necessary stop ends to cap off the pipe, and a gas leak detector as well as the carbon monoxide alarm we installed on day two of boat ownership.
We also have someone lined up to do the necessary gas connections for us when we are ready .
‘They’re relatively new aren’t they,’ the young ‘helpful’ assistant said.
‘I suppose so,’ said Hubby, adding with a straight face, ‘Been around for about ten years.’
‘Oh. Well, we don’t have them in stock, but you can order them on-line.’
(That little phrase is going to get someone’s lights punched out before long)
We only want one, at a cost of about three pounds, but by the time you add post and packing (plus the dreaded VAT), you’re up to almost a tenner, not to mention a wait of however many days it’s likely to take for the mail to deliver the package, if they don’t lose it in the process.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and kicking himself quite firmly in the butt, Hubby came back to the car empty handed. Three other DIY stores had the same story, so we came home and he resorted to plan B.
Not exactly On-Line ordering, but he made a phone call to a supplier he uses which kindly gave him a discount card as he sometimes does little jobs for some pensioners.
The isolator switch is being delivered to them, together with some extra ‘olives’ and he can pick them up tomorrow after midday, even if it is a Sunday.
Now that’s the kind of alternative shopping I can handle!