DCR is endebted to Mrs. W of Derby who stole this amazing rant from her husband’s laptop and sent it in the best part of a decade ago. Mr. W’s sharp pen was aimed at Focus Do It All, an inept DIY chain that has since passed into myth and legend. Enjoy! This is just brilliant:
Customer Relations Department
Focus (DIY) Ltd
Crewe Business Park
10th April 2009
Dear Zorro (the gay blade),
I have no other option but to seek your assistance to lead the peasant rebellion that I’m in the process of organising to bring down the evil conglomerate that is Focus (Do-it-all).1
I have tried and tried to be reasonable about the events leading up to this planned uprising but I am ashamed to say that enough is enough, my resolve has faded and it is now time for action. I only wanted a small piece of piping to replace a worn out section under my sink (hereinafter referred to as “the problem”). Is that too much to ask Zorro? A small piece of plastic pipe? You would think that would be an easy one wouldn’t you?
Oh well let me tell you Zorro, I would have been better off asking for a cure for the common cold or the keys to the Bank of England’s vault. Even Lord Lucan’s whereabouts would have been easier than asking for a small piece of plastic pipe.
So sit back Zorro, grab yourself a mojito and settle in as this will take some explaining…..
It was a nice day last Friday so I thought a nice spot of DIY was in order. I hadn’t planned to do this but I was shown the error of my ways by my dutiful and loving wife whom it has to be said is right in everything she says. (I had planned a day of arse scratching and nasal excavation but we don’t always get what we want do we…!!)
Not at sodding Focus (Do-it-all) we don’t Zorro, let me tell you.
I arrived at the Pandora’s Box of DIY produce situated in a crappy side turning near a carpet wholesaler somewhere in Derby2 at what transpired to be feeding time for the indigenous population, or in the middle of an impromptu remake of Dawn of the Dead. It was the only way to explain the complete void of cogent humanoid life. This place was empty Zorro, empty of those little apron wearing hobbits my six year old son delights in calling “Joey’s”.
“Yes son, this is what happens when you think being a van driver is only just attainable as a career aspiration…”
After locating the Plumbing section, (between the security alarms and the double glazed windows?) and gazing in wonderment at implements that would not look out of place in an abode of negotiable virtue, I thought I had struck lucky: There before me was a piece of pipe that looked vaguely similar to my needs.
I know what you are thinking Zorro, “what’s zee beef here amigo…..?”
Well Zorro, allow me to retort.
While looking fairly similar to the piece I required it didn’t have the same girth as ‘the problem’. So like Bilbo sodding Baggins I set off on a quest to find a hobbit to seek guidance. Do you know what happened next Zorro ? Yes that’s right; it got a lot lot worse. Obviously all the hobbit’s were out on quests too because after eon’s of searching I finally came across a blighted ovum in a polo shirt. This aberration was my only hope and it is with no sense of irony that it met me with “allree-t chap, need help….?”
If anyone in the world needed help more than me then it was this poor soul. What makes someone eat their own dandruff Zorro? In public? Can you be that hungry? EVER ? Even if the alternative was a Little Chef breakfast?3 Anyway, I slowly and gently explained my situation to freak boy making sure to use very small words and do you know what I got as his opening gambit Zorro………?
“I’m cleaning the bogs4 now, then I’m on lunch. Can you wait ‘til after?”
Now let’s just get something straight here Zorro, I have often remarked how docile and understanding I can remain when dealing with eejit’s in this world. Some of the happiest wasted hours of my life have been at the mercy of Happy-to-Help badge wearers but this one, this one didn’t just take the biscuit Zorro, he ran off with the whole barrel.
… And the sponge fingers I was saving for Sunday.
I am ashamed to say I laughed in his face. Honestly and truthfully Zorro, I laughed in his acne strewn, pox riddled face. I told this walking amoeba through tears of pity that it was not to worry and I would seek assistance elsewhere. My quest continued with the faux replacement to ‘the problem’ clutched in my grasp like a cosh when I came upon Ken.
Now Ken is a name you can trust, Ken is the type of guy whom gives directions without telling your wife that she was right all along. Ken knows how to moor a boat without falling in. Mr Dependable. Mr Right. You know where you are with a Ken?
Not this one Zorro.
He was a twat.
Ken asked what I needed the replacement to ‘the problem’ for. I told him and he tutted. He TUTTED Zorro – through his wizened, piss-coloured moustache, he sodding tutted and came out with the epic…..
”Well, that’s your problem there sonny, you can’t do that as it just won’t work”.
I’m 6ft 2 and 38 years old.
Sonny I most definitely am not !
If I wanted condescension, I would have gone to see my mother in law, or my local MP, not stood in front of this failed geography teacher with halitosis so bad it could melt steel. ‘The problem’ felt more like a cosh in my hand than ever before but with my last ounce of resolve I refrained from beating this plum around the head and shoulders and instead, I asked why?
Now Zorro, please don’t shake your head in pity. I know it was a ridiculous thing to say but my defences were down, I was caught off guard. I wasn’t thinking clearly. It was a schoolboy error.
Ken then treated me to a good 10 minutes of why I mustn’t ever, under any circumstances, ever do you understand (!), connect a dish washer AND a washing machine to the same length of waste pipe.
How I didn’t grind his pencil neck up and down the nearest brick wall is still a mystery even now. I’m a grown up Zorro, I don’t use a hair dryer in the shower, I don’t put cats in microwaves. I don’t even put knives in toasters. I have a family too, and a driving licence.
I am quite sure that I can be trusted to operate a dish washer and a washing machine quite independently of each other.
But Ken wouldn’t buy it. Not for one second. He actually forbade me from purchasing a replacement to ‘the problem’ stating:
“I couldn’t live with me-self knowing that was under yer sink…”
Ken then departed whistling a jaunty sea shanty safe in the knowledge he had saved the world from another talentless DIY’er. I stood motionless for a few moments Zorro. What could I say? Ken was obviously right and the world must be saved from Muppets such as I.
It was at this point that sheer frustration got the better of me and without remorse I screeched at the top of my considerable baritone voice in my best Mr Humphries impression
Ken the twat stopped dead in his tracks and then slowly spun on his orthopaedic safety shoe to face me and while I wasn’t sprinting at him, I was certainly moving toward him at some pace. With utter bemusement he stood slack jawed at my breathless request to clear the shelves of these offending items so as to not let any other unsuspecting morons like myself deprive him of his nocturnal rest periods.
“If I take the shelves, you can take the store room and together Kenny, together we can save the world…!”
He didn’t take to kindly either to me grasping his liver-spotted claw of a hand and to be honest he nearly shat egg rolls when I began to skip through the store singing “we’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of pipes…..” still holding on to him.
Our arrival at the front of the store was greeted by the obligatory imitation security guard asking why I was skipping with a staff member. My response was muted but forthright Zorro, I had had enough.
Hysteria got the better of me and after venting my spleen at this bunch of cretins for a satisfyingly lengthy period, I departed the premises – albeit empty handed – laughing like a thoroughbred window licker. Even the conservatory sales person by the checkouts looked a little put out but to be fair, I shouldn’t have asked if she had seen a good length of pipe recently. In my defence, she looked a game gal. Roomy you might say.
My spouse was unimpressed with my empty handed return and didn’t buy for a moment the tale of Ken and his refusal to supply an idiot such as myself with a bit of plastic pipe. So now here it is Zorro, the situation I find myself in is not a good one.
I have an irate spouse who thinks I sloped off to the pub instead and then lied about it.
I have seen and conversed with a walking genetic accident who eats it’s own dandruff. For fun!
I have met and been shown the error of my ways by Ken the happy saviour of the universe.
I have freaked out and bamboozled an imitation security guard on minimum wage with nothing more than a skipping gait and a winning smile.
I fully expect a restraining order against conservatory sales personnel to arrive by the end of the week.
All this and still I have a drip under my sink that I don’t feel qualified to sort out any more.
I have tried to call the Manager of these toss pots but my repeated requests to speak to the “chief wanker” have all been met with the line going dead rather quickly.
All I wanted was a bit of plastic pipe Zorro. I’m just an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation and as Churchill once said, “Action this day…!” Too bloody true.
So, the next logical step is to therefore raise a peasant army and storm the Reichstag, or Focus (Do-it-all) as it is more commonly known round these parts.
This is where you come in Zorro. I need you. I know this is addressed to the customer relations department of Focus (Do-it-all) but I feel that someone somewhere there can contact you on my behalf.
I have included my contact details on the off chance that should you or God forbid, another colleague of the ‘chief wanker’ feel the need to write to me (and explain why these dullards are in active employment and why I can’t have a bit of plastic pipe for a start) rather than to come swinging in through my bedroom window in the dead of night wearing a mask and cape.
I only say this as I don’t want to disturb the A-Team who are currently assisting me with the Bulgarian wheelie bin cleaner who keeps spraying my parked car with rancid bin juice from next doors brown recycling bin every sodding week.
Mr R****** W****
You know me, I’m the one who called earlier on asking “Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”
For American readers: Focus (Do It All) or Focus DIY as it later became known, was a chain of DIY stores very similar to Home Depot in the USA, only crappier. It grew to have 256 storess across the UK at its peak. It was sold in 2007 for just £1. Fortunately, it went into administration (chapter 11 I think you call it) in 2011 with debts of £1billion. ↩
For American readers: Derby is a small city of 250,000 souls in the East Midlands of England. It was home to the first factory in the world (Lombe’s Mill) and so lays claim to the title of birthplace of the industrial revolution (though Manchester might have something to say about that). Nowadays, not a lot happens in Derby except for the manufacture of Rolls Royce aero engines. ↩
For American readers: Little Chef was a chain of roadside eateries loosely based on the concept of an American diner. The first one opened in 1958 and the chain grew to have 439 ‘restaurants’. There are now only 78. Little Chef’s speciality was the ‘Olympic Breakfast’ – a huge cooked English breakfast of questionable origin including two sausages which appeared and tasted as if they were made of recycled plastic. Most Little Chef sites have now been converted into McDonalds. Or roadside sex shops, which probably still sell the plastic sausages. ↩
For American readers: Bogs is UK schoolboy vernacular for restrooms ↩