I’ll be honest, I dread this time of year. Before you go all Bah, Humbug on me I don’t mean Christmas – I enjoy the week off, the Christmas dinner, presents, twinkly lights etc – I mean the two weeks before it.
The number one topic of conversation amongst my trade customers at the moment is the phrase we all hear “but I’ve got to have it before Christmas, I have people coming round, IT’S IMPORTANT.” You’ve just told them that it’s not physically possible to produce the glass tabletop, the bespoke timber windows, the wardrobe for their spare room, the new dining suite in the four days left before closing for the festivities. You’ve just ruined their lives.
Or so you’d believe from the wailing and gnashing of teeth some of us get. Each and every one believes they’re the only customer you have, that they’re more important. “Look, you say it takes five working days to get it from the supplier”, they reply “can’t you, have a word with someone?” You want to lean in and whisper, “who, Santa?” But you can’t, you just say sorry, it’s just not possible. And they slink away to ask someone else.
And for some reason everyone decides they need this stuff a week before Christmas, when they get the lightbulb over the head, as they start planning where to put Auntie Marge when she stays. Instead of a steady flow of orders we all get hit with a deluge, some we can meet, some we can’t.
Our trade customers are split between builders and furniture makers and it’s the latter who have to contend with their own trade customers who have promised their own customers that they could get it for Christmas, they’ve said yes to the “can’t you have a word with someone?” And not wanting to let anyone down we all end up trying to get it done if we can.
So my pre-Christmas message is this, if you’re buying something that might have to be specially made either order it earlier, like you would with the Turkey, or just put it off till next year. Sometime around August will be fine and don’t worry about remembering, the supermarkets will remind you that Christmas is coming.