So what's this all about?
It all started when my friend H had a baby. I wanted to do something nice for them, and thought it would be great to hand on the cot that my kids used a couple of years ago. It was a really nice bit of kit - a Murano cot bed from Mamas & Papas, bought in that flurry of enthusiasm you get for baby gadgets when you're about to become a parent for the first time. We thought the cot bed would make sense as we would get to use it for an extended period of time as our baby got a bit older. We didn't expect that we would be using it for a second addition to the family shortly after, but once our two had grown out of the cot they preferred to sleep in a big bed so the cot became a bed for an ensemble of stuffed toys.
And that way it remained for a couple of years until H had her baby and we agreed to hand it on. So a couple of weekends ago I thought I'd better check we still had all the bits to turn it back into a cot and that everything was in good order.
"thank you for your post, we very much appreciate all feedback as it allows us to continually improve our products and services. We have passed your comments onto the relevant department who are looking into this and working on improving our spares service. We're really sorry that you have had a less than satisfactory experience, and we hope that this won't put you off shopping with us in the future. Thank you."
I then asked how long that would take and whether they would be updating my thread when they had resolved it. This was their reply.
"improvements to our products and services is continuous, there is no timescale. Unfortunately we will not be able to update your thread on any future improvements to the spares service. Thank you"
Unhappy with this response and lack of commitment I posted the following:
"OK, I like to think I'm a patient man. I can make the same enquiry of your contact centre on a monthly basis and post the results here if that helps. Hell, my phone contract is all inclusive so I could do it every evening and weekend. I can probably share the results on Twitter too if you like. In fact, maybe I'll set up a website and a blog and document it. That'll be good, eh? I'll also buy a bottle of champagne ready for the day that you can sell me four screws at a reasonable price instead of a full pack of stuff I don't need. Hopefully we can get there before my daughter turns 21 (she's 5 now). While I'm here I might as well ask who is in charge of spares policy at M&Ps so I can write to them too."
Hence the blog. And the website.
I'm now in the process of trying to persuade Mamas & Papas to change their spare parts policy as follows
1. I would like M&Ps to reconsider their position with respect to the timescale for which spare parts are held to one that is more reasonable and in keeping with the lifespan of your products, even if they are discontinued.
2. To reconsider their position with respect to selling individual spares as opposed to over-priced packs.
3. To ensure that standard components are built into the design so that if needs be customers can pick up what they need from a decent hardware store.
Don't think that's too much to expect.