Saturday, May 05, 2007

Tales from Orvis

[Blog road trip: back to Devon. Orvis is an olde worlde shop in Exeter that sells waders and stretch tweed shooting jackets and squeaky dog toys that look like mallards. You know, the basic essentials. The other Saturday night, Jenny wrote...]

So am at home today with a bad throat, the kind that feels like I’m trying to swallow razor blades. Watched Midsomer Murders this afternoon as my attempt at culture.

Unfortunately, my being ill meant that I was unable to help Andy out with the first Orvis Open Day of 2007. We were both a bit gutted; him because he’d been relying on me to meet and greet folk, and for my part, because I always find it such a lovely and relaxing place to work – the building is very old and the shop has a lovely feel to it, and also the customers are all so ‘kooky’! Usually these open days consist of cheese, wine and nibbles, but this one was whiskey tasting, so Andy brought home a full bottle of The Balvenie Doublewood, a life saver for me in my current weakened state…

But on to some classic tales about the kooky customers:

Lady walks into the shop and announces in an extremely loud voice “I bought a new skirt in here last week! I’ve spilt baked beans down it, and I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”

Lady customer asks to see the Orvis collection of walking boots. Andy explains that they don’t sell walking boots, and the conversation proceeds thus;
“We don’t sell walking boots madam.”
“Why not?”
“We sell clothing and accessories for fishing and hunting madam, we don’t sell walking boots”.
“You sell walking sticks don’t you, why don’t you sell walking boots?”
“If you require walking boots madam I would suggest you try Blacks, or Taunton Leisure.”
“Well you should sell walking boots!”
“Well I’m afraid we don’t madam.”
“Well why not?”
Needless to say, this continues in much the same vein until Andy loses patience and tells her to leave.

At the Orvis Celebration Day last year the first 20 customers were presented with a ‘goody bag’, which contained among other items a free watch. One Orvis customer - let’s call him Major Barmy - was one of the lucky customers who won. After being in possession of said watch for a year, and which had now sadly stopped working, Major Barmy demanded free repair, free replacement or a full refund… can you believe it?

The Raw Sewage Story
A most unfortunate incident occurred during one Friday night of last year, which consisted of a flood of raw sewerage into the basement of the shop. I arrived that Saturday afternoon just in time to see the council shit wagon parked outside, and the driver feeding the pipes through the shop down into the basement to extract said fragrant fluids, and an exasperated Andy who had just had cause to practically forcibly remove a lady customer from the shop.
She came in, despite the fact that 1) large notices were displayed outside to explain the reason the shop was closed, 2) the lights were off, 3) a standing ‘closed’ sign was placed right in the shop doorway (the woman had moved the sign so that she could walk into the shop), 4) there was a large Exeter City Council shit lorry parked outside, with large shitty pipes leading through the shop. Not to mention the extremely fragrant odour, which had completed bypassed her senses.

However, when challenged she refused to leave, complaining that she couldn’t see the merchandise as the lights were turned off. When Andy explained that the shop was actually closed, due to the fact that the basement had been flooded with sewerage, and that she was contravening Health & Safety rules by treading human excrement across the carpet, she exclaimed loudly that this was “typical of Orvis, never considering its customers” by which time he lost all reason and told her in no uncertain terms to get out.

[Brilliant Jen! So many of Andy's stories end with him turfing out the customers, I'm surprised Orvis has any left! Thank you SO much for the glimpse of Devon :) ]

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