Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cobblers


Subject: Cheaney Pennine IIR Country Boots in Burgundy Grain

“Dear Sir,

I am resident in Angola and would like very much to buy a pair of UK size 9 Cheaney Pennine IIR Country Boots in Burgundy Grain…”

I also asked them to provide me the package dimensions and weight so that I could have DHL Express collect the package and courier it to me.

 
Below the reply I received from them:

 
Dear Mr Gowans,

Thank you for your email.

Although we ship worldwide we only currently offer shipping to selected countries. Unfortunately Angola is a country that we are unable to ship to at present.

Kind regards,

John Pugh

Internet Sales Coordinator

 

No reason given, no apology, just a curt dismissal.  It is also risible; ‘Although we ship worldwide…’  Well they don’t, do they?

I get this ALL the time from UK suppliers, why?  What is it about Angola?  The supplier will be paid, in money not cowry shells, the same money that everyone else in UK uses, pounds Sterling, so what’s the problem?  I am not Angolan, I just happen to be here and am in need of a new pair of well made boots.  Don’t the authors of such responses realise how distressing it is to be turned down merely because of one's location?  Am I distasteful to them by association?  Association with what?  Natives?  Are they perhaps concerned that their boots would not hold up in an environment admittedly a little more hostile than a genteel shoot in Norfolk?  Does the military style risk breaching some United Nations arms embargo?  Or are they worried their reputation as purveyors of fine footwear to the nobility would be irrevocably diluted if a pair of Cheaney’s was seen on my plates?    The meanness of the response invites such speculation.

I really wanted these boots.  I have taken a little stick recently over my dress sense, or rather lack of it in the overwhelming opinion of my readers, and Marcia considered these boots further evidence of my disintegration into senility but if you know your boots, you will realise that these are boots to last a lifetime (what’s left of mine most certainly) and bring real credibility to the notion of living and dying in ones durable footwear. 

I haven’t been so crushed by rejection since Sally Bent, the gorgeous blonde the breasts of whom I was very sweet on, turfed me in favour of Nick Rushton and his Datsun 240Z.  I mean, a Datsun for goodness’ sake!

Now you know why I bought my industrial wood working machines in Italy and my bicycles in Germany.  CMC srl in Torianna have never shipped to Angola either but rather than turn me away, they asked me the best way to ship.  Bulls Cycles in Germany repackaged the bikes into DHL standard sized boxes so they could send them.

Yet a cobbler in Northampton can’t be bothered to receive payment for a pair of boots and have the package at reception so that DHL can pick it up.

And people wonder why the country is in such a mess!  It’s enough to turn an affable chap into a grumpy old sod, especially since I know I am really stuffed this time.  Italian boots would be far too fashionable and Jack Boots would only reinforce a few prejudices. 

Why should I be forced to subsidise one of Cheaney’s UK retailers?  I know retailers have to make their percentage, not only to make selling Cheaney footwear worth the effort but also to fund their facilities.  Their customers can come in and see the product; they can try their boots on before paying for them.  I don’t have that luxury.  I am buying Cheaney boots sight unseen because of the company's outstanding reputation and decades of familiarity with their products.  So why can’t I buy direct from the factory?  Surely selling a pair of boots to me in Angola will not infringe any franchise agreement, unless they were as short sighted as Habanos SA, the state owned company controlling the sale and distribution rights of genuine Cuban cigars, who sold the franchise for the entire African continent to a guy in Cyprus.  Just as we can’t buy decent boots in Angola, a good smoke is hard to come by as well.

The thing that really sticks in my craw, though, is that I have no choice but to ask my brother to wander into any one of the retailers selling these boots, buy them and stick them in the DHL for me.  Why is that so bad, you ask?  It is bad because, once again, George Osborne will get 20%, and that really bloody annoys me.

Cheaney Pennine IIR Country Boots in Burgundy Grain
Unquestionably the finest boots in a World so exclusive, Angola isn't a member.

44 comments:

  1. Nice, im a brogue fan myself....the boots are obviously considered to posh for Angola

    Andy

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    Replies
    1. The only brogues I ever bought were Cheaney's, very well made shoes.

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  2. Blame it on an over abundance of caution. I think they are merely afraid of appearing politically incorrect by exporting such a blatant icon of Victorian British colonialism to Africa.
    May I suggest a more appropriate alternative.
    http://www.penick.net/digging/images/2014_01_09_Tarangire/20_Raymond_tire_sandals.JPG
    Now that is far more stylish. And there is no way in hell you are wearing those things out. Just don't wear them with socks pulled up to your knees or you will give yourself away as a foreigner. Don't fight it, time to go native man. ;-)

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    1. I think Monsieur Cowans might be prepared to wear Tyre sandals, but Tire sandals; never.

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  3. Yes, a Datsun. But it was a 240Z. A good one now would be worth loads.
    As for the boots, I guess you will just have to look elsewhere. I would be loath to give money to Cheaney's after that. Might I suggest an American site called Cabela's who do a large range of shoes/boots and lots of other outdoorsy type stuff.
    A quick look online found an expensive 240Z at £35 in Australia.

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    Replies
    1. 35 pounds is rather a lot for a Datsun.

      I drive a Jeep, concession enough to our special relationship.

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    2. Doh! Obviously I meant £35k.

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    3. I realised that, Keep taking the B Complex, it is said to help conditions like yours...

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  4. Get a pair of RM Williams from Australia ~ they will last.

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    1. I had one pair of RM Williams boots and they fell apart in six months of Nigeria. Perhaps mine were a rogue pair but I have never had that happen with a pair of Cheaney's.

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  5. Having worked a great part of my career with businessmen trying to succeed in exports, it never ceases to amaze me how little they try. Hope you manage to conjure up a plan to get them somehow.

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    1. I think you can tell a lot from how much effort a salesman puts into a sale. If he only bothers with the easy ones, is he really a salesman? And this sale could not have been easier, I was willing to put the money in his pocket and arrange delivery. I don't want a pair of boots that a dozen sweaty pairs of feet have run up and down a shoe shop carpet or have spent a season drying to a crust in a shop window, I want a fresh pair from the factory.

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  6. Too bad, but you can't be choosy, anything to keep the snakes away from your toes!!!! Have you tried ebay?

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    1. I'd rather fall on my sword than try and buy the sort of boots I want off ebay.

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    2. Joseph Cheaney is on ebay, similar to your pic for $400.00 - a real steal - brand new (from UK - shipping to Angola).

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    3. That's not bad, cheapest I have seen so far is 295 pounds from Shipton & Heneage.

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  7. Replies
    1. There should be a law against discrimination on locational grounds.

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  8. Those boots are beautiful and look pricey too. You have good taste. Go ahead and bite the bullet and look on ebay. Might find a good deal.

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    1. I don't know, isn't ebay a bit risky? I'd sooner bite the bullet and just buy them from a retail outlet, at least I know I am getting the genuine article. Besides, good boots are to a man what fine lingerie is to a woman, would you buy your Carine Gilson off ebay?

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    2. FWIW I have made over 200 purchases on ebay without a single problem yet. Payment via Pay-Pal makes the transaction quite simple as well.

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    3. Tom you must be joking. I stopped caring about lingerie years ago. It's white cotton granny panties for me nowadays. How could I work on the farm in lingerie? Or maybe in my Chanel flats and Van Cleef and Arpel Alhambra necklace. The animals would love that. Ebay isn't risky, but for peace of mind, just get your brother to send them.

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    4. That's a hell of a lot of expensive lingerie, Michael, but I am sure you look nice in it.

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    5. I look at things the same way, Donna, that's why I am buying boots and not Jimmy Choos.

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    6. Much prefer "going commando", never was one for the frilly stuff myself. ;-)

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  9. I have a small online business, and have learned by prior experience (and financial loss) that there are certain countries that if just doesn't pay to ship to, because most of the time, the packages are never delivered, they just "disappear". What happens then, the customer files a refund request with their credit card provider, and since you can't prove the item was indeed delivered, they card provider does a chargeback against the merchant , and they are just out the money (and the product), just like that. This happens a couple of times, and it is just not worth it to ship to that country. Why throw good money after bad? My guess is Angola falls into this category with your bootmaker. I only ship to Canada, the UK and Australia any more.

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    Replies
    1. No argument with that at all but, if DHL pick up the consignment, it is tracked all the way to the point of delivery and has to be signed for. DHL do not lose shipments as a rule and if they do, it is their insurance that reimburses the client, not the vendor's. In this case, Cheaney would have fulfilled the obligations of their contract as soon as soon as DHL signed for them. I buy rare books from a small on line vendor who also does not, as a rule, deliver to Angola but he will if I pay the extra for DHL.

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    2. Besides, they could err on the side of caution and request payment by bank transfer with a condition of contract being that delivery will have been made once signed for by the courier. By transferring the funds my acceptance of the condition is implicit. There is always a way round these things if you give them a little thought.

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    3. What you say is entirely true, especially with the bank transfer part. It is probably that, like any company, the employees either do not have the approval to be creative, or there is just the laziness and inertia that infects some companies, especially if they are doing well otherwise. Should someone from Angola send me a bank transfer or a wire transfer for one of my items, it would go ahead and ship it, as I would have my $$$$ and they would be taking the chance that it would be delivered. Could you not, with your brothers assistance, open an account in Germany? That would certainly help with the country of origin problem.

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    4. It isn't a question of payment, it is tax. Value Added Tax (Sales Tax) in UK is 20%. If the goods are for export, I do not have to pay that, The supplier requires evidence of export which is best provided by them consigning the goods. If they refuse to consign the goods abroad, they will also refuse to waive the tax. Only a fool pays tax he is not obliged to pay.

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  10. I think it is a fear of Africa. When I was stockbroking I used to send the firm into apoplexy when I dealt with clients anywhere in Africa, it didn't matter that they had loads of money and I got it up front, as soon as a fax came through from the African continent giving me some buying instructions I got it in the ear. I never experienced any problems.

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    1. I am sure that is the case, a well founded fear of spammers, but it makes my life a misery sometimes.

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  11. Don't take it personally - I get the same reaction ALL THE TIME from UK sellers and I only live in Orkney. I have a UK postcode and a representative in parliament but as far as British commerce is concerned, I'm beyond the pale....

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    1. Crikey, I don't feel so hard done by now. Can't your MP hand carry stuff back for you like we expats do for each other here? What date is sunup there?

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  12. Now if you really think about it Tom, a 20% contribution to Chancellor of the Exchequer on a 300 $ pair of store bought dandy boots is one hell of a deal given that no so long ago it was the Treasury funded British NHS that helped you to retain possession of a wonky leg, and thus allow you to actually wear a full pair of said boots today. On the other hand purchasing one single boot would have cut your cost in half. ;-)

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    1. You seem pretty bloody chatty today, you still snowed in or something?

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    2. Yea right up to the fucking door knob. Around here we call it cabin fever. At the rate we are going I won't see a green lawn till some time in late July.

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  13. i understand why you are annoyed but let me say that there are plenty of companies that wont even ship to australia. anyone would think the place was full of convicts

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    1. Now that really is outrageous!

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  14. You could always use a service like this:
    www.forward2me.com where goods are shipped to a UK address assigned to you and then shipped on to you. But I don't think it would help with your VAT savings. I use a USA version of such a service on a rare occasion if I want to buy items in the USA and they won't ship outside of their country.

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    1. As you surmise, it's being able to satisfy the requirements for VAT exemption that require the cooperation of the vendor, they have to consign the goods and if they refuse to do that, I will not get the VAT off. 20% off a pair of 300 quid boots pays for the DHL Express. Don't forget, it isn't just that I pay the 20% I don't need to pay, I also pay 30% import duty, so I would be paying extra tax on tax! The solution is for me to wait until someone can hand carry the boots out for me. I pay the full sticker price in UK but save the DHL costs and, if the courier unpacks them and slings them in his luggage, I will probably save import duty as well. It just means I have to be patient until a volunteer turns up!

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  15. They look like nice boots, indeed -- but for the price, they should deliver them to you with a butler to shine them! Crap, they are expensive.

    There are tons of shoe opinions out there, and I won't judge (I do like those boots) -- my boots are Danner Acadias, made in Oregon, and I do love them.

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    1. Well, if your Danner Acadias are made locally and locals buy them, they're probably good boots. I like the Cheaney's because of the way they are made and the quality of the materials used. They do last a long time.

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Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.