Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cork Tiles anyone?

I don't like Homebase. Its much more expensive than B&Q and the service is terrible. Where ever possible I go to Charlie's, our local DIY shop, where you get proper service and advice from a man who actually knows what he is doing.

Unfortunately last night Charlie didn't have what I needed so I went to Homebase. The following conversation is actually true - no embellishing I promise you!

Hi, do you sell cork tiles?
Homebase Lad: Er, I don't know.... What is it you want?
Me: Cork tiles.
Lad: (looking confused) what are they?
Me: You know, floor tiles made from cork.
Lad: (Frowns at me)
Me: You know what cork is?
Lad: No.
Me: The stuff that they put in the top of wine bottles, like very soft wood. They make floor tiles out of it sometimes for bathrooms.
Lad: Oh. Right. The ceramic tiles are round here.
Me: No, not ceramic - cork.
Lad: I'll get someone else to help you.

Home base woman: Cork Tiles? Erm I think we used to sell them but we don't have any now. What is it you want them for?
Me: I want to make a massive pin board.
Woman: You could try Argos?

In the end I bought 3 packs of polystyrene ceiling tiles. I have glued them to an entire wall in my studio, covered them with white flannel sheeting and now I have an excellent design wall where I can pin up the pieces of quilts in progress. It actually works brilliantly and is definitely preferable to laying out my fabric pieces on the floor which is what I used to do. Now I just need to design some new quilts!


Blogger Tracy said...

I have DIY store problems at Focus in Weybridge. Nobody who works there is either English speaking, or DIY knowledgeable. I usually walk out in utter frustration and fuming annoyance. A little chinese lady who works there once told me that I was 'velly lude' as I chuntered in frustration when looking for a certain type of electrical plug. I fantasize about going mad in the store with one of their chain saws.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just read the comments concerning Homebased, with which I can only agree. But before you get too carried away, let me tell you about my two rfecent visits to B & Q. I asked for cork tiles, and was told in a very sneering tone,"Oh, we dont stock those anymore. Good God Duck" (Well, it was Nottingham).
Previously, I had bought some new tiles for the kitchen and, naturally, they did not have enough for me to finish the job.(Don't ask, long story) They faithfully promised to telephone when the new stocks came in. I even telephoned them two or three times. Several weeks later, having bodged the job, I wandered into the store, to see the shelf literally bulging with 'my' tiles.The best bit was the dead pan expression with which I was greeted. This is the company, who 'priced out' a perfectly good D-I-Y store in the town.
I give up with them all.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

B&Q in Southampton tell me that they haven't stocked cork tiles for at least two years, although they did know what they were.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How curious! What is it about cork tiles. I had a similar experience at Homebase in Shoreham. When I asked if they stocked cork tiles the look on the face of the assistant suggested that I had asked for a kitten-mangle. Hmmm....

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The B & Q, Homebase, Focus type stores sum up entirely what England has become.

Nobody knows, nobody cares, nobody is interested. For a country that only 50 years ago radiated with pride, it is no longer.

I went in to B & Q recently and needed some tap washers. I spoke to an emplyee in the plumbing aisle and was told " sorry mate, it's not my aisle and off he rushed.

I always try to search out independent specialist shops. They are a dying breed but there are still a few excellent out there.

After this generation they will all be gone.

How do these enormous stores continue to exist? Is it just because they have got so big they roll on despite themselves? Each and every visit is a frustration. Surly staff, more intent on their own chat, non-existent help for queries. Rule Britannia. Time to leave the country

9:27 AM  
Blogger james said...

Oh dear, it's not just me then...I also am desperately seeking cork tiles. I also have some but not enough; I bought the original ones from B&Q. Now, I might as well be asking for Dodo eggs. Nice young black chap in my Chiswick store was helpful but it seems they haven't sold them for a while. The Asians in Finchley Homebase are pretty docile (and useless). I don't know where the middle.aged men went who used to work in these places. Or women for that matter. A few johnny Pole handymen wouldn't go amiss.
Enthusiasm for DIY doesn't seem to be a prerequisite for working at these places. If only Robert Dyas did superstore...

7:08 PM  
Blogger james said...

I take it all back :) Went back to Finchley Homebase , asked a manager who asked the tile wallah. No joy but 3 packets were eventually hunted down hiding under some shelving. A warehouse johnny remembered they did have them and...low and behold they were...on the system!

7:57 PM  
Blogger 1200 Centigrade said...

Years ago my daughter and I went to Homebase to get Cork tiles, we had a measurement of the room, but the guy in homebase could not work out how many tiles we needed, so off to B&Q and got what we wanted straight away.
Yesterday we headed straight to B&Q to get more. oh we dont stock them anymore... neither did anyone else, and I have just looked up Homebase on internet, No they dont have them either. There do seem to be a few places that sell them, but I cant find anywhere in Northern Ireland, what is wrong with Cork???

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a problem ok but if you cast your mind back a few years to the enormous raging forest fires in portugal,(aparently suspected to be caused by developers who couldnt get planning permission to clear the forestry. ...well those forests were mainly cork! It was one of portugals main agro industries,up there with fruit and tourism. Thats why suddenly socially acceptable to have plastic corks and screw top wine bottles. Im not suggesting the staff are any way competant but most of them were probably in school and didnt know wine corks were wood or not just called cork.

2:56 AM  

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