Is it in stock?
We often get a few emails a week asking if we have certain items in stock. ‘Why of course we do,’ is our oft repeated reply. However, these emails have become far more regular in recent weeks. Understandably, given that supply line problems are barely out of the press at the moment. If it isn’t the eternal search for fuel, it’s the lack of turkeys or toys for Christmas.
There are two interrelated things at play here.
Firstly, confusion comes to customers because some companies decide to list items that they just don’t have in stock – that desirable trowel, spade, secateurs or your particular size of overalls? When they say they have it, perhaps they mean they’ll order it once they have your money. Or by designing their website to allow you to get so far through your purchase before it tells you there is a wait time. Hugely frustrating when we are on the receiving end, but this seems to be more common now and it’s due to companies playing the ‘just in time’ approach. As a small, independent business, we absolutely get it. It saves money – who wants lots of stock sat waiting to be bought? It frees up money and it’s what the world has just got used to – only having the bare minimum to get by and trusting that the next delivery will ‘top you up’ when you need.
Unfortunately, this is where the second factor comes into play because the steady supply or ‘top up’ is, no longer guaranteed. Manufacturing and deliveries are, to put it as nicely as possible, still very much up the spout. Things we ordered to be delivered in May have either just arrived (including tools from Sneeboer, Carhartt overalls and aprons, and Trusco toolboxes). More orders, that were supposed to be here in time for Christmas, are coming when they can (and fingers crossed it will be before December, but, frankly, who knows – it could be January).
It’s a perfect storm – and hence the increase in the number of queries from customers about whether or not we actually have the tools or kit in stock, because they want them for a present for a birthday or Christmas and need to know when they’ll receive them. So, let’s make one thing absolutely crystal clear – if the website is showing it is in stock, we physically have it. And we only let you buy the stuff that we ACTUALLY have in stock*. If it’s on the website, and you can click and buy it, you will have it sent to you that day (or the day after, depends when, exactly you order!)
*Of course, this doesn’t take into account human error. Sometimes there’s a stock mishap. Not often, but it usually involves the odd thing not being in stock due to Edd or I mis-counting. Easily done when deliveries all seem to come in at once and we are pushed to get them online. Even more easily done when Edd’s ‘multi-tasking’ and doing stock whilst listening to the Sniff and Smith podcast.