Black & White or life as a chess-board

Life looks like a chess-board sometimes, black, white, black, white and even though many things don’t fall directly into either one or another, a sad occasion can lead to a happy revelation or a an upbeat mood can give rise to dark thoughts…

My first example might seem very trial, but ‘walk with me’ here. As sales started, I saw a pair of ASH Bowie wedge trainers that I really liked on My-Wardrobe and winked at my husband, suggesting they might be a nice present for the New Year. The box arrived promptly and beautifully wrapped and I decided to ‘walk them out’ to the exhibition at V& A, called ‘Hollywood Costume’. Ok, trainers are casual, but those ‘hightops’/wedge sneaker ones, pioneered by the French priestess of cool, Isabel Marant, give you added height and make you feel a little bit like a giraffe, in the best way possible. In the evening, however, when I was cleaning the hallway, I noticed that the soles looked quite worn. Frowning to myself, I fired an e-mail to My-Wardrobe customer services and they couldn’t be lovelier. I had a prompt reply and a promise to investigate, which again, very promptly, was fulfilled but it was the actual reply from ASH that made me feel cross. It stated and I quote here :

 “I’m afraid there is not anything we can offer the customer from our side. The ASH soles do come with an already distressed look. We haven’t had any other problems with this style and it is one of our bestsellers. I can confirm we have not had any of this sort of wear and tear problems with any of the trainer wedges including the bowie”

Distressed looking soles? The style is a best-seller, so complaints are irrelevant? My dear ASH responder, you shoes might be popular but I wouldn’t complain unless I had a good reason and my opinion should count, as in ‘one voice per customer’. With such attitude, I can honestly promise you that I wouldn’t be buying any Ash shoes in the future, no matter how many best-sellers they produce or how big the hype gets. Black, black, colour black for you, as in mark of shame Ash customer service.

Team on the other hand, gets nothing but praise as far as I am concerned, for prompt dispatch, nice packaging and most of all, for the customer care with a human face, for taking the time to investigate something on my behalf and being prompt and gracious about it. Thank you, you really do deserve a great reputation and can count on my loyalty when it comes to shopping. 

On a more serious note, another story. On a day when Russians celebrated Orthodox Christmas and when Britain was getting back to the post-holiday work routine, I ventured out to do some errands on my high street. I didn’t walk but drove, as had lots of things for the dry-cleaners. I parked a car and went to drop the bags off only to come back ten minutes later and see the side of my car smashed to slytherins-side mirror half-taken off, a back seat door handle gone, deep gashes in the side of the car, practically all along it, with actual whole visible in the car’s metal work and the back tail-light smashed to boot. Tears started welling up in my eyes, but then a lovely gentleman rushed to my side, saying that he saw the accident happen and gave me his contact details. I smiled at him, trying to hold back the tears and thanked him profusely. Out of the corner of my eyes I saw two police officers and when I asked them for help, was told that they, also , saw the accident happen and actually tried to chase the lorry that did it. They stayed there, taking notes, making phone-calls, while reassuring me. By the end of the day I had help from my insurance company and hire car company, as well as communication from the garage that will undertake to repair my car. A horrid situation was made better but true professionals, policemen at the scene, who actually found the driver and made him come back. Police-force often gets bad rap but on this occasion I felt immense pride and gratitude to those two fairly young police officers who showed me professionalism, respect and diligence in their work, with some diplomatic skills thrown in. I am also grateful to the gentleman who not only saw what happened, but actually took the time to write me a note and leave his contact details and for everyone who is going to help restore my car to its former glory. And my wrath goes to the lorry driver, who shouldn’t have been driving on that narrow road in the first place, who pretended that he didn’t notice that he damaged my car and swiftly drove off, thinking he won’t be caught and will get away with his misdemeanour-he hardly apologised to me, only worrying that he might get a parking ticket while talking to the policemen. Without any malice, I sincerely hope he learns his lesson and there will be one less driver on the road who thinks he can damage someone else’s property and get away with it.

It’s only a car, I agree, but I was still touched by the concern of my friends and family and for their sweet and sometimes humorous support. So as I said, life might be chequered board, the good sometimes walks along with the bad, it’s how we handle and perceive things that makes a difference to how we perceive each other and exist in this world. I hope colour white will prevail always!

2 thoughts on “Black & White or life as a chess-board

  1. Galina, this is written with so many truisms. Your philosophy blogs are inspiring indeed. I had the same problem with Ash. They refused to replace the trainers and repaired them and the same thing happened so they then did replace them. What nationality is the company?

  2. Thank you Louise, I am very pleased that you enjoy reading what I write 🙂
    ASH shoes are made in Italy, and founders have experience in French retail:
    Your experience with ASH only adds to my determination to talk about issues like that, especially as the brand positions itself as a luxury retailer, while its customer service is very poor

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