Shopping? Fun?!

While the driver is handing us packages of tiles one by one, one of the pool builders just walks by with the wheelbarrow, ready to empty the debris into the container. He glances at the tile supplier and the packages that we just carefully stacked together in the hallway. “Ah so you all went shopping? Fun!”, he exclaims jokingly while wiping the sweat from his forehead. We look at each other somewhat smiling. “Fun?!” I don’t think we had a lot of fun while shopping during the renovation of the house so far…

The fact that this tile supplier can drive right up to our door with his vehicle to deliver us the tiles is an exception. And a godsend, because more than once a heavily irritated (of even angry) driver showed up at our doorstep. With a pallet truck next to him, because the street was to narrow for his truck to drive all the way through. Just like last week. Naturally at the moment that – after yet another false promise that our bar stools would be delivered – we decided not to stay home any longer.

After I carried around two mobile phones (both the Spanish and the Dutch one) for a week to make sure that I really wouldn’t miss the call we all anticipated, naturally the phone rang on the first day that we had a large number of store visits planned. And because my mother was (sick but still) at home, we assured the driver in our best Spanish to just come and make the delivery today. That we weren’t able to tell him whether his vehicle would be able to reach our front door, seemed to piss him off. The fact that we struggled to tell him so in Spanish, seemed to piss him off even more. That, after having hung up angrily already once, he called a third time to tell us that he had parked his truck next to the bar right at the entry of the village, should have told us that we were going to be in for a treat. So while our mother (with the help of the bilingual waitress) finally asked him to just deposit the pallet on the street next to the terrace, we were facing difficulties of our own while shopping in Finestrat. Where she, worst case scenario, would just be sipping coffee on the terrace next to the pallet until help arrived, we were desperately seeking help in one of the many hardware stores.

That you can only ask the employee that’s specifically assigned to that particular area of the store, doesn’t make it any easier. Especially when that employee doesn’t seem to be as omniscient as you would have hoped. So when you ask the friendly young man if they also sell water-saving showers and he confidently points to half of the showers, you don’t know whether you should laugh or cry. “These all have a thermostat”, he continues, as we try to interrupt him to clarify exactly what we mean. “Oh, water-saving and environmentally friendly?”, he interrupts us again. “Well, then you just turn the tap a little colder and not open it fully, right?” While it becomes clear that he will not be able to help us, we thank him for his help and start looking for another employee who would be able to help. Fortunately, the next employee immediately understands what we are looking for. Unfortunately, he admits that they don’t sell it.

So, as we drove home, we had another laugh about the employee’s well-meant advice. But no, a fun shopping trip isn’t always the case in Spain. Unless we drive to Dumas of course. This Dutch company, that won this year’s Spain Prestige Award for best Garden Furniture Store, does not only sell the most beautiful furniture, but they also know what people usually mean when they want to have a pleasant shopping trip. When we are going to place our final order there on Wednesday, we won’t have to deal with ignorant staff for once. Better yet, they will poor you a cold glass of cava. Phew, it seems that the pool constructor is going to be right after all. “Going shopping” does sound like fun!