Sweating In Kitchen Shops
We had a new hobby for 2022. Every Saturday we set out to go and sweat in a kitchen shop. Sometimes it was the price; sometimes it was the heat – but whichever it was, I miscalculated either my budget or my outfit and had a rivulet of sweat running between my shoulder blades by the end of the visit, either way.
You’ll be glad to know we have settled on a kitchen design and supplier. My regular readers (which, were I to post actually regularly, could actually be that) will be delighted to hear that our kitchen design contains precisely zero corners, which is something of a miracle. But I am delighted.
You would think that a kitchen shop would be a kitchen shop and that they would sell kitchens. But it’s weird. The three places we went were so, so different to one another.
Our first port of call was a small but perfectly formed showroom full of lovely people and lovely kitchens. The design they came up with was pretty much how it looks now but with (much) more expensive cupboards. They had lovely brochures, their 3D renderings had our own art on the walls and our own view out of the windows. I just couldn’t get excited about the design though. And I certainly couldn’t get excited about the quote.
The second place we went to was like a kind of time warp/dystopia. There was literally no one there. There were bits missing from all the kitchens and drawers full of miscellaneous samples. Our physical visit was followed up by a zoom call with a man who presented as weary, unsupported and depressed. So, we moved on, trying to find people who wanted to sell us a kitchen.
Our third place was this. They want to sell you a kitchen. They want to show you kitchens, let you stroke the surfaces, play with the cupboard interiors, sit on the bar stools. They also, as it turned out, wanted to have their heating up so high that it felt like Gran Canaria in mid July, except we were wearing clothes fit for Scotland in February. They wanted details, many many details to punch into their tablets, hung like messenger bags around their waists. This was a well oiled kitchen selling machine, and we could have felt like unsuspecting prey… but happily we wanted to buy a kitchen; they wanted to sell a kitchen. What a joy!
The stupid thing was that this was on the way home one Saturday from Kitchen Place number 1, and we thought we would pop in for a quick look round. But, there were still more and more questions for the tablet, while the temperature cranked up higher and higher. I started to shed layers. Did we want a sink the same material as the worktop or in a contrasting finish? Did we want a mixer tap, a quooker tap, a tap for carbonated water? Did we need a wine fridge, a warming drawer, an island? Colours, colours, colours… and we are like, eh, we are just having a look round but yes, admittedly we do, in fact want a kitchen.
Time passed. I wilted. The teenager we had in tow had also wilted. The boy with the tablet had not wilted and he had many, many more questions… I needed a seat (of which they had many), a coffee (and yes, they did offer, but at this stage in the day I just wanted to go home), and probably most importantly, a shower (not their remit)… It was weird that the kitchen boy was more interested in my new kitchen than I was.
For our return visit, I was better prepared, with more summery layers. The guy took us through his design which was a) revolutionary and b) exactly what I had asked for. He had listened about the no corners thing. He had listened about my wish to come in the back door and have a place to put things. He shuffled images about on his computer until I felt seasick looking at it and, boom. All good. Very exciting.
And that’s what I was hoping for – to be excited about it. The first place was very lovely, but, with hindsight, a bit unimaginative. The second place, I just felt sorry for the man that worked there, but that’s not really reason enough to make a major purchase. So, with my free cool bag in my hand and a very, very, very detailed breakdown of hundreds of decisions that I hadn’t even known required to be made, we decided to go with the third place – on the grounds that they are really into selling kitchens and designed one I think will be good.
One of the major problems with the current kitchen is that it is ABSOLUTELY FREEZING for six months of the year, so, here’s hoping one day I can break sweat in a kitchen of my own. The dishwasher is still broken and washing dishes is now pretty much what I do in my spare time but we are hoping to get it fixed now that keeping it broken, as a strategy to motivate kitchen purchasing, has worked.
Now that we have selected a kitchen it now means I have Saturday afternoons again. And one day soon I won’t have to spend those free afternoons doing the dishes.