No business like hose business

There’s nothing worse than splashing out your hard-earned cash on a new piece of garden equipment only to discover that when you get it home you find that the assembly instructions have been compiled by an idiot with a low IQ, and probably potty to the power of ten.

Last week, as you do with spring just around the corner, the wife and I popped into the smart, shiny revamped B&Q in Bognor Regis and splashed out nearly £80 on a brand-new HoZelock garden hose system.

That’s the good news...the bad news is it took us over an hour to decipher the instructions and another hour to actually get it to splash out. The instructions, printed on a large red and yellow card with a three-year guarantee written in 23 different foreign languages, were very explicit but failed to cover the most crucial point... how to link the hose to our standpipe tap on the house wall. The instruction card very graphically showed a 1.5m length of hose running from the unit to the tap but the hose wasn’t in the pack.

Confused, we rang Hozelock’s Birmingham HQ. The lady at the othe end, in a strong Brummy accent replied: “Oh no, sir. With the HoZelock 2436, as it happens, yow (sic) have to get a Stanluy (sic) knife and currit (sic) off yowself. Yow simply currit (sic) off the 40-metre length and attach all the yallow connection beets (sic)”.

Silly me!. Fancy not knowing that! Anyway, to cut a long HoZelock hose story short, I whisked the entire unit back to B&Q and a very obliging customer services lady, with 14 years’ experience in market gardening, put me straight.

“HoZelock have been making this mistake for years” she said.

“I know the HoZelock reps well and they are in denial. They could get the instructions changed to show you must cut this off yourself but they simply don’t bother. It’s ridiculous.”

Whereupon, with a skilled B&Q flourish she took a Stanley knife and severed a decent length of the main hose with the skill of a trained house surgeon and did the job for me, re-attached the spare connections, and a few minutes later I left B&Q a happy man.

She was professional to her fingertips... unlike the £200m-a-year turnover group HoZelock who have cornered the worldwide market in watering, spraying and aquatics, but not, alas, assembly instructions.

Geordie Campbell

Barrack Lane