Buying an awning is hard work!

Over a month ago I started to make enquiries about costs and shipping for the new awning and tent for my van. I felt I wanted to get the decking completed first and then make the order for the awning. Of the companies I contacted, the Germans were unable to ship to Crete and one UK company said that they no longer shipped awnings due to damage in transit. I also contacted a large Greek company on the mainland. Following my experience with the delivery costs for the fencing materials, the first question asked of the Greek company was the likely cost of transporting the awning and the tent, the two largest items, which weigh together around 80kg, to Crete.

I was directed to a website where I could find prices for the items however not the delivery. The site produced a proforma invoice which presumably would be sent to the company so that their office could contact me via the information I supplied. After a few days, I contacted the company who, surprisingly, had no knowledge of the invoice. They said they’d look into it and get back to me but I sent them my shopping list once again, just to be sure. In the mean time, I contacted a UK company who were able to ship to Crete as well as supply all of the items I required. They have since come back to me with a firm quote including international shipping.
This morning I contacted Zampetas, the Greek company yet again, asking if there was any progress with the order. Maria, the lady I have been dealing with, suggested that the shipping costs were likely to be 40€ or 70€ and that they wanted me to pay a deposit of 1,500€ and the balance on delivery. I said that I wanted to make only one payment, that I needed to know the total costs and that I’d pay in advance. She contacted me later to tell me that she needed a few days to get the delivery charge and to see if everything was in stock before I paid.
I have written back explaining that, as this is quite a substantial purchase, I have contacted a number of suppliers for prices, including the cost of international shipping. I explained that, as a matter of courtesy, I would prefer to order from a Greek company however was unable to proceed without the total cost of both the goods and the delivery. I politely suggested that they might like to get their fingers out seeing as it is nearly a month since I first contacted them and the first question asked was the cost of delivery. When I mentioned to Manos that I was considering purchasing from a Greek company he threw his hands up in despair! The saga continues…
As it turns out, the prices for the actual items, whether I purchase in UK or in Greece are about the same. The UK company however needs £270 + VAT for shipping and freight insurance. If the prices are about the same, I’d prefer to give the business to Zampetas as, after all, I am living here and would like to support the local economy blah blah blah. But it is hard work!
Today has been warm with a top temperature of 32.6C. I poured a bucket of water over Boris, as he seemed to be a bit hot and flustered, then took Dave to one of the outside showers for a dousing. The ‘puppies’ have not been quite so quiet today and there have been a couple of brief outbursts. People are already arriving for the weekend, which could be quite warm, with forecast temperatures of 36C for Saturday and Sunday.
The camping is looking nice, thanks to the efforts of Manos under a certain amount of my direction. I suggest things that might require attention, and he sees to them without consulting Mrs P. He and she had a bit of a ‘conversation’ a while ago and I believe she told him that he should get on with things as he saw fit. He has fixed the wonky steps to the toilet cabins, replaced the platforms in the outside showers and put away the fire hose which had been laying idle for several weeks. He has also cleared up all the broken pallets littering the area behind my compound and disposed of much of the rubbish cluttering up the area in front of the storeroom and workshop. He complained that I had not commented that the fire hose had been put away and we have a little kind of tour of inspection as each job is completed. I suggested that the repair to the loo steps was a ‘step in the right direction’ however pointed out that it might be better to make some other improvements in order to complete the job. Although initially unwilling to embrace my suggestions, I noticed that he had done what I had suggested: however there was still a ‘Greekness’ to the job giving it that special characteristic associated with the Hellenic State.