Painting the winery floor

This week I have mostly been buying epoxy resin to coat the floor of our winery. The process of acquiring said epoxy has been relatively tortuous, but enlightening nevertheless. If I may borrow your ear for a mere moment, allow me to share the joys of buying from a small shop.

To be perfectly honest, prior to early July, I had no idea I even needed an epoxy floor never mind how to get one. We were showing our new “chai” to one of Jurancon winemaker friends and he asked how we were going to paint the floor (rock and roll eh? living the dream….). Anyway, a blank look followed with some incoherent mutterings about dulux gloss paint, but he was having none of it. Apparently a painted floor will last approximately one jet wash, and since you do it every day, you could spend more time painting the floor than making wine, so a better solution was needed. It seems epoxy resin applied over the bare concrete is the way to go.

A 3D epoxy floor in the bathroom has some potential! Just a little scary when drunk.

So, what does a modern person do when trying to acquire something they have no idea about? Go to Amazon of course. After about 3 hours of online research I found what I reckoned would be a good solution (though of course I hadn’t actually spoken to anyone about it, as speaking is soooo last century). I ordered some (and it ain’t cheap) on July 19th with 3 day delivery. 3 days passed, it didn’t arrive. I tracked the package and found that the can had been dropped en route in Dax. Amazon itself still didn’t realise this for some reason so I spent another hour trying to inform them that their own package had been damaged in transit. Eventually they agreed to dispatch another can. 5 days later the same thing happened – package damaged in transit, Amazon didn’t know until I informed them. Hmm. I then made the silly mistake of trying to complain and was passed amongst various relatively incompetent people. Below follows a transcript of one particularly helpful discussion.

Me: Surely you need to change how you package it or use a different courier

Amazon guy:  I understand your concern, not to worry about it, cause my colleague has already contacted the carrier on your behalf to make sure the packaging is at it’s best, to make sure you receive the replacement order that he had created for the items with the best packaging for your convenience.

Umm, I’m not sure this is going very well.

Anyway, when the third package got dropped in Paris, and my 3 day delivery had turned into 3 weeks, I blew my top and cancelled the order. I also tried to give a stinking review on the website, but Amazon politely declined my kind offer of slagging off their service because the problem wasn’t related to the product I was reviewing. The link they gave me to review their rubbish delivery also wouldn’t accept the review, because the system had no record of any delivery being made (surprise, surprise – it never got to me). Now apoplectic with rage, I did what everyone else does, and gave up. Oh, and decided to email thousands of people about the experience. Not that they will even notice.

Anyway, this rant-filled story has a happy ending. My disastrous experience buying from “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company” drove me to find a local paint shop. They are called Zolpan which sounds like a cross between a toilet and an Alien, but other than that, it was a joy. So much so that I am going to show you a picture of them:

Next time you are in Oloron Sainte Marie and need Epoxy flooring, this is the place to go

The very helpful chap inside had apparently covered many dozens of winery floors in the past, and not only had some advice on what specific variant of Epoxy to go for, also knew how to treat the concrete before applying it, and had both the preparation liquid and epoxy in stock. And it was roughly half the price of the Amazon equivalent. And took exactly 22 minutes to get to my front door. I would like to put a review Zolpan on Amazon’s site, but I’m guessing that might be tricky.It does give me some hope that the future of independent knowledgeable shops who care about their customers may be brighter than some mega corporations might have you believe. Shop small!

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