Monday, 3 August 2009

Of scooting, whinging and blogging

Apparently us 'Mummy Bloggers' have lots of influence. Obviously not in this house, where I have the influence of a sponge pudding, but online where our readers (all 3 of them, hello Mum) have come to know us, laugh with us and trust us. So if we endorse a product this, apparently, carries a lot of weight with our followers.

Now, I'm not so sure about all of this. I mean all 3 of my readers are probably just a tad bored of a lunchbreak and wanting a hopefully diverting moment reading about another cultural faux pas in a land far away. But, I was listed at No. 41 in the Top 100 British Parent Bloggers in July (thank you, thank you) which in theory means that someone is listening to what I'm saying. Obviously not in this household as noone listens to a word I say, but you lot, out there in the ether.

So, I'm going to take this opportunity to have a whinge. A whinge that I have perfected having been taking lessons from my 4 year old, and, trust me, that is a whinge worth having. And I am hopeful that the target of this whinge will pay attention.
When we were back in the UK in May we bought the boys some scooters. Luke, at 2 1/2 received the Mini Micro T Bar scooter which, if I can get the technology right should be pictured below.

I love this scooter. I kiss the ground on which this scooter wheels. Lukey loves this scooter. He, of the front row rugby prop forward frame, will extend his pudgy little toddler leg in a beautiful arabesque with a pointed toe as he glides around town. He flies along and he loves it. Words do not rate this scooter too highly. We all love it.

Adam was bought the Micro Lite scooter. This one is a 2 wheeler and chosen because it is light and easy to carry (vital for me, who usually ends up at some point carrying 2 scooters, holding onto a dog who is also trying to get into other peoples picnics and make sure both toddlers are moving forward in the same direction whilst having a conversation about the bathing habits of the bird just over there). It was also chosen because it was recommended to us by the store. So, the store put it together and Adam fell in love. He is great on the 2 wheeler. He effortlessly slaloms down the path, elegantly zipping past walkers and gliding serenely through the park. Yes, Adam loves his scooter.

We, however, do not. The nuts and bolts keep working lose and on several occasions have disappeared all together. Bear in mind that the official stockist store put it together. Also bear in mind that when the nut holding the handlebars to the bottom bit is gone the whole scooter can completely collapse at any moment. When we returned to the stockist and called the company that sells them, they replied that we hadn't put it together properly. The stockist said that she had. She also said that this was the 5th or so in the past couple of days that had come back with the same problem. We bought some more nuts and tried again. Same result. Nuts worked lose, scooter was an accident waiting to happen.

Eventually we got fed up and made our own solution to the problem which is working (I love the fact that Dave is good at DIY!). So we carried on, scooting, slaloming and enjoying ourselves. Next up, the handlebars and the wheels got out of synchronization. So when Adam had the handlebars pointing straight on, the scooter went left. We fixed it. It broke again. We fixed it, again it broke. We took it apart good and proper and used all manner of tricks to fix it again. So far it has held.

Now my complaint is that at £45 these scooters are not cheap. There are many similar out there that are a lot cheaper. So far we have owned it for 3 months and have had to fix it ourselves at least 6 times. The faults have been fairly serious and could have easily, so easily, led to a bad accident. But, when we call to say the thing is falling apart, I honestly expect the company involved to be a bit more constructive than 'you didn't put it together properly' particularly when so many others are having the same problem. So, whatever you do, buy the mini micro t-bar scooter, whatever else you do DO NOT buy the Micro Lite.
Whinge over. I'm not sure anyone is still listening. Ah well, did my best. Also did my best with the formatting of this post which has gone to pot once I put the images in. Sorry! I have been trying to sort it but am now bored and am off to do something more constructive than play around with blogger.


London City mum said...

FM - we too have 3 (yes, three) mini micro scooters and think they are brilliant.
Like you, I was considering a move 'up' to get the micro lite for my eldest (now 6), but will definitely desist having read your post. Thank you!
What I did see last week however (on the tube, of all places -definitely school holiday time at the moment) which may prove to be a better option was a larger version of the mini micro (called, very originally, the maxi micro) which could well suit the need as cherub no.1 is now too tall for the original version.
However, at a pricey £89.99 RRP, I somehow think walking may be the most viable alternative.

Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? said...

I am listening.

We bought 2 x 2 wheeler scotters for £15 (FOR BOTH) at Argos.

Never had a problem

Metropolitan Mum said...

Yes, yes, yes! All the power to the people!
It's scandalous that they won't take it back and give you a refund. You should give them bad reviews on site like dooyoo.

nappy valley girl said...

Apparently the best way to get through to customer service these days is to blog about a product - or Twitter, if you're into that.

We have two Mini Micros and they are fab. Littleboy 1 has had his for two years now and it is pretty much on its last legs but he has used it virtually every day. The boys adore them.

Iota said...

Power to the people. The blogging people, that is.

SandyCalico said...

Glad to see you're using your blogging powers for good.
Congratulations on being no.41 (from no.92)! :-)

gaelikaa said...

Apparently, mummy bloggers are hugely influential in the US, but their potential has yet to be realised in the UK. But their day is coming. For voicing consumer concerns, they are definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. But as for advertising influence - it remains to be seen. I think it is also true to say that as mothers, we don't mind paying out good money for something for the children if it will work well, but merchandise which does not give satisfaction is money wasted, particularly for mothers, for whom time is the scarcest commodity.

Also, can you please come over to mine for a minute? I have a tag for you :)

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

LCM - There are some cheaper 2 wheel versions out there. The mini micro is pretty unique but we LOVE it. So disappointed with the micro lite. Oh well.

AWNTYM? - will have to investigate. Do they stand up to heavy usage?

MM - Good idea.

NVG - We love the mini micro too. Disappointed with the micro lite. The scooters get used a lot in this household so they need to be well built. What are you going to do when LB1's scooter finally expires?

Iota - yay for the bloggers. Does anyone apart from us actually read us?

SC - congrats on no. 92!

Gaelikka - you are right. I don't think that my blog will reach that many people to make it an effective advertisement. But, if they can pay attention to the fact that their product is flawed and rectify that, then that would be a good thing. Thanks for the tag too!

Mummy said...

I can hear my mother's voice echoing in my head never to pay more for branded items, they are never worth it and often just as likely to go wrong as cheaper versions.

Possibly true for everything except shoes and handbags. And cars made in China.

zooarchaeologist said...

I was lusting after one of these for toddler boy in John Lewis the other day. My advice would be to pretend you bought it off them and try taking it back there. If all else fails you have put me off buying one!

Jo Beaufoix said...

That is just so annoying, especially as Adam loves it so much so it's not even like you can throw it out without causing a lot of upset. I hope THEY are listening sweetie. Gits. ;D

david mcmahon said...

I once tried out my kids' scooters - and was immediately told it was not a good look!

Anonymous said...

Power to the consumer! But zooarchaeologist don't try pointing out to John Lewis that a chair that collapses is dangerous, even when you're not trying to get a refund because it was cheap and you were standing on it at the time.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Mummy - so true. We did try a non branded 2 wheeled scooter that cost next to nothing, but it didn't feel very stable and Adam can really go fast. I do prefer the micro lite, if it just stopped falling apart! Grrrr.

ZA - The mini micro is great. The micro lite would be great if it would just stop falling apart.

JB - we're just lucky Dave is a bit of a DIY ace, so it is now roadworthy. Don't know what we'd do otherwise, I can barely detach him from it as it is! Just want them to make scooters that are safe and to stop treating their customers as if we are idiots.

DM - I tried out theirs too, can't do it at all!

Owen - lets go consumers. But, these scooters are supposed to be stood on, they should stand up to it. Wish I had bought it at John Lewis, they might have responded somewhat better.

clareybabble said...

I've never had a scooter like this but S has a Bob The Builder one. It's great but he is so slow on it, bless him! x

Anonymous said...

Hi, we also have a Micro Lite scooter that is a death trap waiting to happen. The handlebar swivels independently from the front wheel - its such a dissapointment as we have had a micro mini too and that was fab. Will let you know if I get anywhere with my complaints! Mum NRG

Jennifer Brown said...

Hi, we also have a Micro Lite scooter that is a death trap waiting to happen. The handlebar swivels independently from the front wheel - its such a dissapointment as we have had a micro mini too and that was fab. Will let you know if I get anywhere with my complaints! Mum NRG