As its name suggests, Remains of the Games is the website that has been selling off the leftovers of the London 2012 Olympic Games. All sorts of products were being offered, "from mattresses to safes, from lecterns to Diving Umpire Chairs" (the last of which sound quite troubling; I'm not sure seats with the ability to both dive and umpire should be on general sale).
I ordered an Olympic Village bean bag as a birthday present for my brother. It took a while to become available, but I finally went down to an industrial estate in Nottingham last weekend to pick it up. And when I got there, there were a few to choose from:
|Remains of the London 2012 Olympic Games: mostly bean bags.|
Despite the abundance of bean bags, though, not everything else has been forthcoming. To this purpose, an email came round today, telling ROTG customers that,
"As we have now taken the last of the goods from the London2012 Sites and Village, we can see that there are numerous shortages. Rather than wait any longer in the hope that quantities might increase and products might appear, with regret we have decided to "Draw a line" as of today."
This is pretty shoddy, and ROTG deserve opprobrium. I have to say, however, that the questions in the FAQ section of their email are disarmingly honest (I also have to say that the A2 answers are my own):
Q: Why has it taken so long for you to tell us that we can't have our product?
A: We, like you, have been expecting products to be returned. Only now the "Bump Out" nears completion do we think it is unlikely that certain products will be returned.
A2: Boris Johnson promised he was just "looking after" all the items from the women's beach volleyball arena, and would give us everything back by the end of October. Now he has stopped answering our calls, we realise this was an error.
Q: You must have known ages ago that this product would not be supplied. Why didn't you tell us sooner?
A: We could see the quantity of this product as "Available" on our control sheets. What we can't see is product that is in existence but not passed as "Fit for purpose" or indeed "Lost".
A2: We should not have employed a quantum control system. It was the cat's fault.
|The Remains of the Cat: in existence, fit for purpose, but simultaneously lost.|
Q: You have had our money for months. Haven't you been making a fortune on the interest?
A: Funds are held by Paypal. They do not release them until they can see collections and orders are fulfilled. This is in effect like an "Escrow account". You are not exposed.
A2: Yes, because Paypal is a major tax avoidance scheme. We also know that most British people have no idea what an Escrow account is.
Q: Why is the cost of delivery so expensive compared to the cost of the product I bought?
A: The product you bought is less than the market value and delivery in the UK is very expensive. If a letter cost 60p then a Bean bag is proportionately inexpensive! We opened Collection centres in Tilbury London and Nottingham so as to ensure that our customers have every opportunity to collect or arrange collection themselves. This is usually the cheapest option.
A2: Have you tried buying an envelope big enough for a bean bag?
|Golden post boxes: not designed for mailing anything unusual.|
Q: Why were your communications so dreadful? Aren't you sorry?
A: Of course. We never expected to attract so many customers in such a short space of time. The website was set up originally as a simple "Trade Catalogue" and as such we didn't plan for the volume that came on line. Maybe naive, but if we HAD expected such a surge then of course we would have built an infrastructure to cope. Before the media took up the story [June until mid July] we had 70 visitors who spent a total of £67. On July 18th we had an article in the Guardian and this was followed by the Telegraph. We then were featured on Radio 4. The average traffic on the site went to over 30,000 a day every day for four weeks!
A2: Before the Olympics started, everyone hated the Olympics and said it was going to be rubbish and nothing good would happen and anyway, no-one could have any remains of the Games because there weren't any, so we all went away on holiday and our offices were lovely and quiet. Then the Olympics began and Team GB went and won a load of gold medals and everyone got super-excited and wanted Jessica Ennis's shower curtains and Mo Farah's trouser press and Bradley Wiggins' paperclips and we only had Mrs Miggins in the office that week and she didn't know how to use the computers or the fax machine. Can we blame Atos?
|Supporters of Team GB at London 2012: it's your fault!|
Q: Why have we been given duff information at times by your call centres?
A: Often because the information that they have been working from has been less than accurate.
A2: Because they were just making it up as they went along.
Q: Would you take an opportunity like this on again given the opportunity.
A : Yes - it has been a fantastic experience. We have employed and worked with a truly remarkable set of people who have managed, and continue to manage, one of the most complicated supply chains ever.
Q : The "Legacy" ?
A : Remains of the Games has donated and subsidised product acquisitions throughout the United Kingdom. We have enjoyed donating thousands of pounds to charities and continue to actively work to ensure that many disadvantaged institutions can afford what would normally be unaffordable.
A2: Do you want a bean bag?
|Just wait till the Remains of the Mascots sale begins|