Blackheath Royal Standard
God how I love this shop. The Blackheath Royal Standard used to be a fantastic shopping centre; now it’s very definitely in decline. Only time will tell if the new M&S Food store will change things for better or worse, but for the moment only about four shops are really worth making much of a detour for.
Standard DIY is one of them. It takes up, in total, probably the floorspace of one aisle of B&Q but has more stuff that you’d actually want than all of the superstore’s massive but unexciting stock.
It’s a PROPER hardware store. You can buy a plastic bucket or a broom from outside, of course, but if you venture in, you’ll find DIY heaven. The phrase “Aladdin’s Cave” has been used to buggery but this really does merit the description. There are those lovely old fashioned trays of bits and bobs like screws and nails and springs and fittings which, if they’re in B&Q at all, you have to buy in a shrink-wrapped pack of 6 when you need 3. There are racks and hooks and shelves, full of stuff you will probably need someday, however un-handy you might be. It might be a tad more expensive than B&Q but you’ll make up for it by buying the exact amount you actually need, and getting the right thing first time.
The superstores have large quantities of very bog standard stuff, but if you actually look at their stock, there’s a lot of bulk rather than variety. Standard DIY has a little of a lot of stuff.
The service is extremely helpful and friendly and they’ll go out of their way to find what you’re exactly looking for. They also do key-cutting.
This week, Standard DIY have been able to supply (where B&Q failed, which meant several wasted journeys – why did I keep bothering?) the following:
9 specialised hooks,
5 small s-shaped hooks
Some glue with a rude name
and, today, a Christmas tree, which I will be putting up this afternoon. Next year I won’t bother taking the car, though – they deliver…
Hooray for Standard DIY. The great thing is that not only do they give better service than the superstores, they actually manage to stock stuff the superstores don’t carry. This isn’t a case of supporting the little guy – it’s a case of going there because THEY’RE BETTER.