Exactly what it says on the tin

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Last year we had a garage built in the bottom of our garden. For me this was to be my haven, somewhere I could hide my 30 year old ‘graphic designer’s car’ (basically a shitty old car no-one else would buy) from the mean streets of Basingstoke. For my wife it was somewhere else to put the crap she didn’t want to see anymore.

Whatever it’s purpose it was somewhere I wanted to take pride in and make my mark as I am not allowed to do this in the house (seemingly I’m the only one who thinks that putting old skateboards on the wall would look cool).

The vision was simple, clean white walls and red floor. When it came to buying the paint the walls were easy but I wanted to be sure whatever I used on the floor to last and not flake off. I saw Ronseal Diamond Hard Garage Floor Paint on the shelf. On the next shelf was Ronseal One Coat Concrete Seal. I got some of that too. Why? Because nine times out of ten when talking to clients about their brands, they cite Ronseal as an aspirational brand for their simple, no-nonsense attitude summed up with their strapline ‘It does exactly what is says on the tin’ and I bought into that proposition.

I painted my garage. It was awesome. For three weeks, then the beautiful red paint began to peel off the floor. I was pissed. So pissed I wrote a letter. This letter in fact:


Dear Sirs,

Are you comfortable? Have you got a cup of tea? Sorted, because I’m going to drag this out. Sorry…

When I was about five the guy next-door had a pristine garage with white walls, red floor and not a spot of dust. In it lived a yellow and black 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1. I never saw him drive it anywhere. He just rolled it out of the garage on sunny weekends and gunned the engine to make sure everyone down Cherry Tree Close was awake.

Conversely the garage attached to my house had grey breeze block walls a shit load of dust and contained my Mum’s Morris 1300. It too was grey. And this was the early eighties so it wasn’t a classic, it was just crap. I envied my neighbour and ever since then I wanted a garage with a red floor.

You, my Ronseal friend, will be pleased to learn then that last year I had a beautiful new garage erected in my garden. My wife saw a big room to fill with crap and a car if we were lucky. I saw the potential to realise a dream. This was to be my man-cave. My man-cave with a red floor.

Full of the excitement of my thirty-year-old dream I told my wife of my plans. “It’s your garage, you can do what you want with it” she smirked for she had more than enough reason to believe that this was one of many ideas that would never come to fruition because basically, I am lazy. What she didn’t know is that I had been studying the awesome potential of Ronseal Diamond Hard Garage Floor Paint on YouTube. I had knowledge. I just needed Ronseal Diamond Hard Garage Floor Paint – it does exactly what it says on the tin…

…Yeah, and it turns out I also needed Ronseal One Coat Concrete Seal* so I got some of that too. It also does exactly what it says on the tin. Freaky.

*Actually, ‘The Tin’ didn’t say to use Ronseal One Coat Concrete Seal, it just said to seal the concrete and the Ronseal One Coat Concrete Seal was handily displayed on the shelf right next to the Ronseal Diamond Hard Garage Floor Paint…

Every evening of one full week was spent in the garage, painting the walls, sealing the floor and finally applying the icing to the cake that was my garage – the Red, Ronseal Diamond Hard Garage Floor Paint.  I ruined two pairs of Diesel jeans, one t-shirt and one pair of Vans. I missed the end of Mad Men series 5 (it sucked anyway) and a night out with the boys.

It was worth it. I had the white walls, the white shelves, the car (not a Mustang sadly but a 30 year-old Shitheap BMW) and, most importantly, the red floor. My work was done. It was ‘amazeballs’ as they say. I even said “Behold!” when I opened the door to show people.

For three weeks I walked to work with a swagger. I greeted people who passed with a smile and a wave, I’m pretty sure women found me more attractive. Then this weekend something terrible happened. I backed the Shitheap out of the garage revealing, to my horror, peeling red paint. ‘WHAT’, and indeed, ‘The F*ck!?’ I thought to myself. I was enraged! Then I got bit by a dog which pissed me off even more.

This was something I did not see coming and I feel let down by Ronseal. Not for the dog bite, I can’t see how I could hold you responsible for that unless he had seen the disappointing finish on the floor also and was pissed with me for shoddy workmanship. No, I feel let down by Ronseal for your shitty peely, not very hard, floor paint.

I don’t know what to do now. My dreams have broken and by some strange poetic coincidence they are flaking away like my Ronseal Diamond Hard Garage Floor Paint.

I imagine since reading this your day seems to have take a nosedive. But remember, things could be worse. You could be McDonalds and I could be an American with coffee flavoured, scalded balls.

With that in mind – have a nice day! – Then tomorrow let me know what awesomeness you are going to bestow upon me to help resurrect my dreams like I know only Ronseal can.

Best regards
Mark Alesbury


To be fair, I did’t have a lot on the day I wrote that and mainly thought I was being an amusing pain in the arse (although I’m dubious that there is such a thing). Imagine my delight when a chuckling representative from Ronseal’s Technical Service Department called me to commend me on my letter (it had been passed around the office and pinned to the notice board) and to let me know that he had replied to my letter requesting I send some flakes of paint to them for analysis.

After receiving my flaky red paint they promptly replied. Seemingly they had detected ‘quite a lot of concrete on the under side of the flakes which would indicate the substrate it slightly unstable’. But the surprising part of the letter was the bit that stated that they ‘would not recommend using this concrete seal (Ronseal One Coat Concrete Seal) with the Garage Floor Paint based on the fact that the concrete seal is solvent based product and the Garage Floor Paint is water based, this can cause problems with adhesion.’

They went on to advise how I could do a ‘remedial’ repair using more Garage Floor Paint which they would supply me. This story shouldn’t end here but it does. I went back and read the reverse of the Garage Floor Paint tin and it did not say to use their concrete seal, nor had it said not to, but either way, Ronseal’s Diamond Hard Garage Floor paint had done exactly what it said on the tin – Ronseal Promise, if you do exactly what it says on the tin, this product will do exactly what it says on the tin.

I hadn’t. It didn’t. Now there’s a brand you can trust!