I delivered the cot today and put it up in the new baby's nursery. It all looks good and the substitute screws fit just fine, so all good there.
My friends recognised the original screw type though. They're both technical people and they told me it was a grub screw, something I'd never heard of. I've now found various vendors on the web for a similar type of screw to the headless original. But this begs the question - why did M&P's customer service agent suggest that these would be difficult to find? It looks like they're standard fittings after all. With a little more information on the parts database they could have advised me better and my frustration could have been disappointed. Maybe that's something I will discuss with Fiona on Monday.
Been thinking about this. I have to question why I was advised by M&P's CSA that these were bespoke parts that would be hard to replace elsewhere? It's either one of two things I reckon. It could be a lack of training and the CSA is as clueless as I am about the types and names of screws and fittings and their systems are not set out to help them because it's not occurred to M&Ps that this might be a good thing to do. Alternatively, it could be that M&Ps have made a conscious decision to ask their CSAs to push their parts packs because they make a bit of money out of it. Either way I think they need to do something about it.