10 July 2006

Did I say rag rolling?

We tried it, and we didn't like the way it looked. So we sponged instead. It's a lot of work but it looks soooo much better!

We also didn't finish the bathroom, but we can see the end of the tunnel.

Now, there's a story about the floor. It's bad. The first time I came into the house I said "No, not this house. The floor is a mess, and I hate the wallpaper in the bathroom." But Mom can see past these things and realized that the house, itself was ok, and we could do these little cosmetic projects like painting walls, planting some flowers, and installing a new floor. So the old improperly installed laminate was slated to go away. We visited the flooring folks at Home Depot and Lowe's. At Lowe's, the flooring guy was too busy chatting with a fellow employee and their flooring samples were inadequate for our needs. At Home Depot, the flooring guy knew the difference between different laminates, explained why this one is $x per square foot and that one is $X+Y, and basically sold me on his ability to do Customer Service.

Stupid me.

This occurred some six weeks ago, in the last week of May, when I closed on the house and the flooring that we thought we might be able to simply 'repair' was clearly irreparable. Home Depot sent a guy right out, measured, gave me an estimate near what I expected (slightly more than the discount the home-seller gave us for repairing the icky floor), and I said 'do it.' A day later, they called to say the floor had to be back-ordered so it might be 4-6 weeks. Would that be ok?

A smart person would have seen the writing on the wall... But no. I said no worries, and started counting the weeks. At four weeks, June 26, I called and they said the estimated delivery date was July 3. Woohoo! I was excited to get the now really messed up floor outta here. But no. I called on July 3, and mysteriously the estimated delivery date had been moved to July 9. No worries, that would be six weeks...

Called today, July 10, to find out what's up. "Uh," says the Home Depot flooring guy, "the computer says it's supposed to be here yesterday. Since we don't take deliveries on Sundays it should be here any day now."

"Here's the deal, Sparky." I replied. "You guys have been putting me off for two weeks already with your 'should be' nonsense. This time you are going to find out exactly where my floor is and when it's coming to my house, ok?"

"Uh... it's going to take me a while to track it down. I'll call you back."

Unbelievably, he did. "Uh, here's the deal," said Sparky the Floor Guy. "We got six cases of the flooring on Thursday but the other 30-something are missing, so we are going to have to re-order. I think we can have it by Friday."

(Go ahead and do the math: I have been waiting for this special, back-ordered floor for six weeks but now if they order it on Monday, they can get it by Friday...)

"OK, once again, Sparky buddy, I'm not paying for 'thinking' here. What I want to know is, when will the floor be in my house?" [For those not familiar with laminates, the stuff has to sit in your house to acclimate for 3 days before they install it, so it gets all humidified and doesn't buckle when it retains moisture later. Thus, delivery + at least 3 days is when I get a new floor, assuming they can rip out the old crap and install the new in one day.]

"Well, if it comes on Friday, and you know it could get lost again, but if it comes on Friday then we can schedule the delivery, but it would take a special OK to get it delivered on the weekend, and I can't authorize that."

"Well, Sparky, I'm in a feisty mood so how about you put me on the phone with someone who CAN authorize a weekend delivery?"

(Hold music...) "Hi, this is Teresa. Sparky filled me in on some basics about your floor. We're going to re-order it and then it could be here as early as Friday. Then we can schedule a delivery and installation ok?"

"Well, Teresa, here's my problem. I'm guessing that if the floor arrives on Friday you aren't going to be able to turn it around and get it to my house until, what, Monday? or later?"

"Uh, yeah kinda. Well, you know we can't really schedule a delivery until we have the product in."

"I do understand that Teresa, ol' pal. Here's what I want you to know. You knew on Thursday -- that is, three days ago, that you did't get all the flooring in. But it didn't occur to anybody in the store to re-order the missing stuff until I called to ask you where the heck is my floor. So I hope you can understand I'm a bit upset about your level of customer service, first of all for not calling me on Thursday to let me know part of it was in, and second for not immediately ordering it so it could get here sooner. Are you getting this?"

"Um well see, when orders come in, they get checked and then if it's just a partial order it goes in a bin and ..."

"Teresa, hon, you're not hearing me. I don't care how it works. I do care about communication with a customer who has spent $10k in your store in the last month and needs to still do a lot more work on her new 15-year-old house. Does this mean anything to you?"

"Sure. We will call you when the flooring comes in, which is what we would have done when it all came in, anyway."

"OK, you're still not hearing me on the 'when it comes in' thing. See, if it doesn't come in Friday, you had better be on the phone to me, telling me that you are tracking its GPS coordinates, and you know exactly when it will arrive there and, based on that, when you can deliver it to my house. Does this sound reasonable to you?"

"So you want someone to call you on Friday?"


But no, that's not all...

Several hours later, I get another Home Depot call. I think this is the person who took the initial order: "Hi, I just got back into the office after being away for a week and a half, and I see on your file that you wanted someone to call you."

(sigh) I run through the situation, including the two initial calls when I was told two different delivery dates. Then I learn the real kicker of the story:

"Well, we got the flooring in a couple of weeks ago, but it was the wrong color so we had to re-order it."

"I don't suppose it occurred to anybody at that time to call and let me know."

"I don't see anything on the file saying we did that."

"No, I know you didn't. In fact, not only did you not call and tell me it was delayed, but the two bozos that I spoke to on June 26 and July 3 lied about the delivery date."

"Well, we don't usually track this sort of thing. See, we just schedule it when it comes in."

"OK, well, I am glad to have had this experience because it will save me a lot of aggravation in the future. Other home improvement stores may not be any better on this, but they can't be any worse. I can't wait to hear from you on Friday."

1 comment:

Wil said...

You're going to have to get a LOT tougher than that -- they hear those kinds of wishy-washy threats all the time. You need some creative force to apply. Intimate knowledge of where they live, the vehicles they drive, where their kids go for daycare -- things that strike actual FEAR in their hearts. Otherwise, get used to being trod on...