It was on a whim. Buying a refrigerator on a whim is never a good thing.
We went to a “big box” store to buy tile for our bathroom. We entered and found the signage helpful. From several aisles away we could see that aisle 7 was the place to go to find tile. We went, we saw, we decided. But we could find anyone to help us. We did find someone in an apron, but he was from gardening and didn’t have any knowledge of tile. He called for help. Help never came.
Finally, in a fit of independence, I went for a cart. It would be self service. If I can’t reach it, I could steady my smallish wife, standing in the shopping cart, while she nudges it to the edge of the shelf. Tile and bullnose edging is conquered and in the cart.
No problem finding checkers, they are everywhere!
Our contractor says we didn’t buy enough tile. In a panic, a quick search of the internet for the other “big box” stores nearby. All post that they can order it, but that there is none at hand. I think that perhaps someone has an open box, selling the tile we need one at a time. The internet is silent on this.
We determine to visit the store again, and we find an open box and purchase five individual tiles. Success… until we get to the checkout. The clerk insists that the bill is well over $200 dollars. She believes that each tile has the same inventory number as a box of twenty tiles. It takes a longtime to show the error of her calculation. Maybe the store isn’t even self-serve.
We need to search someplace else for vanities. We try a competing “big box” store. I know where one is, and we drive in intense traffic to get there. I was wrong, it is across town, and probably another 40 minutes of traffic. We end up at the nightmare of the same “big box” store. Drawn like moths to a flame. We calm ourselves, and resolve that we will just look, decide on what we like, then buy somewhere else.
The same helpful signs direct us to bathroom vanities. Then it is only a few more aisles, and we are looking at kitchen cabinets. I don’t know why, we are fine in the kitchen.
Another aisle and we are surrounded by appliances, in particular, refrigerators. Our refrigerator works but several of the drawers have issues, we could see what a replacement might offer, then buy somewhere else. We have always bought our appliances from another local appliance store.
We found a reasonable refrigerator for $1500. There was an appliance salesperson right there. He was charming, he shared his personal story. He was a veteran. For all these reasons and more, we bought the refrigerator. That was Nov. 12th. It is now Dec. 11th, and we still have not seen our refrigerator.
According the the paperwork we were given, the refrigerator was to be shipped to our home on Nov. 24th. Twelve days seemed like a long time, very close to Thanksgiving, and slightly inconvenient, but it is what it is. According to the policy, they will call on the day to arrange to deliver the new, and pickup the old. It will be nice to have a brand new refrigerator for the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Nov. 24th comes and goes, no refrigerator. We call the phone number for troubleshooting. The person contacts the delivery people, they say that they called, but no one answers. They did send us e-mail a few days before they were supposed to come, but no email that they couldn’t find us. Then the truck driver says that they came to the door, and no one answered. Okay, now that was a lie. We were home waiting all day. We were told by email that they were coming.
I explained this to the person, and I might have used an unfriendly tone. I did not swear, but I did take umbrage to the statement that I wasn’t home. I think I told them that I had ordered a $3.50 vacuum cleaner belt from Amazon, they delivered two days later and took a photo proving that they were there. The person on the phone said they had a photo, but it was dark and they couldn’t tell if it was a house or just a bunch of trees. They didn’t share the photo with me.
I suggested that perhaps they should refund my purchase price. They said they can’t do that, I would have to come into the store where there was a register. I said that they must certainly have a way to handle this, and asked for a supervisor. She said she was the supervisor. I asked for the supervisor’s supervisor. She said it doesn’t matter, policy is policy and I would have to come in to a store to get my refund. I said if the vice-president of your “big box” store needed a refund I bet he wouldn’t have to come in, she assured me that he would. I threatened to cancel my credit purchase if they couldn’t delivery the refrigerator by Saturday. She asked if I would like a Saturday delivery? Yes, I would like the refrigerator that I bought. She then hung up.
Apparently she wrote a long electronic note that used some unfortunate language, not necessarily towards me, but towards the whole mix-up. I know this because I had to call again when the Saturday delivery failed to show up, II and I had to call the hotline once more.
The next agent I talked to was Justin. Justin was amazed about what the notes related. It took a few minutes to read them all. Justin mentioned that there was a $430 refund coming my way, and that he could arrange to have the refrigerator delivered on Dec. 10th. I thanked him for his diligence, and asked to speak to his supervisor. I was passed to Jason and I told him how wonderful Justin was, and how he tried to resolve my problems.
I was surprised about the $430 refund so I asked if that was a discount for Black Friday. Jason told me that Justin had set that up because I was inconvenienced. That was another surprise, Justin took no credit for that. Suddenly I was rooting for the “big box” store to succeed. All I had to do was to wait for Friday, Dec. 10.
On late Thursday I had not heard anything about specific times. I had another e-mail affirming the Dec. 10th delivery but not the time. I called the hotline once more. An agent took my call, read the notes, then called the warehouse. She said the refrigerator was lost, not only that, but in her experience, a refrigerator lost for this long was most likely scratched or dented by the time it was found. So she offered a total refund, and I need not come in to the store.
An earring can slip into a crack, or drop into a random box. A hair dryer can get reshelved in a strange place. But a six foot tall, three foot wide refrigerator can’t sprout legs and run away. I wanted my refrigerator.
I found out the I didn’t use my credit card, I had used my debt card. They took my money immediately, but I didn’t get my refrigerator. They had kidnapped it, they. We’re holding it hostage somewhere. At two different times it was on the truck, then it went back to the warehouse, shoved into some dark corner. A warehouse supervisor physically walked in a “dock search” looking for my wandering refrigerator. She was supposed to call me when she found it. She never called.
Another agent by the name of “Princess”, gave me another $150 refund. It will come to me by mail, 4 weeks from now. I still haven’t seen the first refund.
Princess tells me that the “notes” have been edited, or modified, but it still reads like a novel. I just want my refrigerator.
I have a vision of a 25 cubic ft. appliance, hitch-hiking east on Interstate 80, looking for America. I hope it turns around and finds my kitchen by Christmas.