I Just Want to Eat At a Table

Brace yourselves: I’m going to talk about something other than Carson. Oh, I’m sure he’ll come up somewhere in here, but I feel the need to vent tonight.

When Ryan and I found out we were moving here, we decided to do something long overdue. We got rid of all our college furniture. Finally we would have living room furniture that wasn’t hand-me-down or a sofa that had seen one too many roommates passed out. Not to mention I would finally get my dining room table that I had been not so patiently waiting on. For those of you who don’t know Ryan and I very well, the search for furniture we both like has been a long and arduous one. We both like similar styles, but when it comes right down to it, we have trouble agreeing on what should find a place in our house. In fact, we’ve been searching for the perfect coffee tables for several months.

The first weekend we had free, we headed to the nearest Ashley’s Furniture HomeStore. Ashley’s was the one store where we had found a dining room table we both liked, and we figured we could find the rest of the furniture we needed as well. Or at least we hoped.

After over an hour of sitting on sofas, wandering through furniture mazes, coddling a fussy Carson, and a few mild arguments, we finally settled on a desk, 5 piece dining set, sofa, chair, and ottoman. The coffee tables would have to wait. We financed the majority of it in-store, with the exception of a down payment. Since the store does not carry any furniture in stock (they’re just a showroom), we were told we would get our furniture in 2-4 weeks. We didn’t want to wait, but we figured we could be at least a little patient. And, once we got home, we found coffee tables on their website that we both liked. We called a couple of days later and added those to our order. Then we waited.

After 2 weeks, I called to check on our furniture. I figured it was one of those situations where they over-estimate the time so you don’t expect miracles, but no, we’d have to wait a little longer. They did say it wouldn’t be much longer. But, at 4 weeks, I started getting really impatient. And when I called at the 5 week mark and I got the ol’ runaround, I started getting peeved. Whoever answered at the store would tell me the furniture was in and advise me to call the warehouse. Whoever answered at the warehouse would tell me this was incorrect, but that it should be in next week. The sixth week I was out of town. This week marked the seventh week, and I hadn’t heard anything, so I called the store again. It went a little something like this…

Me: “I’m calling to check the status of my furniture.”

Sales associate: “Yeah, I’m showing all of it has made it to the warehouse. I don’t know why they haven’t called to set up a delivery. You need to give them a call.”

Me (calling the warehouse): “Hi, I need to schedule a delivery.”

Warehouse person: “Uhm, I don’t know why they told you it was all here. We’re still waiting on a few pieces. Let me call the store for you. (Put on hold) Well, they’re not answering their phone. I’ll keep trying them, and I’ll have them call you.”

But no one called. And this was typical of that store. Of all the times someone said they’d call me back, they never did. Not a single time. So, I called them. And a certain Ms. Lindsey said she would give the warehouse a call first thing in the morning since it was closed by this point, and she would call me right away. This was yesterday afternoon. At noon today I called. And Ms. Lindsey answered the phone (instant Smith temper flare-up, but I bit my tongue). I didn’t even acknowledge her greeting. I just asked to speak to her manager. She promptly responded he was out to lunch but that he would return inside of 30 minutes. I left my name and number. She promised she’d have him call me back.

At 2 o’clock, I called back. And this time I got the general manager, and I let him have it. I was respectful, but I let him know, in no uncertain terms, that I was not happy with the customer service or the 7 weeks I spent waiting on furniture. He told me it was the first he’d heard of it. Oh really? He told me he would get to the bottom of the situation and give me a call back. I wasn’t going to hold my breath.

In the meantime, I called the next closest store in Bowling Green, KY and started working a deal. I let the sales person know upfront what I had encountered, gave the list of furniture I’d purchased, and let her go to work. When she called me back (already a good sign) with a total less than what I’d paid and a guarantee that the furniture would be in within 2 weeks, I was armed. I called the Madison store manager and told him I wanted to cancel my order. He said he’d have to contact his regional manager and get back to me. This time he called me back in less than half an hour. He said although they couldn’t let me cancel without incurring a 30% cancellation fee, he could offer split shipments so I could at least get some of my furniture now. Well. Wasn’t that sweet of him. I asked him why in the world I should keep my order with them when the store in Bowling Green had the items in stock and were offering it cheaper? He hemmed and hawed, saying of course they would offer it cheaper. They were trying to get my business. I told him I would be willing to take the issue to court, and he started to tell me good luck with that, but stopped mid-sentence. He said, “I tell you what (oh this should be good), I’ll knock $200 off the total cost when you take final delivery and still do the split delivery for free.” The Smith side of me wanted to tell him to keep his furniture just for spite, but dangit, I’m tired of eating dinner in an armchair. I agreed to his offer. But all this has led me to wonder, what has happened to good old fashioned customer service?

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