While we were in St. Louis waiting for the movers to arrive (Moving Out of San Antonio), we went to the nearest Lowe’s Home Improvement Hardware Store to pick up a few necessary items. While shopping, Linda found the perfect washer and dryer on sale. So we bought the washer and dryer with pedestals for each and arranged for delivery two weeks later on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The Lowe’s appliance salesman said they only had one pedestal in stock but he would order another pedestal for delivery with the other items. Linda was skeptical but I pushed her to trust the salesman who was quite sincere.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as promised, Lowe’s called to tell us approximately when they would arrive to deliver and install our washer and dryer. Steve and James arrived in a big Lowe’s truck just after 2:00 PM and within the promised delivery window. As they unloaded our appliances, Steve mentioned that they only had one pedestal. Linda was not amused. She pointed out to them that we paid for two pedestals and they were to have brought two pedestals with them. Steve and James explained that they weren’t the ones who loaded the truck implying that it wasn’t their fault that they showed up short.
Linda was openly considering telling them to take the pedestal they had back and issue a credit for both pedestals. She also openly considered having them take the whole delivery back and give us a total credit. Needless to say, James and Steve were concerned.
James called the store. No problem he said. The store has four pedestals in stock. They will bring the missing pedestal Friday morning as their first delivery. Linda wasn’t convinced. I pushed her to accept the offer. I reasoned that our worst case would be driving to a Lowe’s to pick the pedestal up.
Steve and James wanted to install the dryer on our one and only pedestal. Luckily, Linda pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to lift a washing machine onto a pedestal by myself. I had a much better chance of getting the much lighter dryer on a pedestal.
We instructed Steve and James to put the washing machine on the pedestal. Steve had me sign for the delivery. Before signing, I wrote that we didn’t not receive one of the pedestals and that Steve and James promised delivery on the first truck on Friday on the delivery acknowledgement form.
Friday morning, when we didn’t hear from Lowe’s by 8:30, I decided to drive up to the Lowe’s where we bought the washer and dryer. At customer service, I started to explain my problem but the woman immediately cut me off. She said I needed to talk to Peter who was responsible for loading the delivery trucks. The Customer Service representative stepped back to avoid having to solve a customer problem.
Then the Customer Service representative made several attempts to get Peter to come up to Customer Service. Finally, she got Peter on the phone and handed me the telephone handset. I told him my name and explained my problem. He didn’t apologize for the delivery error. What he said was, the delivery didn’t happen today because the driver/installer guys didn’t bother to tell anyone about the missing pedestal. It wasn’t Peter’s fault that the pedestal didn’t show up.
Peter wanted to know what the SKU number for the missing pedestal was. I read the SKU number to him over the telephone. He looked it up on his inventory. He told me he had one left in stock and that he would bring it up to the pickup area in the front of the store.
Ten minutes later, Peter showed up with the pedestal. Without being asked to sign anything or show my receipt, I accepted the pedestal and loaded it into the car and drove off. I’ll install the pedestal under the dryer when I’m back in St. Louis in March.
There is something wrong with a company where employees are more interested in shifting the blame for service failures than in fixing customer problems. I’m not interested in working with people who constantly try to fix the blame (somewhere else). Blame is never broken. Blame never needs to be fixed. I am interested in people who fix problems.
Fifteen years ago, I vowed to never buy an appliance from Lowe’s again after a store manager lied to my face about a mispriced appliance. After pointing out that I had taken pictures of the appliance that included the price, he became more reasonable. We bought the appliance with a service agreement. That appliance needed servicing within a year. We called Lowe’s. The soonest they would send someone out to diagnose the problem was six weeks. Within a week, after purchasing a Sears service contract, we had our appliance back up and running.
The hard lesson here is sometimes it isn’t just about price. It is about hiring someone to solve a problem. I need to be more careful about who I’m hiring.
Lowe’s has moved down my list to the bottom again. I sincerely hope Sears can pull themselves out of their current financial problems. Until recently, they had the best appliances and the best post sales support of any appliance retailer out there.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!