We’ll be there between 8:00 and 5:00…and other frustrations…
Shall I remind you of my hate affair with an appliance store that we will call R Bigg?
Perhaps you remember the washer/dryer fiasco of December when they said they’d be here and didn’t come after I missed a half day of work? Remember? Then they rescheduled for the next evening? So I had Kristin come from Bloomington to sit in the house and wait for them, so I could go to Joe’s basketball game, but they never showed up. Remember? We had to wait another week for an evening delivery time, and for a few days in the holiest season of the year, I went absolutely crazy at the complete delivery incompetence of a big box store? Ah yes…perhaps it is coming back to you now.”We’ll be there tomorrow between 8 and 5.” “We’re calling to say we’re coming but it’s now 7 pm–quite a bit AFTER the 5 p.m. deadline–but we’ll be there by 8.” “It’s 9 and we’re on the way but we can’t find your house.” “We have the washer and dryer but couldn’t get the fridge on the same order. What? You want to cancel the fridge now?” “We’ll be there tomorrow. No we won’t.”
Yes….you remember. I can see it in your eyes. If you DON’T remember me ranting about this at Christmastime, perhaps you have blocked it from your memory. God knows I tried to do the same.
So…we FINALLY bought December’s new fridge last week (it’s July) because I am SICK of not having any ICE. The last time the guy came to fix the ice maker for $90, he said, “You know…this isn’t worth it. You really should replace the fridge.” I explain that we tried to replace it at Christmas with the washer/dryer but they couldn’t deliver them all together, so we bagged it until I could be off work to wait for ANOTHER stinking delivery. He just gazes at me, wondering why I don’t seem to care about having ice enough to stay home from work for a few hours.
And now my story begins. Settle back. I think you’ll laugh.
So, we buy the fridge on Wednesday, July 4 at R Bigg against my better judgment. I hate them. Tom convinces me that this is irrational and that they have the best prices and we should not let a little irritation over a goofed up delivery or two or five get in the way of saving a couple hundred bucks. We buy it and negotiate delivery. They cannot deliver on July 5. They offer to bring it on Friday, July 6. I, craftily remembering the December fiasco, say NO because I know Tom and I are going away for the weekend, and I realize that “between 8 and 5 on Friday” means that they will surely call at 5:00 and say they are actually coming between 6 and 9 causing us to miss our weekend getaway. They offer Saturday and Sunday. Again, I say NO. They won’t fool me. “Sunday afternoon” means they will call Sunday morning before we are home and then claim we were not there and charge me $80 more for a second delivery. I won’t be tricked! Monday works for all of us. I have a few meetings, but I move them to Tuesday and Wednesday and prepare to hunker down and wait for Bigg to arrive on Monday. I KNOW that despite their plan to deliver by noon, that I will have to wait ALL DAY. I am NOT going to be fooled!
At 7:15 AM Monday, I am awakened by the phone ringing. It is them! They are on the way! Hurrah! I am getting my fridge and I am not losing a whole day! God is good. Perhaps I will not hate RR Bigg so much in the future. I am feeling charitable toward them. Tom was right. I should give people another chance! I spring from my bed filled with joy and hurriedly begin emptying the current fridge contents. I fill the family room floor with them. They are dripping with condensation. They are warming up. I wait. I wait longer. They call at 8:00 AM. They are actually leaving now. They are NOW “on the way” despite being “on the way” 45 minutes ago. I put a few things back in the fridge so the milk and cheese and eggs don’t spoil. I put a few more things back–worried now about smelly food on family room rug. I have already replaced ALL the frozen food as it was melting hamburger into the carpet.
They arrive about 8:20. Why it took an hour to arrive I do not ask. I am just blissed out with tears in my eyes at my good fortune. They are HERE! They direct me to remove EVERYTHING from the fridge and they will unwrap the new one in the drive and get it ready. I take everything back out to its original spot on the family room carpet. They ring the doorbell. They look worried. They tell me that the new fridge has “a kind of small dent in it.” Do I want to examine it? I go out onto the driveway and examine the fridge. It looks like someone has kicked the bottom of the right door. They ask, “Do you still want it? We can take off 10%.” I say “UH NO! I paid for a new fridge and this looks like someone kicked it.” They say, “Well, do you want us to install it and you can order a new door?” I say “UH NO.” They say, “So…you want to refuse delivery?” I say I guess I do. They sigh like I am the biggest pain in the neck in the world and roll the kicked-in fridge back up on the truck looking at me like I’m an idiot. When?, I ask, could I get a new one?? They don’t know. “We’re just delivery.” I point out that getting the delivery of my fridge is, in fact, what we are talking about. They say I will have to call my salesman when the store opens at 10. Now their early arrival is actually a problem because it is nearly two hours till 10. Angrily I watch them drive away and put ALL the food back in the OLD fridge. It is starting to look pretty good to me (the fridge, not the food…the food is looking spoiled and smelly). I wait, tapping my fingers on the table. When 10:01 arrives, I pounce on the phone and call R Bigg ready to fillet someone with my sharp tongue.
My salesman, alas, does not work on Mondays.
I demand to speak to the manager. I end up with the operations manager, Alex. Alex checks the computer and tells me that alas they do not have any more of that model of fridge in stock in white at this point. Would I like one in stainless steel? I say “NO. My appliances in the kitchen are all white.” He says, “Well a lot of people really like the stainless steel…” I am amazed but say nothing. He wants to know if I want to come in and pick out a different fridge. I say, “NO! I did THAT last Wednesday when I picked out THIS one.” He then says that for a small fee, they could rush a new one of my white model to me. I say I will not pay one cent for any rushing since this is not my problem. I mention three other appliance companies I can call today to get the fridge I want. He then decides he can check some other options and call me in a few minutes. In TWO hours he calls back. What is it with these people and time? They cannot tell it. He has located a shipment of FOURTEEN of my fridge on its way in to the store arriving Tuesday afternoon. They can load one on the truck Tuesday evening and have it to me on Wednesday bright and early. Will that work? AND…he will refund the $80 delivery fee for my inconvenience and lost day of work. I agree. It is not perfect, but it will have to do. I then call my colleagues and friends and reschedule my Wednesday appointments (already moved from Monday) to Tuesday afternoon so I can be free on Wednesday because they are NOT fooling me. They will not come on Wednesday morning first thing. I do not trust them. They will be late. They are always late. But I am too clever for them. And I CLEAR the deck of appointments on Wednesday so I can spend the WHOLE day waiting…
Tom, of course, is in Minneapolis for all this. He does, however, think it is a little funny and laughs with me over the phone (or at me). I cannot tell.
Tuesday morning, today, I am awakened at 7:00 a.m. by a ringing phone. It is R Bigg. They are on the way with my fridge. The Wednesday fridge. The fridge that isn’t anywhere in stock and is arriving with a shipment of 13 of its brothers and sisters late today. Somehow it is magically on a truck and coming to my house. And I have three meetings and a 7:45 breakfast with a friend planned. I argue that this is not possible. The guy on the phone says, “Uh…um…so…what do you want to do?”
I want my fridge.
I throw myself into the shower and then hop out, and, dripping wet, I begin calling to cancel the first few appointments of the morning. I don’t cancel all of them though because a small part of me does not really believe they will come.
Or that when they do, the fridge will not be on the truck.
Perhaps I can still make my 10:30 appointment.
Minutes later while I am still half-naked, they pull up in the drive. The trip from the warehouse that took them 65 minutes yesterday apparently took only 11 minutes today. Again, do these people somehow bend or repel time?
I greet them looking annoyed. They direct me to take everything out of the fridge while they prepare the new one in the driveway.
Oh no. They will not fool me. I refuse. I will not take ONE milk carton from the old fridge before inspecting the new one. I fully expect it will be stainless steel. I make them take it all off the truck and out of the box and unwrap everything. I can see in their eyes that they think I am crazy. I don’t care. I check it all over. They are still pulling tape and things off it. It seems fine. It is white. It is my fridge.
I fly back into the house and begin emptying the old fridge onto the kitchen floor again. I am cursing a little, I will admit to it. I am beyond irritated that I am sweating through my work clothes and on my hands and knees spilling butter and scrubbing the filthy floor under a fridge that is moved out after 13 years of being in one place. There are things back there I would be embarrassed about if I weren’t so angry at R Bigg. My anger, however, fuels my energy, and I scrub the floor like I am digging to China. It sparkles. I have used about 2 gallons of water on it, and there is a lot more water pooling on the floor in other parts of the kitchen from the frozen food melting. Really, there is now water all over the kitchen dripping everyplace, but I pretend not to see it. We don’t need TWO meltdowns.
They wheel in the new fridge. They cannot WAIT to leave. They have me sign here, initial there. Much as I want to get started on clean up of the watery puddles all over the floor and try to make my 10:30 meeting, I still feel compelled in some dark part of my soul to be a smart consumer. “Wait,” I say, “is this blue tape supposed to be all over it. Oh. No. They yank it off. They start to leave. “Wait!” I say, “should it be sticking out from the wall this much?” Yes, they say. I point out that the wall hole is 28 inches deep and the fridge is 30 inches deep. I grab a yardstick and prove it. There are 6 inches sticking out. The guy runs at the fridge and body slams it further into the fridge hole. “There,” he says. “That’s as far as she goes.” I open the fridge and a shelf falls out. “Is this supposed to go somewhere?” I ask. Yes, the freezer. He grabs it and jams it in there. They start to leave. “Um…are you going to take all this trash with you?” I ask. There is wrapping stuff and tape and cellophane everywhere. Oh. Yeah. They pick it up and start to escape again. “Wait,” I say desperately. “Is there anything I need to know about this computerized front panel? Is it on? Is it cooling? Is it making ice?” The guy hands me a thirty page manual. “It’s all in here,” he says. “Throw away the first three batches of ice and the first two gallons of water from the door. You want to clean your lines.”
Well of course I do. What lines? I watch them go stunned. I pick up the manual. The door display isn’t working. It is locked. After ten minutes of concentrated study of the manual, I read how to unlock it. I see that they had not even turned it on to cool. The manual says that I will need to leave all food out of the fridge for 24 hours while it cools to the correct temperature. I look in dismay at the food all over the family room. I begin to cry. I call for Joe (in a very very mean shrieky voice). He shows up and I am crying and cussing at the milk and throwing Gatorade all over the basement floor as I yank all the pop and beer and Gatorade out of the small basement fridge. Joe points out that he has to be at soccer practice in fifteen minutes. I flash him an absolutely demonic expression and say things to him that I am ashamed to remember now, and he starts emptying the fridge in the basement like he is biologically enhanced. Things fly out of there. He is panicked. I can see from the look on his fact that I have literally lost my mind. I know I look scary.
I run up and down the stairs and up and down the stairs with melty icky food. I throw many things away. Who needs two lambchops? Not me. Hot Pockets. Ick. No. Do we really need three packages of hamburger? Not with only two inches of space left. Out go two of them. At this point, I am thinking I don’t even need the fridge. I’ve thrown out all the cold food.
Joe has to go to soccer. He looks relieved to be getting away. He is saving himself. It’s human instinct, so I don’t blame him. I call work and tell the people I was meeting with that I am not coming in. I mumble something about an RR Bigg emergency. They don’t understand. No one possibly could understand the depths of my hatred for this company at this moment.
I continue to peel stickers off every square inch of shelving in the new fridge. Why in the hell are there stickers all over every shelf? Who does this? What is the point in labeling shelves contained in a box that has been completely shrink-wrapped in plastic at the factory? Where did they think the shelves were going? Then I wash all the shelves. Some part of me thinks this will help me calm down. It doesn’t. The ice maker is not working. I take it out and see several little plastic parts held down with blue tape. I am sure the tape is not supposed to be there but who really knows? I peel it off and hope for the best. I wash the door. Then I see it. There is a small scratch on the top of the door. It isn’t a dent like someone kicked the door…just a small hairline scratch where the white paint is gone. In time I will not know it is there, but right now it is enough to really make me go Tasmanian Devil. I hurl ice across the room and curse my fate. Damn you R BIGG!! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!!!!
At 10:01, I call the store again.
My salesman does not work on Tuesday either.
I ask for Alex again…. When I get him on the phone, I explain that my Wednesday delivery arrived, in fact, TODAY. He seems puzzled but pleased until I explain that this has caused me to miss ANOTHER day of work meetings and that I am not exactly satisfied as a customer. He suggests that I will want to speak with the deliver manager to “resolve my question.” I say nicely that my question is, “Alex, how come you’re an idiot and couldn’t get this right after my whole conversation with you yesterday detailing my entire HISTORY of hatred of R Bigg.” Alex, for some odd reason, has no answer for that question. He says the delivery manager will call me. He is relieved to hang up I am sure. I feel crazy, but I am still mad enough not to care what he is probably saying right now.
The delivery manager calls a few hours later. I let him have it. He says, “Ma’am…ma’am…I’m sorry…I’m sorry…” over and over but I continue to lay into him with a blistering barrage of vocabulary pyrotechnics. In the midst of it, I mention the horrid inconvenience of running up and down the stairs with all the food in my work clothes. He is puzzled. “No ma’am…” he says. “We always have the delivery guys advise you to put all the cold food right into the new fridge immediately as it actually helps it cool down faster.” I scream and throw the phone. I think it hurts his ear. He says he will “bring this all up at tomorrow’s meeting.” He then explains that YESTERDAY’s delivery guy is actually to blame because he wrote on the order from yesterday that I denied “re-deliver on 7/10” so it’s his fault because when the delivery truck returned at 10 p.m. that night, that was when they got the clipboard and they just entered it into the system and–voila!–the truck was loaded with my fridge for delivery today–July 10. I point out that the fridge supposedly did not exist anywhere yesterday to even BE loaded on the truck because it was not coming into their warehouse until late TODAY. He explains very logically to me how they have this system that “hides” how many fridges they actually have in the warehouse from the sales people on the computer so that they won’t rush order things…it sounds completely insane to me and I tell him so. He says uncertainly that they’ve only been using it since June, and there “have been a few glitches.” I want to ask him what caused the glitches the last five times I worked with them over the years, but I refrain. It is the one piece of self-restraint I have shown in hours and I am very proud of my self-control returning. I suggest that the delivery guys are very strong but not too clever (I think I may even use the word “dumb”) and that they should each have a checklist for the appliance they are delivering that has about six points on it to go over with the customer and it should be LEFT with the customer. That way, someone would have noticed before I read the 30 page manual that the fridge electronic panel was “locked” in the “cooling OFF” position where it would NEVER have gotten cold or that the ice maker wasn’t able to make ice because of blue tape left on it or that my food should actually have been put INTO the new fridge right away to speed cooling. He keeps politely insisting they are “very well trained but lazy” and that a checklist like that simply wouldn’t work. He says the salesman is actually supposed to have trained me in how to use the fridge. I say, “Get real.” He laughs. I laugh too. This is getting ridiculous and we’ve now talked to each other long enough that I am ready to invite him to breakfast tomorrow. Then I realize that tomorrow, for breakfast, I will likely be busy taking delivery of yet another fridge…the Wednesday fridge.
And if it comes. I am going to keep it. Without telling anyone.
I hope it comes. I hate them. I want them to suffer and lose money….
So…it is now 4:30. The fridge is cooling. In a few more hours, I will bring up other cold food from downstairs in about fifteen trips and refill it with everything. I don’t really like the new fridge at this point. It feels unfamiliar and weird. None of the shelves are where the old ones were, and I don’t understand that. And it made me so mad that my relationship with it is somewhat tarnished and I am thinking it will take a while to win my affection. What I need is a cold drink, but everything is warm except butter, cheese, milk and Hot Pockets. I ponder whether I could just drink warm wine from a bottle and decide to pass.
Tom gets home at 11 p.m. from Minneapolis. He will probably like the new fridge. Only I will have these dark feelings associated with it. No one will understand.
As God is my witness, if it’s the last thing I do, I will NEVER buy anything from these people again. NEVER.
That’ll teach ’em.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to dump out all the freshly made ice so I can “clear my lines.”
Whatever the heck that means.