I'm a horrible consumer.
I spent quite a few years as a customer service rep for various companies. I was actually a call center monitor for a couple years, and I'd listen in to various calls and critique the "customer service" skills of the representatives. I got to deal with so much venom and hatred that I vowed to myself that I'd never, ever, EVER be one of "that kind" of customer.
I went and bought a refrigerator there on February 4th, because my current one is running nearly constantly and I don't relish the thought of smelling fresh-from-the-cow-warm milk after the compressor dies. So I head down to the local store, pick out the model I want ($450 Frigidaire) and go to the service kiosk where the nice man informs me that he has 0 of these in stock, but will upgrade me to the next higher model ($500) for free. Sweet.
I pay for delivery and haul-away of the old unit, and set up an appointment for the upcoming Saturday. I go home and am a happy little consumer who is going to have ice cream that doesn't melt come Saturday night.
Saturday morning comes, and the delivery guys show up. They come up to my condo (3rd floor... they're going to get a fat tip because I remember how much it sucked moving stuff into the place), tell me to empty my current fridge and move the couch out of the way, then proceed to prepare to deliver my new fridge.
Here endeth the happiness.
The driver runs back upstairs approximately 4 minutes later to tell me we have a problem. I follow him downstairs and manage to interpret that the reasons he will not be giving me my new refrigerator are a) one of the blades on the power plug has been ripped out, and b) there is a huge rip in the gasket of the main door. He's very apologetic, tells me "They'll deliver you a new one on Monday," and leaves. This makes me very sad, but I figure I'll just go ahead and suck it up for karma's sake.
I call Monday morning, after having not heard anything from the delivery warehouse, and am told that they will not, in fact, be delivering my fridge that day. Apparently they cannot schedule any deliveries with less than two days' lead time. Okay, whatever. Come give me my fridge on Saturday. Works better for me anyway.
Except when you don't actually show up.
I called the following Saturday afternoon (Feb 15th) and politely asked where the fuck my refrigerator was. I was then told that they didn't actually have any of that model in stock, but that they were expecting a shipment during the next week. Fine, whatever, reschedule me for next weekend. After hanging up I go down to the store, armed with this little piece of information, and charm free delivery and haul-away out of the CS manager. I get $50 back, which makes me feel vindicated, and then I go home to await next Saturday.
Friday morning I receive a call confirming that my delivery will, in fact, happen Saturday afternoon (Feb 22nd). Friday evening I get a call from a very apologetic gentleman who informs me that sorry, we don't actually have your fridge, and won't for 30 days. Maybe you want to go down to the store and pick out a different unit.
Following that advice was probably my biggest mistake. I'd already been dicked three times by the warehouse, but I trusted that the store, whose friendly reps had already given me free stuff TWICE as recompense for their contracted warehouse's idiocy, would be able to solve my problem.
I continued to believe this until I got to the store and learned that my order had been cancelled without my authorization or any mention of giving me my money back.
The problem with this is that I'd purchased the unit on my debit card. This meant that if they were to refund my money to me, it would be several days before credit appeared on my card. I was in no way, shape, or form going to give them any more money, but unfortunately they couldn't do a simple exchange because "the warehouse cancelled the order and we can't modify it." Oh, that damn warehouse.
Foruntately, the nice rep at the store understood my plight and offered to help me out. Unfortunately, her idea of "help" was to sign me up on a Best Buy credit card so that I could save 10% off the full retail price of the unit. Way to sell!
I declined to take this option, deciding to instead to cool off by look around at the open box items. I figured I could take my chances on one of them, as there were no new units in the same price range with anything close to the same cubic footage. She followed me, and as we were walking around the appliances, she perked up and said "Hey look! This is the same model that you ordered, and it's open box so it's on sale for $50 off! You wouldn't have to pay any extra!"
However, being the desperate, fridgeless bastard that I am, I bite. At this point all I want is my cold, hard ice cream next Saturday. I walk over to the CS counter, start to fill out the paperwork, and have an epiphany as I am being asked to sign my last name. I excuse myself, walk back over to the appliance department, and inspect my soon-to-be-coming-home Frigidaire. Power cord? Check. Main door gasket?
I walk back to the other side of the store and inform the still-chipper sales rep that I will not, in fact, be accepting delivery on the unit I'd already refused two weeks ago. Her face falls like a two-ton heavy thing, and she begins to apologize profusely and berate the warehouse guys for my benefit. Because, you know, they're outsourced and therefore inferior.
We're back to square 0, faced with the small issues of me not having a fridge and her not having a clue. She does, however, get another idea - she decides to check on the status of the first unit I'd looked at - the one from which the original salesdrone had upgraded me. Joy of joys, it's in stock! And once again I won't have to pay any extra because it's the same price as I'd already paid for a superior model!
She then proceeds to give me a store credit for the original purchase and ring me up on the new fridge plus free delivery and haul-away. She gets confused somehow and ends up having the new receipt come out to $.97 more than the old one, but she tells me slyly that "we'll just let that go." Gee, thanks. We set up delivery for the following Saturday (the 1st of March) and I go back to work - having spent about two lunch hours doing stupid things that were not even remotely like eating lunch.
Fast forward to this past Saturday. I'm giddy with anticipation because they're finally going to give me my new toy. It's the saddest thing in the world to watch me from outside my own body, as I'm checking the clock every 4 minutes to see if it's time yet, and peeking out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of the white bobtail truck of joy that will soon be dropping off my new toy. It's a fucking refrigerator, and I'm acting like it's Christmas morning and I already know that Storm Shadow is in one of those packages under the tree, waiting patiently to transport my deficient little mind into virtual ninjahood.
The nice men finally show up, and I let them into the complex. They block six of my neighbors' cars with their truck, come upstairs to inspect my place, and then ask me to move the couch and empty the food out of the old, beige, rattling wheezebox of not-quite-chilliness. I'm whistling a little tune as I happily pull food from the depths of this ineffective beast, when Mr Man comes back upstairs and tells me to stop taking food out, because my stairs are too narrow for the fridge to be brought up.
I'm not a small guy (6'2" 230 lbs), and it's sometimes hard for me to control my scowls. I don't get violent or raise my voice pretty much ever, but it's obvious when I'm perturbed. In this case, I was. I quietly asked him what my options were, and he informed me that they needed 2" of space on either side of the appliance in order to negotiate the turn. He then showed me that the stairwell was 29 1/2" wide at its narrowest point, which is only 1" more than the fridge if you take the doors off.
Fine. Great. What are my options?
So you see, we really can't carry this fridge up at all. We'd need to get more guys and, well, we just can't do that. I'm sorry but all we can do at this point is take the unit back and reschedule you for another date.
Wrong. I have other options... what are they?
Next thing I know I'm on the phone with the warehouse supervisor, who's explaining to me that they can't deliver the fridge because the stairs are too narrow. I explain to him that I understand this, and that I just want to know what my options are. He states "Well, you have two. We can take the unit back to the warehouse and you can pick a smaller model (this unit had the smallest dimensions of the non-dorm-style fridges at the store) or we can release it at the base of the stairs and refund your delivery fee.
I tell him that I had a third option, and that was to refuse delivery and go back to the store to get my money back. I thanked him for his time and handed the phone back to the driver, who was starting to get worried about the fact that he was in a small room on the third floor with a visibly shaking angry man blocking his exit. He asked me with a quavering voice as I handed back the phone "so, you're not mad at me, right?" I let him know exactly what I was mad about (1 month of delays, no one bothered to mention the 4" delivery rule the first time they came out) and thanked him for getting the fuck out of my face right now please. He thanked me (I presume he thought he was about to get hit or something), and ran down the stairs to his truck.
Then I go back to the store, to deal with a third person. Because you see, I'm a moron. I decide that I've put so much time and effort into this exercise, that I'm deserving of something big from Best Buy. A couple hundred bucks in gift certificates at least, plus a guarantee from the district manager that he himself would hump my new fridge up the stairs while the cute little sales rep from episode #2 gave me a hand job.
I explain my plight to the appliances manager, who is very apologetic and goes out of his way to ignore other customers as he tries to help me. We call the warehouse, and I am informed that I should not have been offered free delivery on a unit I'd already had delivered for free, but instead I should've been offered a $150 gift certificate to let them drop it in my parking lot and split. We discuss various solutions, one of which is to downgrade to a slightly less spacious model (with a significant discount, according to the sales manager) and to attempt delivery again on March 10th. If they can't get it up the stairs, they've promised to give me that $150 store credit. But only if I let them leave the fridge in the parking lot.
My dad has a refrigerator dolly, and my brother's dumb enough to try and help me haul this thing up two switchbacks. Maybe it'll work, maybe not. Unfortunately, I won't know for certain until the manager calls me back and lets me know whether he actually placed the order or not, because the computer wouldn't let him modify an order that was tagged as "out for delivery."
I am a broken, beaten man.
All I wanted was cold ice cream.
Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending. The next delivery attempt was, in fact, a success. I received my refrigerator from two very nice men who put a big sling under it and carried it up the stairs. I gave them each $20 because I was so happy - which means the grand total of my savings on this wonderful venture was around $7.95.
I don't care.
I have cold food and my electricity bill has dropped around $15 a month, and that's enough for me.