Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Service, please wait.


We read that services are what the new economy
to a great degree is supposed to consist of.
As people in the developed world apparently have more and more
free time to spend.

I don't know.

Trying to get serviced is a full time job.
Maybe that's what they mean?

It's now almost 3.30 in the afternoon, and I'm
not yet finished with getting today's services
materialize.

I'm in the middle of trying to get hold of American Express
and Bank of America to try and figure out why they charge me twice
for two identical services.

My taking care of getting service day started just after the kids went to school 8 A.M this morning.
I first went online to check where I could find a hinge to a kitchen cabinet.
I needed to replace it as it had collapsed and was irreparable.
Worn out, simply.

After a not too gruesome wait I did indeed get hold of a human being
who informed me the product in question was discontinued.
After further inquiry I was confident they did indeed have a new part, almost identical,
but improved part, that would fit perfectly.
I was after further prodding told both Lowe's and Home Depot would carry it.

Armed with a fresh product number I first went to Lowe's.
Nope. They didn't have it. Neither did they have anything else that would fit.
No pirate parts in other words.
They did indeed carry the brand, but not really.
They use some parts in their own products, which meant they couldn't really help.
Or at least it seemed extremely difficult.

So I decided to try Home Depot, which is actually closer to where I live.
I had decided to try Lowe's first as I always go to Home Depot and they never seem
to have what I need and have no people to help.

Not at all like the commercials.
The only thing the commercials have in common with the real Home Depot
close to where I live is the orange apron.

The same apron that could have been worn by the woman in the trunk in yesterday's entry.

Well, the hardware department didn't have what I was looking for,
but advised me that the kitchen cabinet department might have it. Which makes sense.

At the kitchen cabinet department one lady was serving a person who was there with her contractor
ordering a complete and complex kitchen.
Despite several empty computer screens on several empty desks with decidedly empty chairs in front of them,
no other client service person appeared.

While waiting I checked a display where they indeed had the brand I was looking for.
But no luck as far as this particular part went, so i had to wait.

50 minutes later, it was finally my turn. The service person, if it indeed was a person,
halfheartedly poked at the keyboard of her computer and then informed me i had to go to the hardware department.

Where I'd already been, I told her. Well, she said, you have to talk to their information desk, not one of the people in the ails.
So i wandered through the vast hangar that is Home Depot and found what looked like a service counter.
The person, or what it might be, behind the counter informs me she doesn't work for Home Depot.

- So whom do you work for?

- I'm representing a brand of keys!

- Okay, so where's the hardware service person? As you're behind the desk that says hardware service desk.

- Oh, there's none, that's why I am here.

- But you can't help me with hardware inquiries?

- No, that's not my job!

To which I turn around trying to find somebody else in an orange apron.
Across the hall is a counter that says professional contractors services.
At least the people there are nice and friendly, but apparently they
can't access the system that i need access to in order to order the spare part that I need,
so they tell me hardware or kitchen cabinets should be able to help.
I explain that i've been there. Sigh.
I'm then told there's another special services counter at the other end of the hangar.
So I try that.

There they inform me that it's at hardware. I say no, it's not hardware.
Okay, so it's kitchen cabinet. Nope, it's not kitchen cabinets I say.

I ask for manager. I do indeed get to talk to a manager.
Surprise, surprise, i was starting to think the place didn't have any management at all
judging by how it operates.

This manager person actually tries to find the product on one of the computers,
but has to inform me that only kitchen cabinets can get to it as they need
a SKU number or something which he doesn't have.

So. I ask him to escort me back to Kitchen cabinets and explains the situation.
They say they don't have the SKU number.

But for heaven's sake get it ten, I demand.
Oh, you'd have to call customer service for that, is the reply.

ME, calling customer service for that. I am in the store, trying to get a part,
by a brand they do indeed carry.

So i wonder how the heck they communicate with the company in question when ordering stuff.
The person in kitchen cabinets, who is still the only person there, doesn't know.
Of course. What a silly question.

So I ask her to call customer service for the company that makes the hinges
and get the SKU or whatever the number is called she needs.
She claim she doesn't know the number to them.

so I give up, go home and calls the hinge making company again.
I get the same reply. I need to go to Home Depot and order it from there.
And no, I can't get the SKU number,
that's a Home Depot special order number which they should have.

So I go back to Home Depot, go to the queen of kitchen Cabinets,
and tell her to call the 800 number I have written on a big piece of paper.

- Call and ask for the frigging SKU or whatever it is called number.

Which she reluctantly does. I guess she fears I will shoot her something otherwise.
At such a vast store so lacking in service personnel, and customers,
there are no witnesses available.

- Is there anybody in here? As Pink Floyd might have asked.

After a relatively short wait she gets through and gets her number,
and the product number is indeed correct and the bloody part costs $6.15.
It will arrive in 2 weeks approximately, but i will have to call and check
because they don't call. As if.

The name of all these desks i went through, including the 800 number,
are called headlined customer service.

Customer waste-of-time desks would be better. Or Customer piss-off desks.
Customer heart-attack provocation desk, or simply No Service Desk.

I also suspect the person at the kitchen cabinets was actually illiterate,
which could be the reason for her inability to help me.
She keyed in the price $ 6,015.00 instead of $6.15.

Or is that company policy, a way to increase the dwindling share price?

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