I know you are waiting at the edge of your chairs to find out the conclusion to my Home Depot/patio furniture story. Would you be surprised if I told you that there is no ending yet? When we last left, our consumer had six patio chairs and a table assembled with a giant hole in the middle where the glass was supposed to be in tact and holding up wonderful margarita glasses and a bowl of chips and salsa. Or something. Instead, the consumer had received an apology, a $50 gift card, and another apology with the offer of something else. Well, in between the apology and the offer of something else, I got an email that my replacement glass shipped ahead of schedule and would be delivered in a few days. Fabulous! Until it arrived and was also shattered in a million pieces. I couldn't believe the way this was packaged. Anyone who has ever moved down the street or across the country knows you pack glass in more than one layer of bubble wrap!
I was getting pretty livid at this point and composed myself for another chat with Home Depot. I received another apology and told them that I would like to return the furniture. They said this wouldn't be a problem. As long as I had the box, everything could be picked up. When I told them the box was now a makeshift pirate ship, they told me I could return everything to my local store. I told them that was impossible and that I wasn't going to make 4 or 5 trips on my own time because of something they couldn't get right. They said that they could arrange for someone could pick it up, but they would need to get back in touch with me about that. Fine. When they asked if there was anything else they could do for me, I asked to whom I could talk to about the frustrating experience I had since the end of June. I was transferred to someone who could help me, told them my story, got transferred again because they sent me to the wrong person, told my story again, got transferred for the same reason, until I finally told my story to a corporate person that handled online purchases. I spent 54 minutes of my time getting to the right person and just when I got to her, the kids woke up from their naps. Of course. I had to be quick, but she was very nice and offered me another $50 for my troubles and asked if there was anything else she could do. Since the kids were up, I couldn't think about ordering anything else at that time (and I wasn't sure that I wanted to!).
We let a few days pass and shopped around and couldn't find anything that was a reasonable price. I am unwilling to spend thousands of dollars on patio furniture. I just can't do it. So we decided to push the offer with HD about price matching another set with them. B called up because I was tired of dealing with them, but he called after hours and was told that there were no supervisors there. Lo and behold, we actually got a call back during regular hours from a supervisor who asked how she could help us. We picked two sets that we hoped could be price matched or discounted (one was a stretch so we decided we would take a discount if they offered it). She said she had to put it through to her supervisor. He actually called me back yesterday and was willing to price match the nicer set for us. People, we are getting a steal. And it doesn't have glass, so it can't shatter. I'm not saying it's perfect because until it is assembled and we are sitting out in our yard with drinks in hand, one never knows what could happen.
I guess the moral of the story here is that you should always calmly try to reach a solution when you have spent money and you are not satisfied with the product or service you have received. I can't tell you how many times I have just said, "Oh, okay" to someone when something is not right and have just let it be, but I have felt worse in the end because I felt like I was taken advantage of. In the end, I think we are getting way more than we thought we would, but that never would have happened if we had screamed and ranted. It also helped that I didn't back down when all they gave me was an apology. By simply saying, "I appreciate the apology, but it doesn't fix the problem," I felt that HD had to use actions instead of empty words. I will still do my best to not shop the large conglomerate mess if I have a choice, but at least I didn't feel like I got swallowed up in the large conglomerate in the end.
Oh, and the last three digits of my first order number were 666. When the corporate guy heard that, he freaked and immediately issued me a new number. Bizarre, but hopefully everything will be great now that that is fixed!