Well, we’ve had quite the odyssey at our house during the past few days. I debated blogging about it, but I think sometimes we need to get things off our chest. Today is one of those days.
Since I’m a writer, you might guess I adore words. Big words. Little words. Descriptive words. Words that encourage. Words that move. Words that folks need to say more.
That’s what this post is about–two small words we don’t hear often enough. Why I don’t really know.
Pull up a chair and have a seat. I’ll explain.
Here– *passing a cup of hot chocolate over your way* Taste good? =)
We suspected we needed a new refrigerator for a while now. We custom-built our home fourteen years ago and our fridge was new then, but not anymore. Despite the putt-putt-putt noise, we’ve nursed it along. Yes, we’re from the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it generation. Or… at least the maintain what you have generation rather than subscribe to the must have the latest and greatest everything philosophy.
There comes a time, though, when certain factors trump our preference.
Things you must weigh like:
- How much will it cost to fix it?
- Will the cost to repair really be worth it?
- On a 14-year-old appliance, product, etc., what’s the likelihood of really extending the mileage?
(Although… my first washer/dryer set–thanks, Maytag–lasted eighteen+ years! May they RIP.)
Well, Old Faithful’s been a good friend. We hated to retire her, but better that than lose a week’s supply of food.
We finally bit the bullet last Sunday when we awoke to a new noise. A loud noise. Think machine-gun loud.
Yep. We knew what must be done. After church we grabbed a bite to eat and visited our favorite (well, it used to be) home improvement store.
We don’t like shopping on Sunday and rarely do it. We selected a new refrigerator–after much perusing and pricing–and decided on a lovely side-by-side with a few of the bells and whistles I’d always wanted.
The salesman was courteous and helpful. He asked if we’d like morning or afternoon delivery. We chose afternoon so my husband could be home. (There was some furniture that needed to be moved before the delivery folks arrived. And no–for various reasons we couldn’t move it prior to them coming.)
And we requested the deliverers call first ( we reiterated this) to make certain hubby would be home. The nice, polite (and happy-to-make-a-sale) salesman assured us that was no problem.
Well, the next morning came.
Want to guess what happened?
At 7:30 the phone rang. It was one of the deliverers. He was going to be out in our area later this morning. Could he go ahead and deliver our fridge then?
Of course, that wouldn’t work for us and I told him why. He agreed to come around the time frame promised. He’d phone first.
In a nutshell (and for the sake of length) I’ll summarize:
- Deliverers arrive. Delivery man #1 is clip. Delivery man #2 is silent.
- Hubby still at work. (If called–as promised–beforehand, my husband would have been home.)
- Lots more I could add, but bottom line–they agreed to return the next day.)
Day 2–of what, at this point–I’ll refer to as my Refrigerator Odyssey.
- Hubby schedules a day of vacation. (Added to 1/2 day that he’d taken the day before to accommodate the deliverers. Who left. Before he arrived home.)
- Hubby coördinates a new delivery time with the delivery folks. They do call prior to coming this time.
- Deliverers arrive with fridge. Yay!!!
- As we’ve had for the past week, we had a wind advisory yesterday. Not just a little, ol’ southerly breeze. We’re talking 50 mph wind gusts. (You’ll see where this is headed in a moment.)
The next hour into my Refrigerator Odyssey. (I now call it… the calm before the storm.)
- Delivery man #1 and delivery man #2 prepare to move my old refrigerator into the garage. Because–wouldn’t you know–Old Faithful, at this point, is purring like a kitten. I decide to keep it for sodas, waters, taters, etc.–things that won’t spoil–until it totally conks out.
- The men wrap big, purplish blue belts around Old Faithful’s belly and heft her onto the dolly. (Did I mention–all of my food is loaded into boxes by then in the garage to keep it cool. Thankfully–the temperature is a brisk 40 degrees or so in the garage).
- Hubby steps out in the garage to assess the perfect spot for Old Faithful. Meanwhile, I head toward the bedroom to check on Miranda–our new furry addition. She’s migrated to one of our closets where she prefers to stay safely hidden. She’s still a wee bit skittish of strangers. Sorry–I digress.
- Suddenly, I hear the muted voice of my husband. “I can’t believe this happened.” Hmmm. My stomach nose dives.
The next fifteen minutes into my Refrigerator Odyssey…
- I amble (not really–I run) to the front door. Step outside. Where delivery man #1 and delivery man #2 stare–let’s see, I’m trying to search for the just the right verb or adjective here–awkwardly (?) okay, guess an adverb will do.
- What I see leaves me speechless. There–on the ground, on the gentle sloping incline past our driveway– lies… (remember those 50 mph wind gusts?) my brand new, big, beautiful bell-and-whistle Whirlpool refrigerator face down? Face down!!! While they were inside the house, the deliverers had left my newborn fridge unattended and OFF the truck, untethered to a dolly and unsheltered from the wind. *gulp*
- My first reaction? Complete shock.
- Delivery man #2: Total silence.
- Delivery man #1: “Hmmm. I’ve never seen anything like that.” Those were his first words. I. Kid. You. Not. (At that point, you might be thinking… no “I’m sorry?” I know! Me, too!)
- Then, delivery man #1 followed his summation with: “Well–do you still want the refrigerator?” Sooo. Not. Kidding. My husband and I couldn’t believe it. And again… no “I’m sorry.”
Keep in mind, my used-to-be-brand-spanking-new fridge now has dents and scrapes on the front doors. And that’s just what’s visible.
Last leg of the Odyssey. Please have another sip of hot chocolate and bear with me…
- We ask the men to load up the used-to-be-new fridge and take it back to the store.
- We contact the department manager. Would we like 10% off the purchase price? Not a new fridge, just 10% price adjustment. A new replacement is never mentioned, until we request it. And then, they can’t deliver it for about five or so more days. Meanwhile… yes. My food is still in the garage sitting in boxes. (Thank heaven for this arctic blast!)
- We ask to speak to the store manager. A polite, but noncommittal fellow who offers no further suggestions.
- We then trek into town and ask for our money back. The manager nods. “It sure is unfortunate.” Still no “I’m sorry.” (I know. It makes me sad, too. That’s not how my mama and daddy raised me either. And certainly, not the expected reply in my neck of the woods.)
- My husband and I then visit a smaller, family owned and operated furniture and appliance store. Courteous. Friendly. Sympathetic. Helpful.
In two hours, I had a new (this time, for real!) refrigerator.
What took the big box home improvement store to deliver in five days, took the family owned and operated store two hours!
Some final thoughts…
We’re Christian folks. Honest. Hard-working. Ethical. People-loving folks. At no time were we ugly. It’s just not our way.
We stated our dissatisfaction. Calmly. Reasonably. Hopefully.
Perhaps, we hoped for too much.
Somehow, It’s unfortunate just didn’t have the same ring as those two simple words we longed to hear.
Yes. Those two words can turn the tide. They still matter.
We still (probably) would have shopped elsewhere, but the experience wouldn’t have tasted so sour.
Accountability, integrity, and a little ol’ fashioned empathy that’s what I hoped for.
In a perfect world I guess. *sigh*
When I shared our Refrigerator Odyssey with darling daughter last night, she giggled. (But just a little.)
“Ohhh. That poor fridge! I can just picture it lying on the ground, Mama. What did you do? Did you yell?”
I smiled and rolled my eyes. “Since when do I ever yell at anyone?”
DD laughed then and spun me around the kitchen. “Break free, Mama!”
Okay. Then I did.
I used my inside voice.
And I screeeamed! (But in a Christian kinda way, of course.)
I felt better.
And the thing is… I have other appliances I’ll soon need to replace.
Any guesses where I’ll take my business?
Have a great weekend everyone! =)
Have you ever had something that didn’t go as planned?
You won’t believe what happened! I couldn’t either. Check out my Refrigerator Odyssey here: (Click to Tweet)
Just a day in the life of a writer. Who says it’s boring? (Click to Tweet)
My experience at a home improvement store and why these two words would have mattered: (Click to Tweet)