Monday’s Riddle:

Q:  What goes:  %&*#@ !!!!!!!  Thump!  %&*#@!!!!!!!  Thump.

A:  Emily expressing her feelings about Sears Customer Service, then slamming her head against the wall, then expressing some more, then slamming.  Expressing.   Slamming.  Expressing. Slamming.  Repeat as needed.

Sorry, Sears.  You completely blew it with me this weekend.  But feel free to use the following as a case study for what not to do:

oldmattressBackground:  A mild mannered suburban couple, (let’s call them…Emily and Dave), have been sleeping on the same lousy mattress and box spring for too long.  In recent weeks, Emily has woken each morning as if she spent the night lugging bricks up and down 99 flights of stairs. It takes her a good 15 minutes before she can stand upright.  Needless to say, the whole Quasimodo thing is doing nothing for the state of their marriage.  They decide to buy a new mattress that won’t leave Emily crippled and Dave mortifed at the sight of his hunchback wife.  Time is of the essence.

The Purchase:  There are many options in terms of where to purchase such an important item.  Every weekend there is a different guy standing on the corner of Baltimore Pike and 476 holding a large sign advertising a closeout mattress sale.  Yet, these close-out opportunities leave Dave and Emily skeptical.  They need reliability.  They decide to go to Sears.  Sears is quality.  Sears is the place for large household items and power tools. (Dave promises to stay clear of power tool section when selecting a new mattress.)  After testing all the mattresses, (puhlease, they have been married 16 years, testing involves lying back-to-back and occasionally kicking one another), they select a higher end brand and arrange for the soonest delivery, in one week’s time.

The Problem:  On the day of the delivery, Emily strips the old bed and prepares it for removal.  There is no love lost here.  Emily and Dave then take turns from their busy weekend schedule to wait at the house during the confirmed two hour delivery window which was provided the evening before.  When the two hour window passes, Emily calls Sears Home Delivery and asks where her bed is.  The following conversation ensues:

Sorry, it’s not coming today. We couldn’t get one of the box springs.  We can deliver it tomorrow.

Why didn’t you call to tell me so I didn’t take my bed apart and wait for you for two hours smack in the middle of the day?

I’m sorry ma’am.  We will send you a $50 gift card to compensate for the mistake.

Emily is disappointed because she will have to put the crappy bed back together and spend yet another night in agony, but appreciated the effort by Sears to make it right.  It’s only one more day.

Or so she thought…

When the delivery service does not call that evening to provide the two hour window for the next day, Emily calls again only to be informed:

Sorry, it’s not coming tomorrow.  The manufacturer won’t be shipping us anything until Friday.  It will come on Friday.

The Moment of Misery:  The following thoughts quickly take form in Emily’s head:

  • Sears delivery is unreliable.
  • Sears customer service is not to be trusted.
  • Sears does not care about me, the customer.
  • Sears was a poor choice for this purchase.
  • I will be hunced over for another week.

Emily hears the customer service rep on the other end go into “this person is becoming volatile” mode.  The standard emergency response in this situation is to continually apologize and repeat what has already been said.

Emily:  This is really unacceptable.

Sears:  I’m truly sorry.  The manufacturer will not ship until Friday.

Emily:  If I knew I wasn’t going to get my bed for two weeks, I would not have purchased it at Sears.

Sears:  I’m truly sorry.

Emily:  I really don’t want the $50 gift card.  I want the bed.

Sears:  Yes maam, I’m truly sorry.    The manufacturer will not ship until next week.

Emily:  Do you have a supervisor I can talk to?

Sears: Yes, but he will say the same thing.

At this point, Emily goes into “I am so frustrated I can not hang up this phone until I get some acceptable response” mode upon which the rep gives her a “national customer relations number” to call.  She would be happy to connect Emily and then promptly sends her into perpetual hold.  Emily hangs up and calls the number herself.  They tell her that she has the wrong department and transfers her back to the delivery department where another rep offers her the same $50 gift card they promised her the first time they screwed up.  And by the way, the rep is truly sorry. 

So is Emily.  Emily is truly sorry, Sears, that one of your customers – the one that routinely buys all of her major appliances from you – the one that just was approved for a large Sears credit line so she can buy lots more stuff from you – the one that has always spoken fondly of you – is gone for life. 

Emily is sorry the guy on the corner with the mattress close-out sign was the better choice.

Update:  After my raging blog and tweets, the Sears “escalation team” (a.k.a. the place where they send the really pyscho customers) called me and offered a 15 percent discount on my entire purchase which is about $180.00).  Of course, they said I will get this discount after the mattress arrives.  Anyone want to venture a guess what 15 percent of nothing is?  I’ll choose to remain optimistic.

Any other recent moments of misery out there?  Here’s your chance to vent.  Who was it – and what did they do?
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