Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mr. Clean to the...rescue?

Not that I needed one, but I found a new excuse to not waste time cleaning my house.

In a word: Noah.

This past week I actually did get to the laborious task of cleaning.

Namely, bathrooms.

Big mistake, apparently.

Maybe my problem was the fact that I did it in the company of Noah. Even though I'm thinking at the time it is a good thing for him to watch his mother keep the house tidy, that proved costly.

You see, a few days ago my little 2-1/2 year-old Wonder diligently watched me scrub the toilet clean. Spray the soap, wipe it down, scrub the inside, etc. etc.

Last night I put the children to bed and went downstairs to clean up the kitchen a bit. I heard some noise upstairs and double-checked the situation.

No worries - Caleb was just using the restroom.

So I didn't jump when a few minutes later I heard a bit of noise coming from the bathroom. Sounded like Caleb was probably just getting a drink before heading off to bed.

But then the noise continued, and I heard some odd clanging noise.

So I go take a peek.


Not in bed.

In the bathroom.

"Cleaning" the toilet.

Earlier that day I had filled the soap dispenser in that bathroom with liquid soap. To the top, mind you.

The pump now lays next to a thick streak of soap on the counter. Meanwhile, Noah stands at the toilet bowl, soap bottle in one hand, soggy bits of toilet paper in the other. By this time, there is maybe a half inch of soap still left in the bottle, and the toilet is covered in an oozy mess.

I'm appalled at the clean-up I have ahead of me, so I pull the "cleaning supplies" from his hands, and after a scolding, send him back to bed.

As I'm wiping up the sloppy mess, I stop and realize what he was doing.

It's what he always does in this stage of his development.

He mimics.

He probably thought he was doing ol' mom a favor, after all. Givin' her a helping hand, as it were.

He probably crawled back into bed completely confused.


Poison control centers are always saying to keep those cleaners out of a child's reach. But I don't know...if I left him the correct supplies, maybe I wouldn't have to clean another toilet for awhile.

Just a thought.

Now if I can just get him to pay better attention when I do laundry...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RIP, Customer Service. Because apparently you're dead.

Last I checked, "Fool" wasn't stamped on my forehead. So why someone would think I'm dumb enough to fall for this trick is beyond me.

I'm talking about my local furniture store. They obviously have lost their ability to provide customer service.

Let me back up and bring you up to speed.

Several months ago, I ordered a headboard for my daughter's bed. Apparently the trees needed to be cut down for the lumber and the paint needed a month to cure, because it wasn't scheduled to arrive for 6-8 weeks.

So when it finally arrives, I make my way to the store to pick it up (saving myself $50 on shipping).

I'm told to "go to door #2 at the warehouse." So I motor on over and wander through a door with a big "2" on it, into a dusty old building packed from floor to ceiling with boxes and furniture.

Nobody's there. Hmmm.

I call out, "Hello?"


I wander in a little further, feeling like I'm completely violating the space.

"Hello?" I call a little louder this time.

I'm a little annoyed at this point, but I wait.

Finally, a frizzy-haired gentleman with a dirt-smudged forehead and greasy fingernails appears from seemingly nowhere.

He seems to know exactly what I'm there for though, and pulls out a large box.

I ask him to take it out of the box so I can inspect it (I've had way too many instances of broken or beat up furniture delivered to me to take a chance with not checking it out before I load it into my vehicle).

Much to my dismay, it has several bumps and bruises. The guy gets out his little paint wand and proceeds to attempt some patch-work. I'm not impressed, and I'm feeling a little uncomfortable with accepting this headboard with all the nicks in it. Then I walk around to the side and notice one of the posts is completely a mess. It looks like the wood is beginning to split.

I show him and he admits it is shotty craftsmanship. So I refuse the order and he tells me to head back to the store and have them ship out a new one to me.

My personal sales rep isn't working that day, so I get the first perky furniture salesman to come to the counter. I explain the situation, he assures me, "We'll do whatever it takes to make it right, Mrs. Herr."

Very nice words. I think that is appropriate having waited so long for the headboard to arrive in the first place. But I discover...

They are JUST words.

A few weeks later, I get a call from the warehouse guy.

I found it odd that I wasn't receiving this call from my sales guy, or any sales guy for that matter.

"Your headboard is in and you can come pick it up at Door #2 again."

Wow, that was pretty quick delivery. They told me it would be another 6-8 weeks. But for some crazy reason I thought maybe they rushed it for me in an attempt "to make it right."

I did push the envelope a bit and called my sales rep and asked him if, in their attempt to 'do whatever it takes to make it right,' they would consider delivering the headboard to my home, free of charge.

Answer? Nope.

I was disappointed, but not terribly surprised. Customer service seems to be on its way out in our society.

So yesterday morning I drove down to Door #2 to see my new headboard. Again, not a soul to be found. All I could think was, This place is a piece of cake for a thief! A guy could lift enough stuff to furnish an entire house by the time anyone showed up! I find it ridiculous.

After my attempts again to shout "Hello?" and get no response, I walked into the little office that should be staffed with an employee of some kind and I looked at the phone.

Hmmm. A page button. Let's try it.

So I paged someone to come to Door #2.

I wait.

Still nothing.

Oh, good grief, I could have driven off with a dinette set and six barstools by now.

I decide to use the guy's phone to call the store to see if they can reach someone, but just as I reach for the phone book, a young man appears looking like a deer in headlights.

Feeling a little foolish for being caught with his phone in my hand, I said, "Hi. I was just about to call the store to see if they could get someone here to help me."

I explain why I'm there and he asks me for a sales slip. I have none because, again, it was the warehouse guy that called me to come to Door #2 - not the salesperson, so I didn't go to the store first. I did see my old headboard leaning against some boxes and I told him that was what I refused before and there should be a new one in a box somewhere.

I was a little baffled as to why it was still sitting there after all this time. I would have thought they'd have taken it to their clearance center by now and tried to sell it 'as is.'

He looks confused but grabs the paper off the old headboard and walks off.

When he returns he says, "Yeah, that's it right here (pointing to the old one). I can help you get it in your vehicle."

Uh, I don't think so, Pal.

I stop him and say, "If it is new, where is the box?"

"Oh, my boss probably took it out to check it."

Yeah, right. Looking around at that place I know full well that no one is "checking" anything.

So I inspect it. And guess what?

It has all the bumps and nicks in it - in the exact same spots - as the "first" one. I look at him and say, "This is the same headboard I refused before. It isn't new."

He fidgets and shrugs.

I say, "It looks like someone is trying to pull a fast one on me."

And you know what he says??

"You didn't hear it from me, but yeah, they probably are."


Then the kicker, "You could refuse it and tell the store you want them to order a new one," he adds.

I ALREADY DID THAT!! THIS was supposed to be the NEW one!

I thank him for his time and walk out of there with steam shooting from my ears.

I mean, come on. Really? You're going to pass off the old one as new and think I won't notice? Why would it have been so hard to order a new one???

To put an end to the frustration, my husband went down there to talk to our sales rep and cancel the whole order - and get our money back. And you can bet I won't be going back there for any more purchases.

It was all very disconcerting since we had bought all our living room furniture there just a few months ago. So you'd think we'd be a "valued customer."

I just wish someone would have told me customer service was dead. I would have tried to get to the funeral.

Because I really do miss it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Instant Winner...of more junk mail?

A couple random thoughts rolled through my brain today. Just thought I'd write about them.

Oh, humor me. My summer so far consists of breaking up unending sibling battles and coming up with snack number 42 for these ravenous rugrats. Doesn't really conjur up a lot of creativity.

Okay, so here goes...

Does anyone ever win those drawings you see in the mall, at furniture stores or in the supermarket?

You know, those big plexiglass boxes stuffed with small slips of paper identifying your name, phone number, address and email...basically everything short of your social security number because we're so sure we're due to win...this time.

I passed one in the mall today. It was a chance to win a riding lawnmower.


Someone's going to give that away?

I never hear of anyone actually winning these things.

The gigantic grill at the grocery store. The free flooring at the furniture warehouse.

I would think we'd catch wind of it if someone was genuinely taking these things home. But I never do, so I'm skeptical.

Personally, I think it is just a gimmick to get you to provide all your contact info so they can send you junk mail. I bet there is never any intention to award anyone with a big prize.

If I'm wrong, someone please tell me about how you're grilling tonight's steak on the grand prize from Central Market.

Wouldn't it bode well for your business to put a big ad in the paper showing a picture of the lucky winner? I never see those.

Even the casinos have figured out that angle. I see pictures of people in the paper all the time who won a thousand bucks at the local casinos. You know there are suckers everywhere rushing off to that casino to press their luck because they saw that ad.

The other thing that made me ponder our society's stupidity is a sign I saw in a large department store. Hung on the rack of some merchandise was a sign that read, "As seen on Oprah."

This is our buying incentive now? If it was on Oprah then we need to rush out and get it? I know the woman has a lot of influence, but seriously? What is wrong with us that we need an endorsement for our purchases by some insanely rich woman in Chicago?

I just don't get it. And I'll tell you right now, I'm not walking to the checkout with it.

So there you go. Just a couple things that made me stop in my tracks today and crinkle my eyebrows a bit.

Maybe I will fill out one of those slips to win something sometime. I'll just put Oprah's name on it. That is bound to make me an instant winner.