Things to read...

If time is short, I'd suggest reading at LEAST The Prologue and Legend of The Pinto Bean Posts!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why I'll be headed to Lowe's...

While on my trip this summer I had the opportunity to use some friend’s front loading washer and dryer to clean my stuff. Aside from looking ultra spiffy in their laundry room, these things performed miracles upon my clothing. My clothes were all noticeably softer, and my socks felt downright new. I was so amazed I kept a pair and a shirt separate just so I could check when I got home. We’ve all seen the commercial with the little bear talking about softness right? Well that bear ain’t got anything on this softness. These things were like laundry crack. Everything else felt like sandpaper after that. I was hooked. I knew I needed them. Prone to irrationality, poor decision making, and impulse buys, I headed down to that place where everybody knows my name; Home Depot.

At the Depot, I headed straight for the washer/dryer section. I knew where this was as I practically lived there last summer whilst pretending to be Bob Villa and destroying, I mean remodeling, my humble abode. At least this time there was no risk of screwing me to something, an event responsible for numerous holes in my old prosthetic arm. Yes I really did drill into it. Several times. Anyhow, I quickly narrowed down my choices by utilizing the tried and true “what’s cheap and on sale?” method and pestered the salesman with 9048673256 questions about the amazingness of the chosen appliances. A few minutes later I was the proud new owner of the miracle worker front loaders, water into wine option still unavailable. I opted to have the Depot install them as it was cheap, and given that I could screw up making ice in Antarctica, it seemed like the safest bet. I mean, what could go wrong? Really… This is the story of what could go wrong, in the form of my angry letter to the Depot.

On 28 August 2008 two guys from Home Depot (Chris and an unnamed employee) came out to stack my washer and dryer after Jim from the appliance section forgot to install the stack kit. Approximately six hours after they had left, I came downstairs to find my garage/basement flooded. Assuming that the lines were improperly hooked up I mopped up the water and checked all the fittings, congratulating myself on a job well done. The next morning I found even more water on the ground and no evidence of leaky fittings. I called Home Depot about 9 a.m. to inform them that the sewage line out of my house was now leaking adjacent to the washer and dryer. I was assured someone would immediately get out to fix it. Finally at about 3 p.m. Chris and another employee came out to fix the issue. So much for immediately. Unable to resolve the problem, they tried a quick fix on the sewage pipe and informed me that no plumbers were available since it was Labor Day weekend. Apparently I was going to enjoy raw sewage throughout my garage for my labor day. I was assured that a plumber would be there on Wednesday at the latest, but most likely on Tuesday. I spent the weekend mopping 6-7 times a day…

Wednesday came and I stayed home to make sure I didn’t miss the plumber. Finally at 4pm I called HD again to talk to Chris and was informed that he didn’t remember saying that they’d be there by Wednesday but in any event they would DEFINITELY be there Thursday. I spent Thursday at home enjoying my sewage pool and waiting on the plumber. Again late that afternoon I called Chris and was told that there had been “a water heater emergency and that it took priority.” Apparently raw sewage isn’t nearly as bad as cold water. Strange that in my training here in medical school we learn the bugs like C. difficile and E. coli can be bad for you. Let’s not even think about Black Mold. Anyhow, I was assured that no matter what, it WOULD be fixed by Friday. Now remember, this is over a week after the leak started. The sewage leak. As in feces, urine etc. sewage. Well finally Friday came around and I excitedly anticipated the arrival of the plumber. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Friday afternoon I called back to Home Depot and talked to the “manager on duty.” She promised that she would get this resolved as fast as possible. I gleefully continued to mop fetid water out of my garage…
Amazingly, within an hour, a real live plumber called me. Apparently he had just been called by HD about this. Yes, eight days later and after numerous promises, HD finally called the plumber. Now this seems a little odd since he supposedly has known about this for a week now. Well he again informed me that there was no way possible he could make it on the weekend, but he promised to be here between nine and eleven on Monday. Finally, the sewage crisis was going to be fixed. Oddly enough, I’ve now developed a chronic headache and sores on the inside of my nose. I wonder if it has anything to do with the stagnant water in my house? Well I must also say that the one upside is that detritus has filled some of the leak by now, so I don’t have to mop as often…

Well Monday, twelve days after the first leak, arrives and I get up early to make sure I don’t miss the plumber. I check the leak, which is now relatively small, but still present. I then park my rear on the couch and watch the clock. At precisely 10:58 the phone rings… It’s the plumber… He tells me he probably won’t make it out. I remind him he SWORE he would be here before eleven, and explain that this is the third day of school I’ve missed. He somehow has forgotten he ever promised to be here before eleven, so I ask my roommate if he remembers this. He does. Finally the plumber professes that he can be here no later than five p.m. and we’ll have it fixed tonight, no matter what. By this time I pretty much understand this to mean “you’ll not see me at all today, and probably not tomorrow, either.” Therefore I’m hardly surprised when five rolls by with nary a phone call. Finally, at 6:01 p.m. I collect my mold spore addled senses enough to call the Home Depot corporate line. I explain to Mr. Ceary my predicament with the sewage, and also mention that I spent over $30,000 last year at Home Depot. Yes, I used the last of my insurance money from losing my arm to renovate my house, purchasing nearly all my supplies through HD. While I realize that to Home Depot 30K isn’t much, to me it represented and arm and a leg… Well at least an arm. Ceary puts me on hold a few times while attempting to remedy the situation. Finally he comes back and explains that the people who handle these matters are gone for the day. He tells me he will continue to work on it and swears to have it resolved in 24-48 hours. At this point he might as well promise to get it done using pipes manufactured by leprechauns and hauled to my house on unicorns, as I would believe that just as much as 24-48 hours. Sadly, my house now has a distinct “fecal smell” which I think might have something to do with the pipe in my basement. I also think this will be the last time I EVER shop at Home Depot. To me thirteen days of sewage leaking while vehemently promising its’ repair does not constitute customer service no matter how you stretch it. I guess tomorrow I will contact my insurance company and a lawyer to see what can be done about this. Until then, I’ll make do mopping up the putrid water, minimal as it may be, still leaking into my basement.

Well after a couple more days of waiting and never hearing back from the elusive “Mr. Ceary” I decide that yet again I’ve been bamboozled, and head down to the Depot. Now I’m angry. While I may have but one arm, the other one end in stainless steel hook, attached to a formidable sized torso. You don’t want to see me angry. You won’t like me… when… I’m… annggggry. GRRRRRR!!!! Ok so maybe I’m not quite the Incredible Hulk, but I’m damned sure the One Armed Man. Well at the depot, I proceed to inform the managers there of just how much they suck, and how much it’s about to suck more if I don’t get this fixed NOW. They quickly call the plumber who lies and says he’s TRIED to call me with no luck. I offer to show them my phone call list for the last week. They decline. Finally they say he can be there the next day at four p.m. I agree to this, replying with something like “so help me God, if he isn’t there by 4:00:00000000000001, I will unleash Hell. Gangs of your pipe wielding leprechauns and unicorns with whistle tips (woo woo) will be no match for the destruction I will cause. You will need to build another home Depot next door just to supply the building materials to rebuild this one by the time my anger has subsided!” At least that’s how I remember it…

Well the next day the plumber actually arrives, and I nearly go into cardiac arrest. A mere two weeks later and this is gonna get fixed. He then tells me he didn’t bring the right part. GRRRRRRR…. I think the expression on my face inspired him to go get the right part, as he quickly left and returned with what he needed. Ultimately he managed to fix it, which pleased me to no end. He also got quite the scare when BTD and RTD managed to push a cinder block out of a seven foot high window frame so they could see into the garage. Sometimes, justice is small but welcome. Even if it is in the form of exploding bricks.

15 comments:

calistalee said...

I'd like to see those unicorns with whistle tips (woo woo!), but I don't think I'd like to see you angry. I hope they get that fixed for you and pronto!

Front loading washer and dryers are truly amazing.

Anna said...

Submit this story to Consumerist (http://consumerist.com/). It is completely ridiculous that it took 14 days for them to fix the disgusting mess they made. You have every right to sue them for negligence.

pjamas said...

OMG, you my friend, have the patience of Job. What a putrid learning experience this was. HD is a good for buying wood, screws & nails. Sinks, faucets, heavy appliances ALL are way over-priced & customer service as you now know, is non-existent. By all means continue your correspondence to corporate via email or regular mail. Matter of fact, do both.

Anonymous said...

Sir, you indeed have the patience of Job. Sadly, such virtue is only exploited by such as Home Depot. If I may humbly suggest... heaven forbid there be a next time but... file a complaint with the City or State Attorney General's office, cc'ing HD's corporate headqrtrs. and the store mgr. when the 3rd promise is broken. That usually works really, really well. As an interested tax-payer and caring citizen, I will expect said agency to put your case on a fast track. Immediately.
I am very grateful for you.
--A.

Anonymous said...

Well, while this is way too funny now to read, I thank you a million times over that it was you that went thru it and not me. You -- oh, my -- I can't believe you did so well holding your tongue. And you did finally get results. I would have been part of the puddle on the floor.

Where I live, you can go 10 minutes in one direction to a Lowe's and a Home Depot. Ten minutes in the other direction they just built another Lowe's. Hmmm, who is doing the most business?? I know they get all of mine. And, honestly, in my area they have the best prices.

Good luck with winter coming. And are the washer and dryer still all you hoped they would be?

Kath

Anonymous said...

I was going to recommend you submit this to the consumerist as well, but anna beat me to it. If there is lasting damage to you physically, or to your home, or to your GPA at med school even, you likely have a strong case in small claims court. It is most likely much easier than you think to file for damages in small claims court in your state. Consumerist also has handy references on this on their site. Very useful...

Anonymous said...

Dan, don't let it go - go after them for some kind of resitution. This is unacceptable and because so many of us are too busy in our own lives to persue this type of irresponsible behavior, they get away with it. Good luck

Bag Blog said...

Some of my best posts were back when we were building our house and my husband would send me to HD or Lowes or Sutherland's - Like the time I wanted to buy a pocket door and the sales person only had one, which had been smashed to pieces. He said he would give me a 10% discount and I could straighten out the metal. I guess I just looked stupid.

You did very well.

Anonymous said...

buy a "Sunset" book in HD on plumbing

Joanna said...

I hope you reported them to the BBB

Anonymous said...

Having worked as a manufacturing rep for both HD and Lowes, I can tell you some horific stories, but then I think you now have one that might top any of mine. We used to joke about HD being the self service store. Any questions or help neede see an associate, a Lowes associate that is, they are usually next door or down the road!

Long-time RN said...

One heck of a story. Where is the work ethic these days?? The calendar looks terrific, I'll be ordering one.

JKV said...

I would for sure submit this to the Consumerist. Send the story to corporate HD and cc to BBB. This is the kinds of things they need to know about. I did a similar thing with Verizon and eventually got someone that cared and made it right. Rock on.

Todd Mustache said...

Definitely go to the Consumerist.com, at the very least they will have the email address of an executive at HD whom you can berate, i mean, explain your situation to. The Home Depot should be made aware of the utter incompetence of their employees. Unfortunately this isn't the first story of terrible service I've heard about HD's contractors.

Joshua C said...

You should try to get in touch with Bernie Marcus. He's a pretty good guy. You might only get his peons but they should be empowered to help you out.