Customer No-Service

Doesn't it seem obvious that when you are having a sofa delivered that you might want it delivered INSIDE, and not standing on end blocking the door to your business?

            So, we are doing a little redecorating here in the office, and we ordered some furniture from Target.  Most of it came via UPS, and it came just fine from our friendly UPS driver, whose name I do not know, but who I see probably three days a week.  He’s a nice guy, and UPS drivers always bring presents, even if they are presents that you bought yourself.  Love the chairs, by the way.

            The sofa, however, came from somewhere in the Great White North, Ontario, to be specific, because apparently there are no closer sofas to Loganville, GA, and it was not delivered by UPS but rather Mid Atlanta Moving, who was sub-sub-contracted by Home Direct USA, who sub-contracted the delivery from Target.

            This whole deal seems like a remarkably inefficient way to make money.  The sofa cost me $360.00.  I’m pretty sure that a truck big enough to haul it all the way from Ontario would use $360.00 in gas to get here, never mind the people to drive the truck and unload the truck, etc.  But I digress.

            We got an email on October 17, which stated that I could click on a button to track the shipping.  I did, and got rerouted to a website which said that on October 22, 2012, they called and left a message.  Considering it was October 17 when I saw that, I thought it was pretty funny.  But whatever.  It also said that the sofa would be delivered sometime between 3pm and 7pm on the 22nd

            At about 4:45pm today, October 22, someone came into the office, found out he was in the wrong office (this happens an awful lot, which is odd when you consider all our names are on the door, and we are the office at the far back of the complex, making it the least convenient to get to and ensuring that you had to drive right by wherever it was you were trying to go) and left.  When he left, Linda, whose desk faces the front door, noticed a big ole box.  We went out to investigate, and saw that a ginormous box was standing on its end, partially opened, that apparently had a sofa in it.  For real?  No one knocked?  No one even attempted to bring it inside?

            Linda and I were the only two left in the office, and while we are both Strong Like Bull, we were not really prepared to carry a sofa into a professional office.  So we left it outside.

            We called Home Direct, who gave us another number to call.  The mystery people at the other number told us that they had specific instructions from Target to leave it at the front door, no signature required.  So, of course, rather than be nice and call back their guys, who couldn’t be more than ten minutes away, they told us to call Target.

            I called Target, and the phone was answered by, well, let’s just say it sounded like someone who wasn’t born in the deep south.  At least not the deep south of this country.  I’m sure he gave me a name, but I don’t remember it and need to refer to him several more times before I’m done, so, not to stereotype or anything, we’ll call him Judy from Pakistan.  Judy informed me that Target just gives these people the sofa and the address and no particular shipping instructions. 

            So.  To review: two middle aged ladies find a box the size of a Honda Civic standing on end, partially blocking the door of a professional office, and the people who leave it there say that they left it there because Target told them to, and Target says, in a nutshell, “Did Not.”

            I told Judy that “did not” was not a good enough answer for me.  He replied that Target couldn’t be responsible for the actions of a third party.  I said that no, they could not, but they are responsible for whom they contract shipping with, and perhaps they wouldn’t want to contract with a company that treated my new sofa (and me) in the same way as a flaming bag of dog poo.  Except, the dog poo leavers would have probably rang the doorbell before skedaddling off.  (Note: I did not actually say ‘flaming bag of dog poo’ to Judy.  I was being Professional, so I said something like, “treats its customers so poorly.”  Yawn.)

            After a few minutes trying to convince Judy that perhaps Target might want to give a rat’s patootie about the ultimate satisfaction of its customers, Judy ensured me that I had misunderstood him the entire time, and Target would Launch an Investigation.  They would maybe let me know when they got any information (“but that is up to the shipper, you know”) but he gave me a reference number in case I had more time to kill and wanted to follow up.  I’m pretty sure the reference number is something he made up to make me get off the phone, much in the way women give out fake numbers in bars.  I’m also pretty sure that the investigators are as dedicated to the task as O.J. is in finding the real killers.

            So, Linda and I tipped it over on its side without killing one another, and dragged it into the office, where it sits hulkingly in its partially opened box in pieces because I am too aggravated to deal with it today.  Yes, in pieces.  Because heaven forbid the thing should be delivered from Canada intact.  No.  It has lots of little parts to assemble. 

            There is a lesson to be learned in all this: even if you have to pay a little more, shop local.  The person at the local furniture store, who might see you in Taco Bell and whose kids go to school with your kids, he’s not sitting at a desk in some foreign country working for an outsourced company giving you fake reference numbers to make you be quiet.  If the shippers he hired messed up, I’m sure they’d be fired or at least given a stern talking to, and he might even come over and help you drag it in himself.  Because he’d be HERE, and not in Ontario, preparing for winter.  

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Kim Roberto October 23, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Ooooooo.......I hear ya. Been there, done that. Got aggravated, then just kept getting more and more ticked as I was sent round and round with phone calls. I was calling Dell computers for help and got to talk with Princess Go in Malayia. Yes, I actually asked her name, and made her repeat it when I squeeled "Princess GO? Really?" Malayia? REALLY? The kicker was when the next person on the phone told me "If you want, you can log on to www.dell to get more information." REALLY? I'm calling Dell 'cause I can't get on the flippin' computer. OMG
Robert Swartz November 13, 2012 at 03:06 PM
And yet, customers want free shipping. Sellers promise free shipping. Then sellers have to figure out how to get it delivered as cheaply as possible. Hence you get lousy packaging, foreign cardboard that disintegrates in transit, handoffs from one poorly run transport company to another, poor overall service, damaged goods, and excuses. Shipping a $350 couch from Ontario to Atlanta probably costs more than the materials that were used to build it.


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