I’d like to talk to you for a moment about window blinds. And while this isn’t exactly baby-related, it does have relevance to our house which, obviously, the baby will live in someday. It’s also a bit of a rant, and probably not a very interesting one at that. Forewarned is forearmed.
So last October, Jen and I decided it might be time to finally have blinds put on our windows. (After all, we’d only been living in our house for 3 years without them.) And so we went to Home Depot to pick them out and have them installed.
Now a little-known fact about me is that I am the King of the “Same-as-Cash” finance plan, which is why we chose a big box store to begin with. I break the whole purchase down while I’m still in the store, and set my bank account to auto-deduct the proper amount every month. I have never once missed a payment on these, *knock on wood* and honestly, I’m not sure how stores can allow this to be a thing and remain profitable. I guess there’s a whole lot of people out there who haven’t branched out on their Fiscal Responsibility skill tree.
Anyway, first we schedule the Home Depot guy to come out and measure the entire house. The kid is over 4 hours late, citing “truck problems.” Eventually he arrives and does the measuring, and I set up a time to go to Home Depot to pick out the blinds themselves.
At our blinds appointment, the woman we worked with was so distracted by her cell phone that she called me two days later to ask when we were going to come in to pick out our blinds. She’d completely forgotten that we’d spent two hours sitting with her while she futzed with a computer and answered calls from her mother.
3 weeks later, we’re given notice that our blinds have arrived and have been scheduled to be installed. So I stay home to oversee the installation and to corral Alex into the bathroom, as per OSHA standards. The very same “truck problems” kid calls me up at about 9am.
“Uh, Mr. Shaw? We’re missing some blinds.”
“Well, you’re supposed to have 15 blinds and I only have 11.”
“I see. And…?”
“Well, do you want me to come out and install the other 11 or wait until all of them are in?”
“I’ve already taken the day off of work, so let’s get what we can installed and go from there.”
“Oh. [dejected] Okay.”
So he comes out and starts doing his thing. And as he does so, I notice he’s fiddling with the blinds a lot and shaking his head. After an hour, he comes to me and explains that two of the sets were cut incorrectly, but that it really doesn’t matter since all of the ones he just hung are warped/bent and he’ll have to come back to replace them anyway.
Jump forward a month, and this time it’s Jen who’s babysitting the installer. Once again, the same two blinds have been mis-cut, and only half of the total window treatments are warped. So we start the replacement process again. Although this time the installer left all the old boxes in my foyer because reasons?
We move into the holiday season, and I’ve still heard nothing at all. So I submit a complaint on the Home Depot website and *wham!* activity begins anew. The same people call me and begin the process of re-ordering the blinds (which means they hadn’t done a damn thing in a month), and they send the installer kid over immediately to pick up the boxes that he’d left behind.
Another month passes, and I get a call that all the blinds are in again and when would I like them to come out? To which I explain that I’m all done taking days off of work in the vain hopes that they might actually have gotten their poop in a group, and isn’t there some way to check the blinds for warpitude before they send someone out to install them? You would’ve thought I’d explained the schematics of a perpetual motion machine to this woman.
“You know…I CAN do that! I can do that right in the store! I’ll make something to do it! I’m going to do it! Okay, I call you back!”
And, about 4 hours later, she does.
“Yeah, Mr. Shaw? These blinds warped. Maybe you want go with 2″ blinds and not 2 1/4″?”
I sigh, and explain that we already have half the house done in 2 1/4″ blinds (“ohhh…yeah, you right“), and that if we’d wanted that size we would’ve ordered them at the outset. No. Do it again. Do it better. And we’ll keep doing it until you get it right.
At least this time neither Jen nor I had to miss a day of work…
As we rounded into February, three months after we purchased the blinds, I lost all patience with the process. I filed a Better Business Bureau report, and was fielding bi-weekly phone calls from their Customer Response Team in Atlanta who regularly assured me they’re staying on top of the situation. Doing a bang up job so far, folks. Thanks!
Eventually, they do call and say they have the blinds, have checked them, and are ready to finish the install.
So out comes the exact same kid on this past Saturday morning.
He finishes the install. I do a celebratory Snoopy dance.
He then informs me that he doesn’t have a “return slip” for the old blinds, and so he’ll have to leave yet another stack of boxes in my foyer until he can figure out what to do with them.
“Can’t you just put them in your truck and get the slip later?”
“Oh no, sir. I can’t do that. I don’t have the return slip.”
“And that matters why, exactly?”
“Because…I don’t have a return slip. I, er, wouldn’t know what to do with them. Besides, they’ll hafta pay me to come out and pick them up later!”
I get a follow-up call from the customer service team and they’re as incredulous as I am that he didn’t take the boxes with him. I explain to them, calmly, that I’m now going to put all the boxes out in my driveway. And they can either come pick them up, or they’re going out with the trash on Wednesday. And I’m happy to say that they did, indeed, pick the damn things up at some point yesterday and all this nonsense is finally finis.
This morning, I received a call thanking me for my patience throughout the 4-month ordeal. But when I ask if there’s a possibility for a refund on the installation costs I get an, “Oh, no. We don’t really do that. But how about a $50 Home Depot gift card instead?”
And so, let this be a clarion signal to anyone considering purchasing blinds for your home. Do NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to do so with Home Depot.
Here endeth the lesson.