Monday, December 05, 2005


In Which I Am A Big Pane In Someone's Ass...

8:00 AM Monday Morning:

(phone rings)

(and rings some more)

Receptionist: Really Big Home Improvement Store. How may I direct your call?

MM: Hi there. Could you connect me to Dick in the special order department?

Receptionist: One moment, please.

(phone rings a bit more)

Dick: Custom windows and doors. This is Dick.

MM (in jocular, hail-fellow-well-met tone): Hey Dick. This is the Magazine Man. I put in a special order for a replacement window for my basement about a month ago? It was order number 1134?

Dick (talking while entering number in computer): Sure, hang on. (typing in the background) Yeah, our guys delivered that last week.

MM: They sure did. And I gotta tell you, the window was perfect. Absolutely fit like a glove when I put it in the opening.

Dick: Oh good...

MM: Funny thing, though. After I installed it, made sure it was square and level and all, when I got up the next morning, there was a huge crack in the interior pane on the right-hand side.

(dead silence)

MM: Dick, you there?

Dick (stiffly): Yep.

MM: So, you know, I'm calling to find out what our options are here. Because it seems to me there was some kind of flaw in the interior pane.

Dick: Uh-huh.

MM: So, what are our options here? Should I pop out the frame and bring it in so you can fix it? Or do you want to send someone over to replace the pane on site?

Dick: Well, first let me get some things straight. You installed this yourself? Not a contractor?

MM: Yes indeed. Installed it myself.

Dick: Because I'm just wondering, well, you made sure it was square? Because if these windows are off even a little, the pressure on the glass when you open can break it really easily.

MM: Well, Dick, as I said before, I made sure it was level and square before I ever cranked the windows open. And in any case, the window didn't crack while I was opening it. It happened sometime during the night.

Dick: Huh.

MM: And in any case, these are dual-pane windows. If it wasn't square, both panes would have cracked, no?

Dick: Huh. Well, does your yard face on a street? Or maybe somebody dinged a rock and split the pane?

MM (still jocular): You know, Dick, that would be my conclusion too. But again, seeing as the interior pane is broken while the exterior pane is perfectly fine, that more or less dings a rock in that theory, doesn't it?

Dick: Oh right, it was the inside pane, like you said.

MM: So, shall I bring the frame in so you can replace the glass--

Dick: Well, now wait a minute. Now this was a special-order item, and as we told you when you placed the order, we don't do refunds or exchanges--

MM: Dick, I'm perfectly happy with the window. Love it. Fits great. I just want the faulty pane replaced.

Dick: Well, uh, to be perfectly honest, I don't, uh, know that we do that.

MM: I'm sorry?

Dick: Well, I mean, we can, of course. We have a guy on staff who can do it. Runs about $109 for parts and labor.

MM (marginally less jocular): Well, Dick, you've already received about $400 from me for this window. How much more were you planning to charge me for it?

Dick: Can you hold on one second?

MM: Absolutely.

(piped music begins playing: Madonna's "Like A Virgin" as interpreted by someone with an electric organ and a prescription for Valium. Song is interrupted every 30 or so seconds by a breathless woman entreating me to take advantage of some of the great holiday financing now being offered by the Really Big Home Improvement Store. In fact, if I act now I can--)

Someone Who Is Not Dick: Hello, Mr. M?

MM: Yes, who's this?

Someone Who Is Not Dick: This is Frank. I'm the manager for Custom Windows and Doors. What seems to be the problem?

MM: Dick didn't tell you?

Frank: No sir. I understand you have problem with your custom order and I just want to hear it from you.

(MM repeats entire story)

MM:, as I told Dick, I'm perfectly happy with the window. I just feel the pane is faulty and I'd like it replaced.

Frank (adopting a slight edge in his voice): Uh-huh. You mean at our expense.

MM: Well, Frank, so far, this transaction has been entirely at my expense. Four hundred some dollars of mine have been sitting in your bank account for a month. That money was paid for a custom window with all the glass intact. I'm just asking you to give me what I paid for.

Frank: But the glass wasn't broken when it was delivered.

MM: No sir.

Frank: It broke only after you installed it.

MM: Yes. But seeing as it was installed correctly--

Frank: I'm sorry, Mr. M, but we only have your word that it was installed correctly.

MM: Meaning?

Frank: Well, look. We get a lot of do-it-yourselfers who don't know what they're doing and when they make a mistake, they call us and expect to fix their mistakes for free.

MM: I see. So, to be frank, Frank: You're telling me I broke the window and am lying to you about it.

Frank: Well--

MM: Without knowing anything about me or my capabilities as an installer of windows, you've leapt to the conclusion that I'm incompetent and am covering the fact up so you'll pay for my mistake.

Frank: Mr. M, have you ever installed a window before?

MM: Frank, have YOU ever installed a window before?

Frank (haughtily): As a matter of fact, sir, I ran my own window and door installation business for 15 years before coming to work for this company.

MM: And in those 15 years, Frank, are you telling me you NEVER got one window from the manufacturers that didn't have a flaw? Not one?


MM: Frank?

Frank: Yes, sir. I get your point sir.

MM: It's not like I'm asking to return the whole window. I know how to remove this one panel and am even willing to bring it to you--on my own time. I'm just asking to receive what I ordered and have already paid for.

Frank: I understand.

MM: So, at the risk of repeating myself, shall I bring the panel in, or would you like to send someone--

Frank: Mr. M. Let me speak to my team members and call you back.

MM: Fair enough. I'm at work, so here's my num--

(Frank hangs up)

12:00 PM Monday Afternoon:

(phone rings)

(and rings some more)

Receptionist: Really Big Home Improvement Store. How may I direct your call?

MM: Hi there. Could you connect me to Frank in the custom window and door department?

Receptionist: One moment, please.

(phone rings a bit more)

Frank: Custom. Frank.

MM: Frank, this is the Magazine Man. We spoke this morning about my custom window order? The one with the broken pane? You were going to call me back after conferring with your team? About four hours ago?

Frank: Right. Right. Sorry I meant to call you--

MM: Frank, I just want what I paid for. A complete and unbroken window. Will you please repair the pane?

Frank: Look, Mr. M. We can't just fix things for every do-it-yourselfer who breaks a window.

MM: Frank, if I had broken the window through my own error, I would not be calling you. I find it--

Frank: Look, you bring the panel in, we'll pay for the glass, you pay for the labor. Basically a 50-50 split.

MM: I--

Frank: You know we don't make these windows. If there's a flaw, it's really the manufacturer who--

MM: Frank, the manufacturer didn't take my money. You did. And I don't think I should have to pay any more money for a faulty product for which you have charged me full price. If you want to issue me a partial refund equal to the cost of repairing the pane, that's fine with me. Otherwise, I would appreciate it if you would make this right for me by covering the replacement of the window in full.

Frank (huffily): Listen. Let me call my rep at the manufacturer. Their warehouse is just across the river. If they agree to replace the pane, you can bring it in and we'll drop it off next time we have to pick up a shipment.

MM: And how long do you think that will take?

Frank: We don't have another pick up scheduled from their warehouse til after the first of the year. That's even if they'll fix the pane.

MM (sigh): All right. Can I ask you to call your rep today? And perhaps see if there's a way to expedite this? I'm sure you would not want a window with a missing, open panel in it all through December.

Frank: I'll call him right now.

MM: Thank--

(Frank hangs up)

MM: --you very much, ASSHOLE!

4:00 PM Monday Afternoon:

(phone rings)

(and rings some more)

Receptionist: Really Big Home Improvement Store. How may I direct your call?

MM: Hi there. Could you connect me to Frank in the custom window and door department?

Receptionist: One moment, please.

(phone rings a bit more)

(Frank's voicemail comes on)

(MM hits 0)

Custom Department Assistant: Custom windows and doors.

MM: Yes, I was trying to reach Frank, but got his voicemail.

Assistant: He must be away from his desk. Would you like his voicemail?

MM: Ma'am, if I wanted his voicemail, we would not be talking. Could you do me a favor and transfer me to the office of the store manager?

Assistant: moment. Oh, wait, there's Frank...

(strange smooshing noises as Assistant squishes phone to some part of her anatomy. Indistinct murmuring)

Assistant: And who's calling?

MM: This is the Magazine Man. If he no longer wishes to speak with me, I'll be glad to speak with the store manager.

Assistant: Hold on, please.

(more smooshing noises)

Assistant: Let me transfer you.


Frank (tonelessly): Look, Mr. M. I called the manufacturer and there's nothing they can do. If you want to split the cost of replacing the pane like I offered, that's great. Bring the panel in and we'll take care of the glass and only charge you for the labor. Sixty bucks with tax.

MM (using last shred of friendly, jocular tone): Frank, I appreciate that you're trying to offer me a compromise here, but maybe it's time I spoke with someone who is authorized to approve the total coverage of this broken pane. Would you transfer me to the store manager's office? I'll be sure to let him know how helpful and responsive you've been.

Frank: Fine. Hold on.

(line goes dead)

4:12 PM Monday Afternoon:

(phone rings)

(and rings some more)

Receptionist: Really Big Home Improvement Store. How may I direct your call?

MM: Could you connect me to the store manager please?

Receptionist: I'm afraid he's gone for the day. Would you like his assistant's voicemail?

And so it goes.

So I'm really no closer to resolving this than when I started this morning. Nothing has changed.

Oh, except for one thing.

Now I'm REALLY pissed.

These people think they can jerk me around?

They don't know the meaning of "jerk."

And I'm just the guy to show them...

Store manager + Oblique reference to what you do/where you work = problem solved.
OH you go MM!!!! Show them buttheads who is boss!!!

and I like Chucks comment.... Use your wonderful job as a tool in this situation...
wow! this makes me so mad. *shaking my fist as i relay the story to my boyfriend on the phone*
MM...Once went through the same dog & pony show to return an alternator (3 faulty ones in a row!) with a faulty bearing. Get through the lower level of hourly wage earners and you might get some results! Good luck!
The next time I have a customer service dispute I'll pay you to handle it for me. I go ballistic at the rudeness of someone hanging up on me.

I can't wait to hear the next installment. They have no idea who they are fucking with.
I had this same issue at Target last night! Asking to talk to the asshole's boss is always a good idea. I was once trying to work out payment options on my Capital One card back in college (ah, the broke days) and the bitch told me I should "have a garage sale or a bake sale" to make the money to pay off the balance. #$&(^! These people get on some sick power trip....GAH!

Can't wait to hear what happens next.... ;)
As the Black Eyed Peas once so wisely sang, where is the love?
I can understand their position on do it yourselfers, but their customer service is for shit. If they'd just send someone out to confirm that the installation was done correctly, this whole problem wouldn't have occurred in the first place. This sucks.
I have been (since Feb) going back and forth with a Really Big Store and a rebate worth $250.00 for a stove. They insist that they never recieved my forms- even though I have mulitple dated fax confirmations. Needless to say, I FEARS I will never darken their door again. I have not given up...

Try not to blow a blood vessel- good luck.
Had similar conversation and problems with Really Big Electronics Store last year. I even e-mailed corporate customer service and got nothing.

They wonder why -- after and entire day of being nice and asking for nothing more than what you already paid for -- you snap and become Really Big Pain in their Asses.

Good luck with the store manager.
You have me in awe.

You, and my best friend, who just yesterday talked down a nigh $3000 phone bill to seventy-three bucks.

I'm sure once you get a hold of the store manager, things will go great for you.

I just wish I had the awesome ability to be polite and firm and get what I want out of faceless corporations! I typically get way too upset, and can't continue talking at all.
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