Wednesday, September 08, 2010

THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE! or, the truth of cliches...

Yesterday I started a bunch of whiny posts about how close Halloween is getting and how little energy I have to put all my party dreams into reality. Luckily, the handy dandy "delete" button saved you from having to skim over them, because honestly, I know nobody cares. Suffice it to say, I had a momentary freak out over the weekend realizing that I have less than 2 months and STILL have not gotten started on things I'd planned almost a year ago...oops.

BUT! I'm not saying I didn't get ANYTHING accomplished this weekend, because I summoned all of my energy for the following:

- Replaced the mesh screen on the washing machine discharge. That took about 12 seconds (and another hour to chip off the old one, which was so full of lint it looked like a blue sock. Not sure which blue clothes have disintegrated, but that's a problem for another day...

- thought really hard about all the other things I WANTED to do, but didn't have the energy for...

And that brings us to yesterday, when I actually/accidentally had a pretty big accomplishment: I learned the truth in an important old adage:


(and the unspoken afterthought - the Minnesota Nice wheel who stays quiet and polite gets treated like crap until it breaks. The End).

But seriously folks, two little anecdotes on the importance of pushing for satisfaction, even though it seems the world of customer service is waiting to quash you at ever turn.

Story #1, remember my table? It was supposed to look like this:

but instead it had a giant crack, a crack that had clearly happened while the holes were being drilled, and some lazy worker still threw it in the satisfactory pile. It was a fairly cheap table, from a notoriously crappy retailer, and I really just wanted the thing up and working so I could get the box/extra pieces/old table put out to pasture, and I briefly considered just sucking it up and living with a cracked table. Briefly. Then I called the manufacturer, Whalen Furniture. They were IMMEDIATELY responsive! With zero attitude or red tape they processed my request for a new tabletop and it arrived yesterday! I don't have to deal with sending the broken one back, and while it was a little inconveniencing to wait another week + to finish assembling the set, I'm really satisfied and applaud their customer service. Which I don't do often or lightly. Thank you, Whalen Furniture, for not being the douchebags I expected! I'm very excited to have a "real" dining room set up, for the first time in my adult life.

Story #2, I've had my T-mobile WebConnect Rocket for around a month, and despite my high hopes, it wasn't working well. And if anything, it was getting worse. I was past my 14 day trial period (which flew by, so even though I waffled on taking it back right away, I didn't make it), and this thing wasn't even loading my Gmail, was kicking us off ever 2-3 minutes, and overall was the worst piece of crap since whatever came before dial up. And I had paid $200 for it, plus $40/month. Having some experience with the world, I just assumed I had been sold a line of crap as so many retailers do these days, but I was so irritated I finally called T-mobile to complain:

"Either I was completely lied to, or this thing is defective! Harrumph!"

"So sorry ma'am, it sounds like something is definitely wrong. Let me check the settings on our end..."

Lo and behold, someone changed some numbers in some computer, and the damn thing started working. WORKING WELL. Like really well, as well as our Qwest service had worked but cheaper and without requiring the phone bill. Whoa. Should I have HAD to call and make them change settings? No, they should probably make sure everyone's settings are right if they are in the business of selling this product. The little tech guy who helped me was really nice, despite the clear ire in my voice, and he resolved the problem, but if I hadn't called I'd still be pissed off and struggling.

So the moral of both stories is clear:

Don't settle for crap products or crap service. You shouldn't HAVE to complain, in an ideal world companies would take pride in their businesses and only offer the best - but that has gone by the wayside as cheaper/faster/more surpassed quality. And while it takes a little more time and effort, it's worth it to get the item you thought you were paying for - otherwise I'd have a cracked dining set and no Internet, while still being out my hard earned money.

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