Saturday, August 13, 2011

Buying Furniture Was Never So Insulting

Heather and I recently decided to buy some bunk beds so that when our friends with kids come visit they have actual beds to sleep on.  Since our household goods haven't arrived yet, I figured this was as good a time as any to make the purchase, since we could sleep on them until our bedroom set comes with the rest of the furniture.  We bought some bedding and it was off to the furniture stores to find a couple of beds.

After hitting a couple of stores we visited a Texas Gallery Furniture on the south end of town, and found the staff to be quite helpful. Unfortunately, they didn't have the beds we wanted in stock, but they told me if I didn't want to wait a few days for one to come I could go to the Texas Gallery Furniture store on the northwest side of town.  Since this was closer to where we live I figured, why not.  The northern store was a totally different experience. When I got there they told us to wait while they got the paperwork faxed from the southern store.  After 15 minutes or so they said we could drive around back to pick it up.  When we pulled up to the loading dock a worker told me they didn't have the bed I wanted but offered me an "upgrade". He couldn't explain how this bed was an upgrade but promised that it was better than the bed I had paid for. "It's like the one you ordered is the phone the phone company gives you, and this is an iphone" he said.  Finally I relented and took the new beds home sight unseen in the box. 

When I opened the box to start assembing my new purchase, I quickly discovered that this was no iphone of furniture.  This was more of a pay-as-you-go model from Korea, and I'm talking North Korea.  This bed was in the Mission style, and you could see a shadow effect where the stain is apparently sprayed on, and the opposite side of the slats is lighter behind the slats than it is between them.  One piece of wood was partially split, others had scuff marks, and the headboards had holes where screws were to go and be left exposed.  I don't normally think of silver screwheads on the top of my headboard as an upgrade.  According to the kid at the loading dock they didn't have any of the model that I had ordered because they were sold out.  On the beds they gave me the bottoms that had been sticking out of the box were dusty from sitting in storage so long.  I'm guessing others also didn't think of this set as an upgrade either.

So I loaded up the bed and took it back to the northern store a couple days later. This is where the tale takes a bizarre turn.  When I told the store owner behind the counter that I had ordered one bed, had been given another, and upon taking it out of the box and laying eyes on it had determined that I would rather have the one I originally picked out, he gruffly asked another employee "will you take care of this...apparently he doesn't understand what an upgrade is". Yes, I do understand what an upgrade is, and it is an item of superior quality or features, not a piece of crap. I also understand when I am being spoken down to, and don't appreciate it.

The 2nd employee asked me to explain to him what it was that I didn't like about the bed they gave me. I didn't realize that it was my job to convince a store employee that the product they gave me was truly inferior to what I had actually paid for, so I told him politely that I preferred the style of the first bed better, which was also true. After going back and forth for a couple of minutes the owner, still sitting back at his desk, finally had lost all patience with a customer having the gall to want what he paid for and shouted at me "You'll have to deal with the other store!  We don't carry that model at this store!"

Needless to say, I was more than happy to deal with the manager at the other branch, who actually treated me like a valued customer, and not the son-in-law who impregnated his daughter then skipped town after burning down his house.  When I called the store manager at the southern store he was very polite, looked to see if they now had the model I wanted (he did) and had it delivered for free. He also let me know he would have his guys assemble the bed for me to make up for my bad experience of the other store not having the bed (I hadn't even told him how the store owner had treated me like trash).  Now I have two bunk beds that I actually want, and I know one store in town where I will never shop again.
This is what I wanted - and finally got