January 22, 2008

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell

As many of you know, I work for the Y. This is an organization that people pay to be a part of. They take their hard-earned money and purchase a membership. And when they do, it is extremely important that we take care of them. If they have a problem, we fix it. We go to great lengths – even going against policy at times – to make sure our members feel they are being taken care of.

Because I go to such great lengths to make sure our members are satisfied, I am always taken aback when I get really bad customer service. And this week, I received bad customer service. In fact, it was so bad, that I have this incredible urge to tell you about it.

First, this summer, the wife and I decided that we needed to purchase some adult-like furniture for our “play room” – which is actually our formal living room. You can tell because it has a fireplace. For some crazy reason we actually thought that if we bought storage that looked less red and blue molded plastic and more wood and metal, that the room could serve a dual purpose of entertaining kids and adults alike.

But where to buy this furniture? We then decided to turn to one of the thousands of catalogs that find their way to our mailbox each and every day. We settled on Home Decorators. Right off the bat, things went bad. We had to wait over two months for one of the pieces to arrive as it was on “back order” – which is code for “We don’t know what we’re doing and did not anticipate anyone actually wanting to purchase that item.”

But that’s not what upset me the most. You see, we have two toddlers running around. Toddlers do wild things. Toddlers decide that a door should open one way when it was really meant to open the other way. Before you know it, a door to your credenza thingy has become separated in a way that was not meant to be separated. In short, TheMonk ripped the door off the hinge.

To further complicate matters, these “hinges” are specifically made for this piece. They are plastic, springy things that hold the door in place from the top and bottom of the door. These were probably made by some third-world child making 10 cents an hour and looked like you could purchase a couple of these thing straight from the little toy dispensers at the front of the grocery store.

After inspecting the damage, I decided to see if I could get replacement parts via the Home Decorators website. After poking around, I found that if you were missing parts you could email them and they would send you replacement parts. The problem is, I wasn’t missing parts. Mine were broken. And it was way past that little 90-day warranty thing. But that didn’t stop me from emailing them to see if I could get replacement parts. I fully expected them to send me an email saying something like, “Sure! We can send you the parts. We’ll just need $X for shipping and handling.” Which I would have gladly paid.

Instead I got an email from a woman named Shayla saying that while she was sorry I needed parts, it was their policy not to give them to me. As she put it, “Please note, we do not sell parts.”

So, I fired off an email back telling her how surprised I was that she was offering such crappy customer service and that I would happily shop elsewhere in the future. Oh, and I won’t mind telling all my friends not to shop there too – including the hundreds of people who read my blog on a daily basis.

Well, this not-so-veiled threat was apparently passed along because I got another email from someone named Eileen today apologizing at least twice for causing me inconvenience while reiterating their customer killing policy of me being out of luck once we’re beyond that 90 days. She finished her “you’re outta luck and we really don’t care” email with a “We appreciate your business.” It’s at that time that the water I was drinking while reading my email shot out of my nose.

Uh, no. If you really appreciated my business, Eileen, you’d find a way to get me those two little plastic hinges so I’d be more likely to purchase my next home furnishing item from your company. But now, since you screwed up, that won’t happen.

So, my Internet friends, please do me (and yourself) a favor and DO NOT SHOP AT HOME DECORATORS. Do not shop at the Home Decorators website: www.homedecorators.com.

Trust me, you’ll be much better off finding a company that actually values its customers. And if you know of a good home furnishing website, I’d be happy to know what it is.

The title of this post is from an 80′s song. Can you name the song?”


  1. The song is Paul Revere by the Beastie Boys.

    And, oooh I hate crappy customer service. My husband is very non-confrontational. I have been teaching him how to say, “may I please speak with your manager?”

    Sorry you’ve come unhinged. (I’m also sorry for that very bad joke.)

    Comment by mel from freak parade — January 22, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

  2. Thanks for the tip. I hate bad customer service. Me and Bank of America??? We’re not friends. I’m also not very fond of Sony (at least in the digital camera realm). Canon on the other hand… AMAZING service. TRULY amazing.

    Comment by Bree — January 22, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  3. First off, the title of the post makes me want to make “wiggy wiggy” sounds like the scratch of vinyl on a turntable. Second of all, your message about homedecorators.com is Duly Noted. We will go elsewhere. If ever we can afford to shop.

    Comment by memphislis — January 23, 2008 @ 6:26 am

  4. Ugh, nothing makes me madder than poor customer service. I recently had an issue with an online bank that I wrote about in my blog that I will no longer be using. I also had terrible customer service from a furniture store in Houston recently. I purchased a glass top coffee table and transported it back to my house several hours away. When we got home the glass top was shattered and they didn’t want to replace it because we were supposed to have checked it. So I wrote them an email complaint to customer service and they finally contacted me and said I could drive to a very scary part of downtown Houston to their warehouse and they would let me buy the glass at cost. I think your story topped that though. Maybe you could take the little plastic piece to a hardware store and they could help you figure out a similar replacement. Luckily hinges are pretty cheap.

    Comment by Someone Being Me — January 23, 2008 @ 6:50 am

  5. Thanks for the warning. I’m working on an customer non-service post too.

    Comment by Becky — January 23, 2008 @ 7:05 am

  6. I emailed them and told them that beacuse I had read your review, I would not be shopping with them EVER! I think we should all do this, then they can see the true power of word-of-mouth.

    Comment by Aunt Bean — January 23, 2008 @ 7:12 am

  7. Make sure you email them the link so they know what ass hats they are.

    And I’m currently looking to spend money on furniture for my home. Guess where I won’t be shopping? Thanks for the tip.

    (By the way, my son ripped the door off my television cabinet and I was able to find a suitable hinge at a Home Depot. It doesn’t match the other door hinge, but the doors hang straight now…Maybe try that since the HOME DECORATOR people are complete morons when it comes to customer service.)

    Comment by Redneck Mommy — January 23, 2008 @ 7:24 am

  8. The lack of customer service anymore annoys me to no end… and I copied what Aunt Bean did above and emailed them to say I would never shop their two Chicago-area locations or the website.


    Comment by Kemp — January 23, 2008 @ 7:42 am

  9. Thanks for the warning. I can’t believe a manufacturer wouldn’t give parts like that. They’re idiots.

    Comment by Darren — January 23, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  10. So noted, will not be shopping there!

    Oh, you know who has bad customer service. Toys R’ Us! Seriously! They have a “no receipt, no return” policy, which I can understand at a certain level (since they have probably been burned in the past by people), but when I called them to see if I could return a Dora Chutes ‘n Ladders game that Ane received for her birthday from friends (and she’d already gotten the game for Christmas), I was told no. EVEN though it has a sticker on it stating: “Exclusively available at Toys R’ Us!” They don’t even have a customer service email link on their website – you have to call their 1-800 number to complain about anything.

    So, anyone want a Dora Chutes ‘n Ladders game?

    And furniture-wise, when you have small children, you can almost never go wrong with IKEA.

    Comment by Deanna — January 23, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  11. I also sent them an email. I referred them to your blog site and suggested they read your entry. I also informed them I would not shop with them. I get their catalogs also.
    Have consided buying things from time to time. Not anymore!

    Comment by Aunt Raina — January 23, 2008 @ 10:21 am

  12. I’m all for IKEA :) Thanks for the warning, I also fired off a snippy little email to the company just for being asshats!

    Comment by Tiffany — January 24, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  13. I say go for IKEA too. Washable covers, but still look and feel grown up.

    Comment by Julie — January 24, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  14. I can’t believe you are going to give up the early Toys R, US look for a more conventional look AND downsize from 4 play rooms to 3…but I digress.
    Let’s hear it for Good Customer service! It’s a good thing they don’t have a brick and mortar site cuz I would have to put down my Mai-Tai, put on my sandals and ask the pool boy to save my chaise lounge and go over and give them a piece of my mind. Aloha

    Comment by Grandmother — September 2, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

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