Barbaric Yawping · Honey Bear · Sweet Home

On Suddenly Having a Social Life, Now with Bonus Staples Story!

I am a party people, apparently.

So I have been SOOOOOOO delinquent in posting this week, I know.  Next week’s Monday Miscellany will be the collection of 3 weeks worth of linky love – prepare yourself!  And I owe you November’s Tranche de Vie, for which I have photos languishing on my phone.  Bad blogger, bad!  This week has been a little insane, though.  Actually, this whole month has been crazy with the social life.  I don’t really know what to make of it.  Is this to be our regular life now, or is this just a fluke?  In November, we’ve:

  • gone to book club dinner (that’s just me, no Dave-o there) at Millmont Grille
  • gone out to dinner for my birthday at Tavola
  • gone to a cocktail party
  • gone to dinner at another couple’s house
  • had friends to town for lunch (at Tip Top), football, and post-game tailgating
  • gone to Chili’s to watch Monday night football
  • gone to happy hour with my co-workers (again, just me, though D was invited) at Beer Run
  • gone to happy hour with a bunch of people we didn’t know and one person we did at Blue Mountain Brewery

Those last four?  Those have all happened since this past Saturday (which would be why I have not posted this week until now).  AND we’re going to a friend’s birthday party this Saturday.  All things have been fun!!  But we’re both introverts, and that’s a lot of being social for us.  I foresee us hermiting up a little between Thanksgiving and Christmas, saving our social selves so we’re very pleasant for our families and friends at the holidays.  🙂  Will this social schedule last?  I don’t know.  Maybe it really took 10 years for us to start building a social network.  Slower to do so because we are so introverted and always relied in the past on our extroverted best friends (neither of whom live near us anymore) to drag us out.  We’ll see how things go.

Now, some of you probably saw my Facebook post earlier today about how annoyed I was with Staples.  I need to vent, so I’m going to share the whole story.

When I asked David what he wanted for his birthday, he said he wanted a way to organize his comics.  Boring, perhaps, but I was all for it – his comics have taken over our guest room, 100%.  I can barely get to the gift wrap under the bed because there are 500 piles of comic books on the floor in front of the bed.  And the closet.  And one of the bookshelves.  But special comic-organizing cabinets and drawers and such (yes, these things do exist) would be VERY VERY VERY expensive for the number of books he has.  We found some websites devoted to storing comics in legal-sized filing cabinets.  These are also not cheap, but they are considerably cheaper than other solutions.  We went into the guest room and started visualizing a complete reorganization, one which would necessitate getting rid of many things we never use that are in there, making room for these cabinets in the closets as well as an additional bookshelf in the main part of the room.

I was working on a hefty academic text at the time, the proceeds of which would pay for all of this.  I finished the book and ordered what we wanted – three high-quality, sturdy legal-sized filing cabinets, three nice bookshelves matching the ones we already have in our living room (they were on super-cheap sale for such excellent shelves, and we have two crappy ones in the guest room we wanted to replace as well as the third one we wanted to add), and a small two-drawer letter-sized filing cabinet to replace the cheap plastic filing box all our important papers are currently in.  A lot of heavy stuff, in other words.  In my order, in the place for delivery notes, I made sure to indicate – as I usually do for anything big – that we are on the 4th floor of a condo building with no elevator, and the delivery people should be prepared for hauling the stuff up the stairs.

The order confirmation noted that delivery was expected on Tuesday, 16 November between 9 am and 5 pm.  I could sign a driver release, but then they’d leave all this crap outside our door, clogging up the hallway that we share with 3 neighbors, not to mention that David and I would then need to somehow get it all inside when we got home.  No thanks.  So I arranged to work from home on Tuesday.  They didn’t come, and they didn’t come, and they didn’t come…until at 4 pm, I got an automated call saying the delivery was delayed and was now expected the next day.  Press 2 to cancel your order or 3 to talk to someone.  Well, no, I didn’t want to cancel it, but I sure as hell wanted to talk to someone!  She apologized and promised they’d talk to the delivery folks to get an estimated window that was shorter than “between 9 am and 5 pm” and give me a call the next morning to let me know what the plan was.

I hadn’t heard from anyone by 9:15 am the next morning, so I called Staples again.  I was again assured that they were communicating with the delivery company and would call me as soon as they had an estimated time.  They told me the problem the previous day was that the truck broke down.  I had a meeting at work at 3:30 that afternoon, and when I got out of the meeting at around 5:15, I called Staples again because I hadn’t heard anything.  This time she said the address was not found (really? because Google knows exactly where it is) but that they’d redeliver.  She apologized over and over, and offered me a $50 credit off a future order.  I asked if I could have it off of this order, and she said she didn’t have that authority, so I said fine, send me the credit.  She promised to send an urgent message to the delivery company again and to have them call me to tell me when they’d arrive and to call me if they had trouble finding the address.

At 11:45 this morning, a guy called.  He could barely speak English, so we had some trouble communicating, but I finally worked out that he’d be at my house in 5 minutes, so I booked it from work to home.  He was waiting when I got there – all by himself, with no dolly or handtruck that could go up stairs, and half my order.  Now, the delivery form he gave me to sign clearly said that the 3 bookshelves were a 2-man item.  The Sauder website (Sauder is the manufacturer of the bookshelves) says that each package weighs 130 lbs.  He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said, “Too heavy!”  To which I replied, “What do I need to do to get my order up to my house?  Why did they send you alone?”  Poor guy shrugged again and grabbed a carton and went to it.  Seriously, these boxes are so heavy it’s hard for me to slide them on my floor, and he’s toting them up 2 flights of stairs by himself.  After the 2nd one, he shyly asked if I could help him with the 3rd one, and I didn’t want to be heartless and tell him no, so I did.  I thought I was going to DIE it was so heavy, even sharing the load with him.  But we got it in, and he brought up my 2-drawer filing cabinet by himself.  I asked if he knew where my other 3 filing cabinets were, and he indicated they might be on another truck, he wasn’t sure, and he left.

I called Staples.  I was on the phone with them for a very long time, trying to figure out where the rest of my stuff was and reaming them out for using a company that would send a poor guy, no doubt not making much money, who could barely speak English or read the delivery forms out to deliver incredibly heavy packages by himself without the right equipment.  I was furious.  And I told them, it was not his fault and he should not get in trouble, but maybe his manager should.  Anyway.  While I’m on the phone I look at the packages, and for some reason, Staples has labeled them as going to a place on the first floor!  What the hell they were thinking, I do not know.  Anyway.  So the 2nd guy comes about an hour later, and he looks skeptically at me when I tell him the boxes have to come up to the 4th floor, but to his credit, he just did it.  At least he had a dolly that he could use on the stairs, and the filing cabinets are not quite as heavy as the bookshelves (more like 100 lbs each).  These boxes also are marked as a first floor delivery.

So now I’m still pissed.  I got all my stuff.  I haven’t unwrapped it to make sure it’s not damaged – but it damn well better not be.  But I got it 2 days late, after staying home from work all day on Tuesday to wait for the delivery and then missing 2 hours of work today for them to bring everything.  And for my trouble, I got to carry a bookshelf up 2 flights of stairs, be very aggravated, and – oh yeah, a $50 gift card.  We never order things from Staples, so THAT’S really useful.  Do you think it’s worth my time to fight with them on this?  Should I complain some more, try to talk to some managers and get a bit of a refund off of this order in lieu of the gift card?  Or should I just be happy it’s finally all here and they gave me SOMETHING for the inconvenience rather than blowing me off the way most customer service departments seem to do these days?

UPDATE:  I waited a few days, because I wanted to unpack everything and make sure nothing was damaged.  There were a few minor dents and scratches, but nothing so bad that we were willing to go through the hassle of exchanging it.  So today, Tuesday, 23 November 2010, I wrote a long letter to Staples Customer Service, detailing all the difficulties I had with the order delivery.  It was basically the same information as above, but I couched it in a more formal tone.  I requested a 10% refund, and I submitted the whole thing through the Contact Us form on their Customer Service webpage.  Guess what – less than 3 hours later, I had a response in my email from their Customer Service department, indicating they had processed the 10% refund to my credit card and noted in my account for future reference that our home is on the 4th floor.  No fight, no fuss, just an apology and acknowledgement that it wasn’t acceptable and the refund exactly as I had requested.  Well played, Staples.


4 thoughts on “On Suddenly Having a Social Life, Now with Bonus Staples Story!

  1. Definately complain again and ask for more off the order. If the person you speak with doesn’t have the authority-ask for their supervisor. Continue to ask for a supervisor until you get some satisfaction. I know it is not your nature-but be a bitch. A persistant, firm, polite through gritted teeth bitch. My most recent experiance was with Verizon and it payed off but cost me 2 + hours on the phone. Staples probably had a 600% mark up on the stuff you bought so they can afford to give you 10% off your total order or waive all delivery costs or whatever you think is fair. Good Luck!!

  2. Yup. It’s definitely worth your time to complain to someone with “authority” about this. While you’re at it, can you find a doctor who will say that you injured yourself carrying those heavy boxes up the stairs? I kid. I kid.

    1. I just wrote an update into the actual blog post above. The short and sweet version: I asked in writing for a 10% refund, they said yes. No arguing, just an apology and a refund. AND I think the $50 credit will still work. Woo!

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