Tuesday, July 12, 2011

gutter madness

The delightful flurry of activity continues, with Doug finally being in the mood to put gutters on our house after six long years of not having them.  However, the past two days' attempts to buy what we need so that we can finally have these gutters has been less than delightful.

Yesterday I drove all the way up to the Gaithersburg Roof Center to pick up some gutter hanging brackets and clips.  Doug had called ahead to make sure they had what we needed so I thought it would be a relatively short and simple errand.  Wrong.  For starters, somebody misinterpreted something Doug said so they had to look up the number of the proper part, which took just about forever.

Finally they said they had those in stock, so I paid for them, got my ticket and went out to the warehouse pickup area to get them.  The first guy came out, looked for them for about five minutes, came back, shrugged his shoulders, and said "We don't have them."  That's it.  The second guy was sure he'd be able to find them and spent a lot of time conducting a thorough search, but still came up empty-handed.

He escorted me back to the service center where I watched them all act is if  the fact that the inventory was showing something that the warehouse didn't have was the main area of concern.  After they finished discussing that highly improbable situation amongst themselves and got over their indignation at the realization that an error had occured, they finally realized that I was still standing there waiting patiently, apparently for nothing, and they said "Now we're going to have to credit this back to your card" like it was my fault that they had sold me something they didn't have in stock that I had driven all the way up there to buy, based on inaccurate information they'd given out over the phone.  There was not a single word of apology or regret over the situation.  The only impression I got about how they felt about it was that I had inconvenienced them in some way and that they were doubly annoyed because they had to deal with the existence of their own incompetence.

I didn't say anything - I've been in plenty of situations that have been far more challenging to my patience than this one was.  There are plenty of people out there who will not take responsibility for any errors and that lack of caring is what causes sloppy work to happen and also eliminates any perceived need to apologize for the sloppy work.  That kind of attitude makes it impossible for those kinds of people to be conscientious in any way.

So no apology for that mess.  I will give him credit for offering to call the other Roof Centers to see if they had what we needed in stock.  He found out that I could get the parts I needed if I went to two other stores, so I left feeling momentarily hopeful that I would be able to get this taken care of relatively quickly the next day.

Unfortunately Doug's phone calls this morning to the two individual stores to verify that they really did have what we needed resulted in us temporarily going back to square one because they actually didn't have everything after all.

So we decided to give up on the Roof Center and try our luck with Seamless Gutters.  They said they had everything we needed so I went on up to their store in Gaithersburg and bought the brackets and the clips and took them home, happy that there'd been such an easy solution to the previous day's frustrations.

No such luck.  They entered the order correctly but put 6" brackets in the box instead of the 5" ones we needed.  They weren't labeled in any way and although I looked to make sure they were the kind we needed, I did not notice that they were an inch too big.  The size difference is not noticeable when there are 40 of them piled inside a cardboard box, but they need to be the right size and they weren't.

After lunch I took them back and was full of hope that this would be an easy and simple exchange.  No such luck.  And of course they didn't have what we needed, and I again received a refund and no apology.  So that was two wasted trips to the Seamless Gutter place in one day.

I don't know what tomorrow has in store.  I have managed to maintain my usual veneer of calm over an undercurrent of mild annoyance at the huge amounts of my time that have been wasted.  The fact that I can take pride in my ability to remain calm in the face of rudeness and incompetence has kept me from losing it so far.  And I think any tendencies that I previously might have had to become frustrated in these kinds of situations have been severely dulled as a result of my experiences over the past six years.  It's either so constantly present that I don't even notice it, or I'm unable to feel it because what would be the point?  Or I'm now completely immune to frustration - who knows?  Maybe I'm just too tired to care.

Doug, on the other hand, is livid.  He plans to go up there and let them have it tomorrow.  I am worried that he will cause some sort of scene and they'll beat him up or have him thrown in jail.  He is very frustrated.   I don't know whether to accompany him in a show of support or not.  I don't like to see him acting the way he's going to act and sometimes my efforts to calm him down just make things worse.  So wish us luck!

Although my dealings with these people have been unsuccessful so far, I still believe that if you want people to help you, you've got to make sure they want to help you.  In other words, treat them with respect even if they don't deserve it.  Maybe that's my whole problem.


Meghann said...

How frustrating! You know they say that the almighty dollar speaks louder than anything, so I'd return it and take your money elsewhere, if possible.

p.s.-Tell Doug my husband would be devastated if he went to jail, because he wouldn't be able to buy any more mouth pieces!

p.p.s.-I've been following your blog for quite a while, my husband is a long time customer of Doug's. Hi!

Cyndy said...

Hi Meghann - Thanks for your note of sympathy! We did find another place to buy the parts, which needed to be ordered, so we'll be good to go in a couple of days. I am very relieved that we did not have to continue doing business with the place from yesterday.