Shopping on-line can be a crap shoot. Sure, those photos and descriptions are enticing, but will the product really be the same once it arrives?
That’s why I try as much as possible to order from retailers who have a local brick-and-mortar store in case I need to do a return.
That’s assuming the product arrives in the first place, of course.
Newly purchased houses are needy things, as anyone who has ever bought a home can tell you. You do your best the one or two times you see the house prior to purchase to calculate how much money you will actually need to buy it and make it livable.
But there are always small things you miss.
When viewing our new home prior to purchase, we noted that both the front and side doors were very solid and had good storm doors, but never considered the fact that the side door has a large old-fashioned window that could easily be broken should a burglar wish to get in. Estimates for a new door were out of our price range, considering all the other work we still need to do.
So, hubby suggested we install double locks and a window guard. The locks were no problem – there are lots of local locksmiths, and we had them within a day. The locks must be keyed from both sides (no dead bolt), so someone trying to get in would need the key to open the door, even if they broke the window and reached around to the inside.
Unless the burglar was small enough and agile enough to climb through that side door window.
A family discussion ensued. We live in a good suburban neighborhood. A minister lives next door and generally is around during the week when we’re working. The people on the other side either work nights or don’t work at all – at least, the father is generally around during the day keeping an eye on things. Bars on the window would make us feel like we were living in the city. But bars on the window might also make certain members of the family feel safer.
The appearance of safety won out.
The locksmith did not have a window guard. He said they used to carry them but stopped for some reason – possibly because most suburban houses don’t need them or were built with windowless doors. We checked the all the local hardware stores, and they had nothing in stock that would fit the window and seemed strong enough to keep anyone out.
So, we went online. After extended searching, we finally found a window guard at Lowes.com. Looked strong enough, the perfect size for our window, and affordable.
Within minutes of ordering, an automated response arrived that the order was received and was being processed. Two weeks later the order was still “being processed” with a notation that an email would be sent once the item was shipped. The delivery deadline came and went with no email that shipment had been made.
Then one weekday at about noon I received an email that my order was available for pickup at my local Lowes store. Yay – apparently got there without actually being shipped, but who cares?
Two hours later I got a second email from Lowe’s telling me that shipment of my order had been delayed and asking for my patience while the order was processed.
A couple of days later, I got an email from Lowe’s reminding me that my order was awaiting pickup at the local store.
Not willing to leave anything to chance, the following Saturday morning, hubby called the store to verify that the item was, in fact, there. He was put on hold for an extended period of time while they “checked” – and eventually he was told that yes, they had our order.
Our local Lowe’s store has the on-line order pickup area in the front of the store where the returned items are also processed. It’s a very small area. When we arrived Saturday afternoon, someone had returned a toilet, someone else had returned a double vanity and mirror, and there were also returns of flooring and ceiling tiles. There wasn’t a whole lot of space left, and there were a lot of customers either picking up or returning.
After scrambling over and around returned items, we eventually got to the cashier. She took our order number and called to the back for an employee to retrieve our order from “30A”. Twenty minutes later, that employee was apparently still retrieving. Ten minutes after that, said employee came to the front to advise he could not find the item. I told the cashier that they apparently had it just that morning because they told us they did. The employee was sent back with instructions to find someone to help him look.
Twenty minutes later, the same employee returned to the front of the store and began looking all around the counter, the surrounding area, and throughout the returned items awaiting restocking. Eventually, he admitted defeat. We were, needless to say, not happy. We had been standing in the same spot for way longer than either of us was used to, or leaning on returned items to take some of the strain off our feet. Puppy Cody was at home waiting for her dinner and her walk. We had just wasted an entire afternoon that could have been spent in much more productive activities.
I told the cashier to take my number and call me when they found the order. We left the store.
It’s the next day, and I’m still waiting for that call.
Never again will I order anything from Lowes.com. That was probably the worst on-line shopping experience I’ve ever had.
Puppy Cody is now responsible for watching that side door, at least until we can find a window guard or afford a new door. She’s not a little dog and does her job well. Anyone who tries to shimmy through that window is going to get his (or her) face (or ass, depending on what body part comes through first) bitten off.
PS: Please forgive the blurry photos. I dropped my camera once or twice and the focus isn’t as crisp as it used to be. If the house doesn’t suck up every penny I have left, I hope to buy myself a new camera at some point down the road. Please be patient while I process that intention.
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom