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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Category: Home Improvement

    Stupid customers still have to live somewhere. While we applaud them for sometimes wanting to make the place look nice, please don’t assume flat-pack furniture comes ready out of the box, or that power-tools are named as such because they need power! They make Tim The Toolman Taylor look like Frank Gehry!

    Adjourning A Returning

    | NY, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Home Improvement

    (I manage a furniture store. A regular customer is the wife of the owner of several car dealerships in our area. Over the years she has made many purchases, always custom orders from the factory, and not once had accepted the original piece. Sometimes chairs have been reordered multiple times before she would find one she found acceptable. I see her working with one of our designers. After the sale was written, I cringe when I see she has ordered a recliner in the most expensive leather we carry. I decide to develop a plan, as we would never be able to sell this chair if she returned it. On the day of delivery, I approach the drivers.)

    Me: “Bring the chair to the showroom, please.”

    Driver: “But we have this down for delivery.”

    Me: “Please, just bring it in. You’ll see.”

    (The drivers bring it in, and I take a hammer and smash the frame of the swivel base. I then hand the drivers a new swivel base.)

    Me: “Please deliver the chair with the smashed base.”

    (Of course, on delivery, the customer saw the damage and insisted on a new chair. My drivers took the chair to their truck, replaced the damaged base and brought the same chair back into the house. She accepted the chair. That was the first (of many) custom orders she never returned!)

    Charity Begins At Home Furnishing

    , | London, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Home Improvement

    (As a charity shop, all items are donated to us. The staff are volunteers and so do not receive wages. The money made from sales goes to our cause; in this case, the care of the elderly in a local home. I approach a customer that has been looking at a sofa for some time.)

    Me: “Can I help?”

    Customer: “This sofa, isn’t it a bit expensive?”

    (Customers sometimes try to haggle or cheat us, so I’m not surprised so far.)

    Me: “Well, even though the sofa has no signs of wear and looks to be new, it has been heavily discounted. It would be triple the price from any other shop.”

    Customer: “Yeah, but this is a charity shop.”

    Me: “Yes…”

    Customer: “So I don’t see why you can’t just give it away.”

    Me: “…”

    Customer: “I rent out property, you see. I get more if the places are furnished, but if I have to buy the furniture…”

    Me: “We can’t just give things away. We raise money for the charity, which cares for elderly people.”

    Customer: “Yeah, but you get this stuff for free.”

    Me: “… “

    In A Very Angry Slate

    | Oklahoma City, OK, USA | Bad Behavior, Home Improvement, Wild & Unruly

    (A customer is trying to return a flat cart loaded with at least $400 worth of slate tile. I work as an inventory manager at this particular store.)

    Customer: “I need to return this tile.”

    Returns Associate: “Do you have a receipt or at least the box this tile came in?”

    (The customer had neither, so the return could not be processed. The argument went back and forth until finally the customer stormed out of the store. He left his cart of slate tile by the front door, then got into his vehicle and drove it in front of the store. I assumed he was going to load everything back into his vehicle. Instead he dumped the tile onto the ground and moved the cart inside. He got back in his truck and drove it over the pile of tile, back and forth three times, then sped away. All of the employees watched this with wide eyes. We grabbed a couple of trash cans and loaded up the broken pieces. I asked a manager if I could take any of the whole pieces of tile home and was told I could. I was able to completely tile my front porch with all of the whole tile! The customer could have easily sold his tile to any of the contractors or resale shops in the city but instead decided to ‘show us.’)

    Shouting Out Hot Gas

    | North Rhine Westphalia, Germany | Crazy Requests, Health & Body, Home Improvement

    (Our call centre deals with emergency calls from people who smell gas in their homes.)

    Me: “This is [Company]. My name is [My Name]. What seems to be the problem?”

    Caller: “Uhm, yes. I just wanted you to know that it smells strange in my basement. I think it may be gas.”

    Me: “Okay. Please give me your address, open all windows, and avoid plugging or unplugging any electronic devices. Our on-call service will be with you within 30 minutes.”

    Caller: *gives address* “… Wait, did you said that you will be here in half an hour?”

    Me: “Yes, as requested by law.”

    Caller: “Wait, no! I can’t stay at home. You need to come later! Can’t I make an appointment?”

    Me: “This is an emergency line. Once you reported the incident, we have to act. You can’t leave your house now.”

    Caller: “But my son needs to see his music teacher! He’s going to be the next Mozart. You’ll see!”

    Me: “Still, you are not allowed to leave. In case you won’t be there, we have to cut your gas line due to secur—”

    Caller: “NO! You won’t come NOW! This is your customer’s service?! I will tell all my friends and no one will ever call you again!”

    (After that she hung up. Fortunately, the mechanic met her at the door and could check her installation. It was leaky. She still refused to stay, so we shut her down. She wasn’t pleased.)

    Going Totally Off The Wall

    | CA, USA | Extra Stupid, Home Improvement, Top

    (I work for a company that builds homes and develops land. As per California law, we warranty our homes for a ten-year period after the house is bought. Our warranty covers structural defects.)

    Me: “Warranty. [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Hello, my house has a structural defect. I want you to fix it.”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am. Could you give me your address? And what exactly is the defect in question?”

    Caller: “My address is [address].”

    Me: “Okay, I see you in our system. Could you tell me the problem, and I will see what I can do about entering a ticket for you.”

    Caller: “The walls are not strong enough. You have to send someone here to put in better walls.”

    Me: “The walls are not strong enough? Are they bowing, or cracking?”

    Caller: “No, the ones that are still standing are fine.”

    Me: “The ones that are… still standing…?”

    Caller: “Yes. I wanted to remodel to make my living room and kitchen one big room, but it was too expensive. I saw a demolition crew do wall removals on those home improvement shows, so I just got a chainsaw and cut the wall out myself.”

    Me: “Okay… so you ‘remodeled?'”

    Caller: “Yeah! But then my house caved in.”

    Me: “… Ma’am, are you saying you cut down a load-bearing wall in your home with a chainsaw?”

    Caller: “Well, I didn’t know it was load-bearing. But this is clearly a structural defect! The roof caved in, and I’ve been living here for 16 years! I could sue you for endangering my life all this time!”

    Me: “Ma’am, it was not a structural defect.”

    Caller: “How can you say that?! THE ROOF CAVED IN!”

    Me: “Because you chopped down a load-bearing wall!”


    Me: “Your house was under warranty for 10 years. Your house is 16 years old. It was structurally sound until you made it structurally unsound, by CUTTING OUT A LOAD-BEARING WALL WITH A CHAINSAW.”


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