The Start Of The Order Is Only The Beginning

, , , , , | Working | January 31, 2020

(I am renovating a house so I do considerable business with the local hardware store. Trying not to be overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, I tend to get the things I need one or two projects at a time. One weekend, I decide my projects will be to build the shelves in the laundry room and to power-wash the front deck. Friday night, I go to the website for the hardware store and order the supplies for the shelves for in-store pickup the next day. Saturday morning, I check my email and see that they’ve received the order. I set up what is needed to clean the deck and get started, finishing around 11:00 am, and check my email. Nothing. That is disappointing but I have a small garden chore that I can tackle. I finish that at noon and check my email again. There is an email saying my order is ready. I get cleaned up and sit down for a leisurely lunch. At 1:15, I head for the hardware store. Just before 1:30, I am standing at the pick-up desk waiting for someone to get off the phone to help. He hangs up and asks my name.)

Clerk: “Okay, that will be a little while. They are just starting.”

Me: “I got an email over an hour ago saying it was ready.”

Clerk: “Yeah, well, we’re busy on the weekends so they haven’t finished it.”

Me: “I’m busy, too. That’s why I ordered ahead. I got an email an hour ago saying it was ready. Are you telling me it hasn’t been started?”

Clerk: “They send the email when they start it.”

Me: “They shouldn’t send the email until they finish it. But it isn’t a huge order.”

Clerk: “We’re pretty busy so it will take a while.”

Me: “If I came in and picked out ten 2x4s, two sheets of plywood, and a package of nails, it wouldn’t take me more than twenty minutes. The email was sent over an hour ago. The email that said it was ready. Don’t you think it is ridiculous to send that email before an order is ready?”

Clerk: “Yeah.”

Me: “Cancel the order.”

Clerk: “But it will be ready soon.”

Me: “Clearly not soon enough.”

(I went home, extremely annoyed, and called the store asking what the policy was for in-store pickup orders. I was told that they do actually generate the email when they start the order, not when they finish. I emailed the corporate office to spell out why that is not helpful. I also ordered ready-made shelves from another company. The small cost difference was well worth not having to get out the saw and drill or clean up the dust. I don’t have a lot of choices for hardware stores in this town but when I’m in neighboring towns, I’ll often stop by stores there to pick up things I need. I’d guess my total spending at the local store has dropped by over 70%. It will make very little difference to their bottom line but I feel better about it.)

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