We are currently 2/3 of the way thru a free trial of SuriusXM. There are only a limited number of channels available, but fortunately for me my favorite channel is of of those. But I’m not listening to it much though. Maybe it is my memory, but I think I’m getting a lot more signal dropouts than I did back during the initial 6 month trial and the couple other previous 2 week trials. They have been happening almost every time I pass by a bunch of trees on the west side of the car. Maybe as a way to cut cost they have dialed back the signal strength a notch.
Today in the mail was their letter telling me that if I have enjoyed my free trial I should consider signing up for the next 6 months at low price of $25. I ain’t buying.
As part of the kitchen remodel that spread out over nearly the whole house we needed some new living room curtains. We shopped online and found some we like at Lowes. We went to the store and they had them on the shelf, but only in the 84″ length and we needed 95″. To make sure these were what we wanted we bought one panel in 84″ to take home and hang.
We like ‘em. I go to Lowes.com to order 6 panels (its a big window) and there are 3 delivery methods, Store Pickup, Lowe’s Truck Delivery & Parcel Shipping. Store Pickup is free. Parcel Delivery is for whatever reason grayed out and listed as unavailable. Truck Delivery is $79!, roughly half the total cost of the 6 panels themselves. Guess which one we “chose?”
A week or so later when we get home from work there are 2 messages on the answering machine. Both are from Lowes, 2 different voices, letting us know are order can be picked up. It was the night of the monthly MMC meeting and this month it was in Aiken, so we decided to leave a little early and pick up our curtains before hand.
We go right to the service desk as that was how it worked last time. I tell the woman behind the counter, “I’m here to pick up an internet order.” She asks for my phone number and she enters it in the register. She then looks behind her into the cage on the wall. She looks back at the register. She glances at the phone. Back at the cage. The register. The phone. She sighs. She picks up the phone and pages a Mrs. Someone. We wait. She takes a couple steps back and glances at the cage again. A guy shows up behind the counter. She looks at him. She looks at the register. She looks at the phone. Donna corners the second individual and wants to know what is taking so long to retrieve our order. He says he’ll check and off he goes. We wait some more.
The person who was paged finally makes an appearance and we let her know that this is unacceptable. We had two separate calls telling us our order was in, but no one can seem to find it. She apologizes and says, “I’ll go see what is happening.” We wait. The original woman behind the service desk is looking nowhere and especially not at us. I’m so mad at this point if they showed up with the curtains now I might just walk back around to the other side of the service desk that is marked RETURNS and get my money back. Instead we leave the store, leaving who knows how many people looking for our curtains, so we can make the Miata Club meeting.
An hour and a half later we return to Lowes and the woman behind the counter recognizes us and picks up the phone right away. She says someone will be bringing our curtains right out. We wait. Every minute, minute and a half, we would here conversation coming our way and each time it wouldn’t be our curtains. It took over 5 minutes before they finally arrived. We left very disappointed in the experience vowing to shop at Home Depot from now on. And swearing we won’t ever do the ship to store thing ever again.
Donna likes this one style of pants from a certain label for use at work and always has at least 4 pair hanging in her closet. They are permanent press of some sort of polyester that wears like iron, so it is usually 4 or 5 years before she needs to replace them. This year was the year. They’re sold at JC Penny and Belk, so it is usually a simple matter of going to the mall, trying on a pair or two until the right fit is achieved and we are out the door.
But this was the year that we couldn’t find any in Belk and only find 2 pair in JC Penny. So we took the info off the tag of one of the pairs of pants and went looking online. JC Penny had them in stock. Placed the order, selected ship to store to save a few bucks and waited.
The invoice said to expect delivery in 5 to 7 working days, so weekends and Good Friday were out. On working day 8 Donna called the store to see where her pants were. They should be here in a couple days came the response. Sure enough, on working day 10 (calendar day 15), we received an email saying her order was ready for pick up.
At least in this email we are told where to go to get the order: See any Associate (this is helpful as I’m sure we would have first tried the area where you used to pick up catalog orders.) When we get to the store we go to the check out in the ladies department where there are 2 people working. Donna hands the printed email to the first lady and says, “I’m here to pick up an internet order.” She says, “I’ve never done one of these before.” Lady #2 says, “It’s easy you just go in the back and it is on those shelves.”
We follow Lady #1 as she heads to a different part of the store. As she is passing through the shoe department Lady #3 asks what she is doing. “Getting an internet order.” Lady #3 says, “Ooh, can I come with you? I’ve never been able to find one of those.” Donna and I settle in some chairs in the shoe department expecting a prolonged wait. But in less time than it took for the guy in Wal-Mart to find our microwave, the ladies returned with Donna’s pants.
When we get home there is a message on our answering machine. JC Penny called to let us know Donna’s order was available for pick up.
When it came time to buy the microwave for the remodeled kitchen, Amazon had it available for $130 with free shipping, but Wal-Mart online had it for $100. If I had the microwave shipped to me it would have cost $15 and then I would have to worry about the UPS man leaving the package on the doorstep at home or having it come to work and then toting it home. I could save that shipping cost by having it delivered to the Wal-Mart just down the street and get it at my convenience.
When the microwave got to the store I received an email letting me know I could pick it up. So after dinner one night Donna and I made the short trip. When I walked in I was unsure exactly where to go to pick it up, so I started at the Service Desk. Of course I was first in line, but both CSRs were helping people. They were already helping them when I walked up and they were still helping them after 3 or 4 minutes. Finally the one closest to me has to page a supervisor, so when she puts down the phone to wait for a response, I butt in, “Excuse me. I’m here to pick up an internet order. Is this where I should be?” “No,” she says, “It is in the back of the store.”
As we walk to the back of the store we see the giant lettering on the back wall “e-Store” or something like that. There is a big alcove back there that looks like it used to be used for Layaway. Unfortunately it also looks like it used to be used for the “e-Store” as well, as it is vacant. Attached to one of the cash registers is an 8–1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper with the phrase “Pick Up Internet Orders In Electronics” hand lettered on it.
When we get to Electronics there is no one manning the desk, so we hover for a minute or so when we notice a lady just standing there. Eye contact is made and she offers up, “He’s in the back checking on something for me.” After a minute or so the store employee shows back up and when his short conversation with the women is over, turns to us and asks how can he help. We’re here to pick up an internet order.
“What’s the order number?” I hand him the email. “I don’t see the order number on here. What’s your phone number?” I give him our home phone number. “I still don’t see anything.” I volunteer my work phone, still nothing. “What’s your last name?” I spell it for him. “Email address?” I’m not sure if he found anything or not, because he asks what size box is he looking for. I say, “Small microwave,” and off he goes.
We wait for his return. We wait. And we wait. Finally after about 5 minutes (which seems like 15) he comes back with our box.
The day after the tardy, sans writing utensil, carpet estimator showed up to measure the room, I received a call from Lowe’s, my estimate was ready. $445 and change.
Huh? Mentally doing some math in my head, carpet 144 sq/ft at $1.28 per plus 52 cents a sq/ft to install is around $250. With tax I should still be under $300. So I asked the girl on the other end could she break it down for me. There was 156 sq/ft of carpet (I asked for this so we could cover a little step going into the kitchen) so that is and additional twenty bucks. There was an additional $47 for the extra labor of covering said step. That seems a little high for amount of work, but that still leaves us in the middle $300 range. Then there was an additional 35 dollars for floor leveling compound and $45 for adhesive. I told her that my floor didn’t need leveling and she said she would have a Mr. Howard from the installation company call me.
So Donna and I started whittling away at some of the costs to get the price down to a manageable level. Forget the extra foot of carpet, I’ll just paint the step. No leveling and a favorably installation date & time and we would go for it. And WTF, the installation cost didn’t already include the glue? For the 52 cents a sq/ft they were basically trimming 5” off two sides and laying it down in the room? I’m betting the installation cost you see advertised in the store for wall to wall carpet doesn’t include the tack strips either.
Mr. Howard never called me, but the Lowe’s girl left a message on my work phone the next day to the effect that she had spoken to him and he said if the floor wasn’t leveled we ran the risk of seeing or feeling the joints in between the flag stones of the existing floor through the carpet.
Because I never got to speak to Mr. Howard I never got to explain to him that it is not real flagstone, it is some sort of hard vinyl outdoor flooring from the fifties that is a fairly convincing simulation. There is a difference in height between the “stone” and the “grout”, but it is measured in thousandths of an inch and in no way would be felt through even the thinnest carpet applied over it. And had the mental midget who measured, looked down at something besides his tape measure, he would have noticed the swirly glue residue left behind from when we had pulled up the previous carpet and maybe realized that the floor didn’t need leveling.
So what now? We are into Lowe’s for $51 for the measurement visit, but thirty-five of which we would get off the install charge if they did it. The other $16 was for an asbestos check that was spent on our estimation guy using his Jedi mind powers to look for this problematic material. Either that or he can smell it because we didn’t see him do anything except unfurl his tape measure twice.
So we did the smart thing, cut our loses with Lowe’s, found some commercial carpet we liked at Home Depot for 85¢ a sq/ft, bought a tub of glue and some fresh blades for my box cutter. Total cost, is under $200 because my labor is free and that even includes the $51 we threw away.
(coming soon: Home Depot carpet buying experience & Lowe’s Ship to Store fun)
We decided that it was time to update the carpet in the “computer room.” It was put down at the same time that the carpet in the kitchen was, probably 15 years ago. It had two circular spots matted down in two of the four corners from the computer chair sitting on it for long periods of time. A couple years back we broke down and bought a chair mat, not so much to protect the carpet, it was too late for that, but to hide the most worn spot.
At first I was going to do it, then we thought maybe kitchen contractor guy would do it, but in the end a Lowe’s sub contractor will be doing it. They want just 50¢ a square foot, which in our case amounts to less than $75. Cheap enough.
They charge $35 to come out measure the room or in our case $50 because our house was built before 1978 and they need to check for asbestos. That cost will come off the installation charge as long as you do get them to install the carpet. We hope this guy is better at measuring than the last guy.
We scheduled an appointment for measurement today and was given a time range of 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. We went into work a half hour early for three days, so we could make up the 1–1/2 hour off we left the plant today to make it home in time for our appointment. Three o’clock. 3:15, 3:30, quarter to four, 4:00 PM, nobody shows. Ten after four Donna starts calling numbers to find out where the measuring guy is. At 4:13 a red pickup pulls in our driveway.
He comes in and apologizes profusely for being late. Two quick measurements and he’s done. Pulls out his pad and starts patting his pockets. “Could I borrow a pen?” he asks. Sure you can, Donna hands him a pencil and I roll my eyes.
At least he didn’t leave a mess…
The final cabinet (the 24″ Drawer Base replacement) arrived Wednesday afternoon. Donna pulled the duty of coming home and waiting for this piece seeing as I had done it on Tuesday for the 3 wandering cabinets. Those showed up in a Lowe’s branded truck handled by Lowe’s employees in Lowe’s red vests.
This single piece, like the major portion of the order before it, arrived in the back of a Budget Rental truck manned by folks in jeans and tees. At least the first bunch found the house fine. For this guy I had to talk him in like a stewardess landing a jumbo jet after the pilot has had a heart attack. Even with me guiding him he still made a wrong turn and 5 minutes later after not seeing my next landmark had to make a u-turn.
We were supposed to be stop 5 according to the dispatcher, but this guy must have skipped #4 because Donna said that he had to climb over a bunch of boxes to get to our one item. He then nearly dropped it while moving it around in the truck. But eventually the cabinet made it in to our garage and in spite of all my imagined scenarios of what could have been wrong with it, it was fine.
Donna then had to call his next delivery appointment (possibly #4) and find out where she was, so Donna could direct the truck driver. He claimed his GPS was broken, but judging by appearances we think that maybe he just didn’t know how to operate one.