MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD, December 24, 2019 – On December 13, After a technician told me that the old range could not be fixed and charged me $89, I finally bit the bullet. I headed to Lowe’s to buy a new gas range for my son’s apartment. In the process of buying the appliance, taking delivery and working through the installation process, the range ended up coming with a complicated but unexpected Holiday surprise.
The Holiday Adventure begins
Mr. Mahamadu Jawara found the best range to purchase. And, with a holiday smile on his face, he completed the sale, even giving me the veteran’s discount. He informed me that I would also need to purchase a new connection hose. When I got one from the display, he told me there was no need to do that. The store would add the new hose to the purchase price and it would arrive at the same time the new gas range was delivered. He also showed me that he’d added this information to the delivery instructions document.
So, we agreed. Lowe’s would deliver the range, plus the installation kit, free of charge, the following Saturday. In addition, they company would take the old range away. He alerted me that I needed to disconnect the old range from the gas line before the delivery truck arrived so everything would be ready to go.
On Friday my son and I labored to remove the connection hose from the old range. We finally had to cut it off, after shutting down the gas. Nothing is as easy as it first appears.
The delivery experience starts to go downhill
The next day, Saturday, things started to go wrong. I got a call early in the morning that the range had been delivered, sans the connection kit. As I arrived at the apartment, the delivery man indicated that the kit had not been included and that he had made a note of it. But this initial problem was what led to my unexpected Holiday surprise.
The delivery man also informed me that the range had a dent in the lower left panel that he had noticed and documented when he picked up at the Lowe’s warehouse. He suggested that I not reject delivery, but instead try to get a discount at the store. Since I had to go to the store anyway, I agreed. After a tip for having to carry the range up to the third floor and the old gas range down, he remarked, “Most people don’t tip. Thank you.”
I went back home to look for the receipt. Of course, I could not find it. The old people’s curse. We simply do not remember things, not even important things. Another unpleasant surprise. But I accessed my credit card web site and did find the charge for the stove. I took a screen shot and printed it as a secondary evidence of purchase.
Getting ready for the dreaded Customer Service Desk
As I drove to Lowe’s in Gaithersburg, I rehearsed what I was going to say to the clerk in the Customer Service desk. I armed myself with patience for what, no doubt, was going to be a major hassle. I also put on my Vietnam Veteran’s hat. Not only was I going to complain about an item that I had already paid for. I only had secondary evidence of the purchase to support my argument. Not a good sign.
As I arrived, the customer service desk was busy, as was the entire store. While I waited for help, the desk staff put in several calls for someone with the authority to resolve any given issue. People behind the desk looked seriously harassed.
I managed to work my way up to the front of the queue, where a Lowe’s staffer stepped up to help. I noted name tag on her company apron read “Denise.” When my turn came, I greeted her with holiday cheer.
“Good morning Denise. Happy Holidays.”
She smiled and responded,
“Happy Holidays to you too. How can I help?”
I presented my printed evidence of purchase and told her my predicament. She listened patiently and after I finished, she asked me, “Did you reject the delivery?”
I responded in the negative.
As the purchase turns
She got busy on her computer and found the information for the original sale. She then said, “Sorry, but you will have to get the connector kit, as I can’t leave my post.” She added, “Lowe’s will give you a 10% discount for the damage to the range.”
I thanked her profusely and offered to show her the photos I had taken of the damage. As I started to leave to get the installation kit, she asked me to wait for her to print the new receipt.
After getting the receipt I went up to the appliance department and grabbed the installation kit. I returned to Denise and showed her the kit. She checked it identification number against her information. Then, with a big smile, she told me I was all set.
I called my friend Carlos of “Los Pros” and asked him for help installing the range. He came over that afternoon and promptly hooked everything up. We tested the new connection for leaks. It was our lucky day. No leaks. So we decided to have a beer to celebrate the event. When I asked him how much he would charge me, he told me to forget about it. Things turned out alright in the end, despite the initial delivery mishaps. What seemed to start out badly ended up becoming a memorable 2019 Holiday surprise.
Good people turn a holiday nightmare into a delightful Holiday surprise
We are all ready to complain when things do not go our way, or when we perceive we have not been properly treated by this individual or that institution. But in this case, a transaction that started with a problem concluded on a positive note due to the kindness of others.
That’s why I’ve decided to publicaly acknowledge when someone treats me well, going above and beyond the call of duty to help me.
So thank you, Denise, Mahamadu, the delivery guys and Carlos, of course for this wonderful Holiday surprise.
And Happy Holidays to all.
— Headline image: Holiday image via Vecteezy. No attribution required.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is always surprised at the goodness of others and tries to return the favors. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).