Saturday, November 13, 2004

Not So Instant Gratification

I wanted a nightstand. I actually already had one, but a large fan was sitting on it, which meant nothing else could sit on it, therefore I actually wanted a larger nightstand.

Having purchased one at Lowes Home Improvement a few years ago (which my hubby snagged somehow, leaving me with a small nightstand with a big fan on it), I figured I'd check to see if they still had them.... and they did, according to their Web site.

Lowes is great, because they have a way for you to purchase the item on-line, then go in and get it. This is great for me because I HATE driving all over the world looking for things. I see that the nightstand is available for in store pickup, so I buy it, and as instructed, I wait for the confirmation e-mail, which arrives, and then we decide to go run some errands then pick it up, because their Web site says to give them two hours to get it to the Customer Service department.

We run our errands, then head over to Lowes. I hand the printed receipt to the customer service woman, she taps some numbers in... makes a phone call, then informs me that Lowes no longer carries furniture in their stores, it would take two weeks for it to get to the store. Excuse me? She points to the small print on the printed receipt that says "special order".

We've had this problem before with Best Buy. When the new Unreal Tournament 2003 came out, we found a copy at Best Buy on-line. It said they had two of them "in store". We waited for the receipt to get sent and then took off for Best Buy, where we stood in line (a big line) and were told "oh, it's not actually IN the store, it's actually IN the warehouse and it'll take 3-5 days to get it IN the store".

A.) When did "in store" change its meaning from "sitting in the store", to "anywhere BUT in the store"?

B.) In this day where packages are sent overnight, why does it take something anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to get somewhere? I can see if I was buying a hand whittled yeti tooth in the form of a rhino that had to be carried by a yak led by sherpas through the Andes mountains why it might take 2 weeks, but a nightstand that's mass produced and sitting in a local warehouse down the road?

C.) If customers came to a store and looked at an item, then wanted to buy it and were told "Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have that in the store, it'll take 2 weeks to get it here", there wouldn't be a lot of repeat business at that store, and yet merchants can't seem to grasp that this is exactly what they are saying to people who "purchase " items for in store pickup.

The only company that has mastered the art of "in store pickup" is Circuit City. You order it on-line and they even tell you if it's in stock, you drive over to the store, a conveyor belt spits out your purchases, the cashier scans the bar codes, bags it and you're out the door. PERFECT.

So, after telling Lowes to shove it, we drove around looking for a nightstand (which is the very thing I was trying to avoid), and came home empty handed. I then stole back my original nightstand, gave hubby the smaller one, and now have room to sit a cup of hot tea or a water bottle beside me at night even with the fan.

The only problem is... now hubby wants a bigger nightstand.

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