Lowes Down Dirty Deal

I bought a washing machine recently.  It just a small one to go between the sink and the tub in my bathroom, 1 cubic foot tub in the washer, even had faucet hook-ups.  It was clearly designed for an apartment, which is what I live in.

I own a dryer, but hadn’t been able to find an apartment-size washing machine for under $700.  This thing was only $250, add in taxes and all that and it was just under $300.  So I bought it and they told me it would be in from the warehouse within two weeks.

The following week we giddily chattered about all the laundry we can do at our own house without having to spend a whole day going somewhere to do laundry at my in-laws’ house, or spending a fortune to go to the Laundromat.

I have to wear a uniform for my job and they only give me a certain number of shirts and pants: Two a piece.  In the end I generally wear one shirt and one pair of pants for a week, then throw them in the laundry, and then wear the other shirt and pants the next week.  Eww, I know.

So anyway, I wash both sets every two weeks on one of my days off.  It takes all day because we do all the laundry.  And because of my uniforms Laundromats are out of the question.  The shirts are white and we always have a fairly small load of whites.  It’s two dollars to wash two shirts, two undershirts, and maybe a pair of white socks; not including the two dollars to dry it if we wanted to dry it there and the cost of detergent and all that.  And it would still take all day to do anyway.

So the second weeks passes and we’re getting to the day we should have our new washing machine in.  I was patiently waiting for my call from Lowes to tell me it was in and that we would be able arrange delivery soon.

Then I get the call…Drew from Lowes calls to tell me, on the day it was supposed to come in, that there was a mistake.  Turns out the warehouses listed it wrong; it shouldn’t be listed as in-stock in the warehouse.  Why not?

BECAUSE IT HASN’T BEEN BUILT, YET!

That’s right…it’s a model that’s not in production, yet.  The company who makes it hasn’t even built one, yet, and won’t build one until mid-May.  So let’s look at this timeline…

April 11th, I paid $300 for the machine.

April 25th, I get a call telling me that they just that day discovered it hasn’t even been built yet.

May 15th, is the date Drew from Lowes tells me they will begin production and then two weeks from there (roughly May 30th) I can hope to expect to actually get it.

So, needless to say, I’m quite perturbed by this.  The earliest I can get to Lowes is April 30th, but they want me to call them back and tell me if I want a refund or if I want to go ahead and keep the order going.

I decide that taking two weeks to find out that the item I’ve bought and already paid money for isn’t even built, yet, is unacceptable.  I’ll take my money back, go to Home Depot a little further down the road, and buy a similar item from them, instead.

So I now have a goal that I’m not letting up on for anything: I want my refund in CASH.

I’m not taking store credit, I’m not trading it in for a different model that actually is built, and I’m not even going for having the money be put on my credit or debit cards.  I want cold, hard, cash.

So last Monday I headed down to Lowes and went to customer service.  Now before I get too far ahead of the story, let me tell you about my night before.

Sunday night I get off work at 11:30pm.  I go home and go for a relaxing walk with my fiancé, we know we have to get up early for the trip to Lowes (earlier than we usually do, at least), so we cut the walk a little on the short side and we end up going to bed early, too.

My fiancé took Benadryl to help with the itch caused by her severe eczema, so as soon as her head hit the pillow…she was out and in deep sleep.  I lay down beside her, snuggled up to her, and couldn’t stop thinking about ‘tomorrow’.

We went to bed about 3:00am.  I finally got to sleep at about 6:00am.  We were planning on getting up at noon and I finally got tugged out of bed at about 3:00pm, an hour or two later than I usually do (I work mostly second shift).

So I’m lacking in sleep, I feel miserable, and I’m pissed off.  We get dressed and I put on the same socks I was wearing the day before…because I haven’t been able to wash my socks and I’ve run out (on account of the fact I don’t have a washing machine -_- ).

My fiancé disarmed me before we left.  She made me shed the pistol, the pocket knife, and even made sure my fingernails were clipped (fearing my attempts at throat ripping).

We walk in and everything seems to be going smoothly.  We tell the lady at the Customer Service counter our situation and she sends us back to the appliances section.  We tell the guy at the appliance counter and he checks the situation to tell us, “Yup, the warehouse still says it’s in stock.  We have a similar model in stock, too…but it’s the same company so I’ll bet they haven’t built that one either.  You want me to switch the order over to that one, leave the standing order, or issue a refund?”

With no hesitation I gently said, “Refund.”

“No problem, follow me back to up to the customer service,” and we were all back at the front of the store, right by the entrance, where I wanted to be for strategic purposes.  You see if they try to screw me over, I wanted to be right at the front where I could cause a ruckus and create a scene.  The squeaky, flaming, destructive wheel gets the cash, or however the old saying goes.

That’s when he told me the bad news…my refund would be store credit.  To which I corrected him, saying that my refund would be cash.

“Sorry, since you used a gift card we can only refund it with store credit.”

We purchased $300 worth of gift cards from Giant Eagle to get the fuel perks, then went down the sidewalk to Lowes and bought the washer, figuring it would show up in two weeks’ time.

I told the gentlemen that I refused to settle for anything less than cash.  He told me there was nothing that could be done, but I wanted to waste my time with a manager he could get one.

I humbly thanked him…whilst I throttled the desk with my dominant hand.  The manager, who looked younger than me, approached introduced himself; his name was Matt.  Between the appliance worker and myself, we summarized the situation to Matt.

“Why don’t we just refund it as a gift card and cash out the gift card?” Matt was brilliant.

That is until corporate rules got involved.  Apparently mischievous thieves liked to purchase gift cards from giant eagle for the fuel perks, then walk over and cash them out, having spent no actual money at Lowes.  So cashing out gift cards was not allowed.

Now Mat was stuck between a Rick and a hard place (see what I did there?).  And that hard place was growing nearer to being the $300 worth of vandalism I was planning to commit on my way out to make our debts equal.

He tried refunding it as store credit, cashing the store credit out as a gift card, and then cashing out the store gift card as cash.  Turns out you can’t buy gift cards with store credit.

This was about the time I began dropping the penultimate slew of F-bombs and accusing the store of theft.  It was also about the time I began to lose feeling in my right arm, because I was still strangling the desk the whole time and we were about fifteen minutes deep in this pile of ever-growing shit.

The only thing that had kept me calm so far was the reassuring presence of my fiancé beside me.  But even now I was nearing my breaking point.  She had at least kept me from ripping any throats out, so far.  But she would not deter me from causing a path of destruction through this store, that Hades himself would blush at, if not for—

“Can we do an upgrade?”

What the hell is an upgrade?

“You go back to appliances and pick out any washer you want and it’s yours,” stated Matt sheepishly.

Sure, they’re going to take me back to the scratch and dent and let me pick out—

“Any washer you want, brand new,” assured Matt, “I’ll price-adjust it for whatever the store credit amount is and you walk out without even pulling your wallet out today.”

…well I was speechless.  I looked to my fiancé to make sure she heard the same thing I had.  She ferociously asked, “Can we get it delivered?”

“Of course, free of charge,” replied Matt.

 

“…yeah, uhh, okay; I’m cool with that,” I less than ferociously responded.

So we headed back into the appliances where he singled out a handful of washers, “Anything you want, these ones are a little bigger than what you had ordered before, but if size isn’t a problem we’ll okay any of these.”

So I picked out a nice $600 washer and we arranged delivery for the following afternoon after the appliance worker’s hesitant, “Uhh, is tomorrow afternoon acceptable?”

I’d seen on the screen that it was the earliest available time, that and I didn’t feel like waking up before noon just for the delivery man.  So I agreed that it was a good time.

So in conclusion, as a high school essayist would say…you win Lowes, you have kept a customer.

~RCS

Of course just to spite them I bought the hose hook ups I needed from Home Depot down the road later that day.

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