Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Baffroom Advenshure, Part Too

Our opening salvo in our war against our crappy master bathroom was to order a new tub and toilet. We didn't want the full one-piece shower/tub unit because they are almost universally no good. We also didn't want the tub with the massaging hot tub jets, cause as soothing as they might be they're also not the easiest things to clean and have much potential for leakage.

We chose a large, white, acrylic tub both comfortably wide and deep and with an upper drain as close to the top rim so as to allow maximum soakage potential. Toilet, likewise. And we ordered them from a national online big-box retailer that offered free shipping on both items. (We thought this was astounding, as we expected shipping on a tub and toilet set to be pretty nasty. Further confusing the issue was the fact that their site mentioned nothing about free shipping, leading us to believe it was a mistake. After a call to their headquarters and a day of research on their part, revealed that it did not seem to be a mistake and we were advised by the company to take advantage of it before they came to their senses.) Despite the unfortunate problems that followed upon delivery of one of the items--again, unrelated to any shipping charges, which remained free--I will refrain from naming this company here as they went above and beyond the call to make things right for us.

The toilet was first to arrive. One of the boxes looked to have sustained some damage in transport, so we carefully photographed it before opening it. The toilet was fine. As solid a shitter as you'd hope to get and pretty comfy-looking, even minus the seat. A week later, the tub arrived.

With DHL down the bankruptcy tubes, a number of smaller delivery companies have jumped in to take up the slack. I suspect the folks that delivered our tub fell into this category, because they seemed very very very eager to please. They phoned me up the morning of delivery to let me know they were planning to do so, asked if noonish would be good and got directions to the house. And despite the fact that some assclown recently ran over the one street sign at the entrance to my neighborhood, the driver found the place in good time.

At the very start of our interaction, the driver was very careful to give me a card which explained that their service was only interested in complete and utter customer satisfaction. Furthermore, they might phone me up in a few days to do a customer survey so I could rate my experience with them on a 1 to 10 scale. The text indicated that they would not be pleased with anything less than a 10. This might explain why the driver seemed almost terrified of me from the start. He was all nervous smiles and forced amiable small-talk, always with an eye in my direction for any sign of utter customer dissatisfaction. After giving me his card, he passed me a delivery sheet and showed me where to sign and noted there was an additional place to sign if I didn't want to inspect the tub before he left. He then carefully unloaded the massive tub box, wheeled it into the garage and placed it where I asked.

The box looked perfect, with barely a nick in it. I went ahead and popped the staples on it and opened the flaps to reveal my new tub.

"Well, that's looks like a tub," I said. At first glance, it seemed to be in pristine condition and was far wider and deeper than the one it was to replace. I shook the driver's hand and, relieved, he climbed into his van and set about doing his side of the paperwork.

Damaged tub
As I walked back into the garage, though, I noticed something off about one end of the tub. At the end where I had been standing when I opened the box, there seemed to be a goodly chunk missing from the edge of the tub itself. Upon closer inspection, I could see that, yep, the edges were not smooth on that side at all. The missing bits didn't seem to be broken off, but just not fully formed, as as though something had gone wrong in the molding process. (Click on the image at right to see the illuminated issue.) It struck me as possible that the incomplete edge would eventually be covered by wall-board or tile, but I didn't like the idea of paying what we paid for that tub and having bits of it missing. Also, I knew the wife would never stand for it, so I'd better take care of it now.

I went out to the van and gestured to the driver. Nervously, he opened his door. I told him I didn't know what his procedure would be, but that I was pretty sure I needed to send the tub back as it was damaged. This was maybe a poor choice of words on my part, because from the man's expression I think he nearly wet his pants. His eyes shot wide and he looked very dismayed.

"No, no," I said in soothing tones. "I'm pretty sure it wasn't damaged in delivery. It looks like something just probably went wrong at the factory."

We went back and looked at the tub and the man agreed it was not complete. I asked if he could hang on while I called up the big box store and asked what to do. Big Box was very helpful, told me I could refuse delivery on it and they would refund my money. They then arranged for a reorder on the same model tub at a 10 percent discount, complete with free shipping.

Two weeks later, the same nervous driver arrived, gave me another copy of his company's delivery-service-mandate, ever-so-gingerly removed the new tub box from his van and then seemed worried that his hand-truck might not be gentle-enough to wheel it into the garage. To ease his dilemma, I offered to help carry it inside and assured him, again, that the previous problems had not been his fault in the slightest. Upon opening the box, my new tub was revealed to be gleaming and perfect. The driver seemed relieved, particularly after I checked the Accepts Delivery box on his form.


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