Sunday, August 13, 2006

Washer & Dryer Retail Drama



One of the challenges of home ownership is ongoing home maintenance. This episode involves replacing an old washer that got tired of spinning today. So off to Sears in Bellevue Mall I go, but the clerks were too engrossed in their Sunday conversation to come off their public leaning perch to walk over and be of assistance. So I do a quick walk through and do a mental price check.

There is no such thing available as a $200 washing machine either! Those days are gone forever. Scratch & Dent at the Sears Outlet Store on Thompson Lane is my next destination. I exit off of Amory Drive and before I know it, I'm heading to the Mothership BBQ - just shows that my mind is on autopilot for some good BBQ instead. So I do a turnaround and walk into the dimly lit warehouse where washers after washer are lined up begging me - "Pick Me! Pick Me!"

The prices start at $419.00 and up to $1000.00 for those hip front-loading models. After doing multiple laps around the place, I settle on a model with the minimal amount of scratches, blemishes and dents. After a phone consultation with Mrs. WonderDawg, we'll pick up a dryer later to keep the cash flow manageable. I go to the front counter and try to reason with the gal to get up off her chair and at least page a salesclerk to help write up a ticket. I must have had my retail customer mask on as she just pointed to the back of the store. Twenty minutes later, I find a clerk on my own; she writes up a ticket and tells about a half price deal on any dryer with the purchase. Perfect!

Twenty minutes, no sales clerk in sight. And the place probably had 20 plus customers with the same challenge. I find another gal who simply had no interest in helping me, but she begrudgingly wrote up the ticket.

So, I make arrangements to place the items on hold for pickup and payment Monday as they charge $50 per appliance for delivery within three days. No thanks, I work for a living.

I'm headed back home and suddenly it dawned on me that for $728.00, I should stop at Lowes in West Nashville and check out their prices. I walk right in, and Alison comes bouncing right over and tells me about the perfectly new Westinghouse washers and dryers. Ten minutes later, I make the purchase, pay for the items and make arrangements to pick up the items Monday in factory sealed boxes.

The contrast in my customer service experience was day and night. For the same price, I upgraded to new appliances in boxes, switch brands from a Kenmore to a Westinghouse and got treated with dignity. So my question is Sears not paying their help decent wages to wait on their customers or is it lack of training? And if you really hate your job so much, why are you working in a retail environment where you have to interface with people?

Online shopping rules.

photo credit

1 comment:

SistaSmiff said...

A couple years ago, when we needed a new washing machine, I went to the Rivergate Sears and had a way overly zealous sales person that scared me so, I ran.

I think we ended up at Lowe's too.

A new washing machine almost makes you want to do laundry. Almost.