Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Squeaky Wheel Gets The Greasin'

Mike Judge, creator of the cult classic Office Space also produced another little cult classic called Beavis and Butthead. Now, there's not much that you can take away from that show, but I did get a one-liner stuck in my head:

The character Tom Anderson (who sounds remarkably like Hank Hill on another MJ production, King of the Hill) said, "If you get bad service, you've got to complain. Squeaky wheel gets the greasin'!"

And what better way to complain about bad service than through a blog read by tens of people!

Being the Christmas season and all, we decided for the second year in a row to take a family portrait and have it printed onto a Christmas card so that we can send it out to friends and family. This way, we think, everyone can see how big the kids are getting, and how much older we're starting to look. You know, all that fun stuff that a cheesy family portrait printed on a Christmas card provides.

Well, the portrait session itself was a nightmare. You see, procrastinating until right before Thanksgiving (which is like 4-5 weeks before Christmas) was a bad idea. We could not get an appointment at Photo Innovations (great place to take pictures, btw) or anywhere else in town before we left on a little vacation over the T-giving break.

We did finally book a photo session at the Sears Portrait Studio in Findlay, OH, which is maybe 45-minutes from my house, and was on the way to our destination. How lucky were we??!!

Well, as it turns out, we weren't all that lucky after all. You see, we started on the road driving in the first major snowstorm of the season, so the drive between our house and the store was extended. And, our appointment was right in the middle of the twins' naptime. And, Sears was running like 45 minutes behind (we had gotten there about 30 minutes early--seems the drive wasn't that bad after all). And, the twins did not want to get dressed (after we arrived at the store).

When we finally got into the studio, the twins did not cooperate. And, the photographer had a quota of shots that she had to take in order to try to upsell us on all of the great photos that are always taken after the boring "package" photo.

After about 20 minutes in the studio, we told the photographer that she had to give up because the babies did not want to be there any more. So, she had us sit in the lobby area so they can show us the pictures, and we can put together an order.

Well, maybe a half hour after that point in time, the temporary employee who was assigned to show people their pictures and take orders finally got around to sitting down with my wife (I was outside in the store walking the kids, trying to keep them from crying). And according to my wife, the temp didn't know what she was doing, and had to keep asking the supervisor questions.

So, two hours after our appointment time, we finally got back on the road, sans Christmas cards. You see, Tina specifically made an appointment at this Sears because they offered in-store printing of pictures (like Photo Innovations). What they don't tell you is that it's an extra per-sheet fee to have them printed on-site, and that Christmas cards are not included. Yup, we would have to wait about a week to get them.

Well, one week came and went. My wife gives them a call, and they insist that the order should be shipped and we should receive them before December 7 (which is like 2 weeks after the appointment).

December 7 comes. No pictures. Tina calls Sears. They will ship that day.

December 8 comes. Tina calls to confirm that they have shipped. Sears has no idea. No, wait. Sears says that they haven't even been printed! WTF!

December 9 comes. Tina calls to confirm. Sears has no idea. I've got a pissed off wife onhand.

December 12 comes. Still no cards. Christmas is two weeks away and we've still to receive the cards (and then mail them) before the holiday comes and goes. Tina goes over the store manager's head and calls the Sears customer service center. It seems that they can somehow force the store to print them on-site (albeit, the resulting cards will be of a smaller dimension) and then the store can overnight them to us.

"Heh," I think to myself. "If only the store would have printed them that day, then I wouldn't have to blog about HOW CRAPPY OF SERVICE WE'VE BEEN GETTING!" No wonder K-Mart owns Sears...

December 13 comes. Findlay Sears swears that they're going to "Overnight Air" them to us. I wonder how that's going to work, since the store is a 45-minute drive from my house. They'll probably ship them UPS, truck them to the air hub in Louisville, KY, and then realize that they don't need to go onto an airplane, truck them back to Toledo, OH, and place them onto a local truck. Oh, and we're supposedly getting a 20% discount.

December 14 (today): NO PICTURES! But, they were "definitely" shipped out this morning by "Next Day Air". Oh, and get this: the customer service rep refused to escalate Tina's phone call to a manager because "there's nothing more that they would be able to do for [her]". Umm, here's a note for anyone in a customer-facing role: That was definitely not the right thing to tell an upset customer.