Thursday, December 23, 2004

Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks Edition) Volume One

Bumped to top of Queue

Funny thing about customer service at Sears. They don't have any. If customer service means "serving your customers", Sears simply gave up this practice years ago and replaced it with its inverse. Let's call it "Sears Employee Service". It works like this:


When the lovely wife (LW) and I married, my mother gave us a washer, a dryer, and a service contract on them from Sears. LW and I moved to Houston. Part of the service contract was that they would come out to our new place in Houston and hook up the washer and dryer for us. Pretty neat deal, I thought. Problem one: we had to schedule a service call almost three weeks in advance.

The spot for the washer and dryer was a really tight fit and the vent hole out of our house was on the right side of the dryer. The service guy came out took one look at the external vent and said he couldn't do it because we needed a plastic hose rather than a metal one. The plastic hose would come out of the back of the dryer, snake around to the side and go connect to the external vent. A metal one won't. They are not allowed for insurance reasons to install plastic ones.

So when LW got home I told her the story. She said: "Why didn't he just run the pipe out of the side vent on the dryer". Turns out the dryer has the ability to vent out of either side or the back so he could have hooked up the metal piping he had. Problem two: the Sears service guy either didn't know about this feature or knew about it and completely blew us off by trading on my ignorance of the feature.

I called the local store (the one that dispatched the service guy.) The woman on the floor said that no dryers had side venting capabilities. Problem three: the salespeople on the floor in the correct department not only don't know their product, in true anti-Aristotelian fashion: they don't know that they don't know their product.

I asked to speak with a manager. She questioned me about the model number etc. then also suggested that there was no side venting hole. I explained to her that I literally had my hand in the hole as we spoke. She said I was lying. I am not exaggerating here. She literally said: "That's not true, you are lying about that". Then she asked if the hole I was looking at was jagged or scarred in any way. This stupid question, it turns out, was designed to figure out if I had PUNCHED A HOLE IN THE SIDE OF MY DRYER (I kid you not). After about 15 minutes of this sort of nonsense, she actually looked up the model number I provided and found out that indeed there is a side vent hole. Problem four: they waste your time dealing with nonsense even if you can provide them helpful information.

Having established the point that I had made almost half an hour ago (15 minutes with dimwitted sales rep and 15 minutes with clueless manager), they kicked up the customer service level a notch (See Volume Two).

Volume Two here

Volume Three here

Volume Four here

Volume Five here

Volume Six (conclusion) here

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