The Ongoing Struggle to Bring Laundry Units to the Homestead

So, there was a time when you could order appliances and have them delivered and installed fairly quickly. That is not this time. Due to the pandemic and the global political climate less resources are available and production of items is down. That means items are still available for purchase at this time, you just have to pay more money to get them and wait longer for them to arrive. I ended up waiting a total of 3 weeks for my washer and dryer after 4 attempts at purchase and delivery/install. I am scheduled to wait a month and a half for the refrigerator but given that i didnt obtain a working functional appliance until attempt number 4 with the washer and dryer i have to entertain that it may not arrive or be rendered functional when it is supposed to.

The ordeal began with me standing in the nearest home depot telling the employee what i wanted to buy. I did this because when i tried to buy the appliances online it said install and take-away wasn’t an option for these items. The customer service representative at the store said install and take-away was an option on all their appliances but you had to come into the store to choose this because when dealing with install they wanted to make sure it was done right and so would involve an employee rather than leaving it to the customer and the internet, especially since notes and gps latitude and longitude coordinates would have to be typed and sent to the third party contractor who was going to send a two man crew to do the install. I went into the store to let them handle placing my order not because i was lazy or entitled or didnt know how to put something in my basket and enter the credit card details. I put it in their hands because they told me that was how it had to be if i wanted install and take-away services. So, i didnt get to read all the product descriptions and order details before clicking “order”. I just kind of assumed they knew what they were doing. Looking back, the only way i could have avoided the mess that ensued was to demand the employee move aside from the computer while i proof read the order before she placed it. I don’t think i would have it in me to be “that customer” after all my experience in the service industry even now that i know the ending to this story. I am not the type of person to assume or imply somebody is incompetent at their job before i have evidence of this notion. So we did things the hard way, and i guess if i could go back to the beginning we’d be doing things the hard way again.

I walked into home depot having done my research and knowing exactly what units i wanted to look at. I had the details and prices of each contender in screenshots on my phone. I knew exactly what stacked laundry unit i wanted and i needed to choose between an LG and Frigidaire refrigerator. The first sign of trouble was when the employee could not figure out how to look up the item on the company website on her computer from the item number, price, or product details included in the screenshot. She scolded me for bringing her screenshots of the home depot website instead of actual pages of the home depot website. Having many pages open at once in the background of my phone drains the battery and so i had taken screen shots to save the battery life but honestly she should have been able to type in any number of details from the screenshot on her computer and pull up exactly what i was looking at when i took the screenshot from the company website in the first place. This detail is important so before i go any further i just want to say that when i walked into the appliance area i told the attendant, “i need to buy a stacked samsung washer and dryer unit and then also either this LG fridge or the Frigidaire fridge. I wanted to take a look at both, check them out, and decide which one i will go with.” Over the course of the next 40 minutes we had a lengthy conversation about how i lived in a tiny house and so the units had to be stacked, how the ones i was replacing were stacked, and how the units i was staring at were an inch or two smaller than my old ones, because i had side by side units to begin with but when i moved into the tiny house they had to be stacked. The attendant told me that this could not be because all the samsung stacked washing units were the same width and height. The only ones that were larger were the side by side units. I told her that i was aware of this and in fact i had stacked some originally side by side units which i was quite sure, and in the end accurate about, were a tad larger than the stacked units i was considering purchasing. I told her this would be a good thing because there was barely any room to scoot behind the unit in order to install it beside the water heater and i could use an inch more wiggle room for the install crew. So, the Home Depot was made aware that i intended to stack the units and i had no room to do anything otherwise in the dwelling they were destined for.

I was informed that i could have the laundry units delivered and installed in a week and a day but the refrigerator would be a 6 week wait. I agreed to each date and the woman asked me a series of questions, entered my payment info, and finished the order. She handed me a sheet of paper as a sort of receipt and order number packet. It was then that she notified me the washer, dryer, and refrigerator would all be arriving in 6 weeks. I shook my head in disbelief, “Wait a minute. You just said i could have the laundry units in a week and a day. Why are they coming in 6 weeks? Only the refrigerator was supposed to be coming in 6 weeks.” She shrugged, “Well, it looks like the company prefers to deliver everything to you at once so they dont have to come out multiple times. That’s just the way they like to do things i guess. Sorry about that.” I shook my head, “no, you told me i could have the laundry units in a week and a day. If i had known it was going to be six weeks i might have gone to another place or looked at a different unit. You cant tell me one thing, have it be another, and finish the order without giving me the option to make a decision. I want it in a week and a day.” I did not fancy using the laundromat for 6 weeks and i knew the banks around here were not going to give me any more quarters for those ungodly expensive machines. The woman pulled a coworker into the conversation and told him our predicament. He said, “Well yeah, that’s how they do it. What’s the problem?” She said, “well the problem is that it told her she could have the laundry units in a week and a day and she’s getting them in 6 weeks and she wants it when it said she could have it.” He raised an eyebrow and looked at her, “Well why’d you tell her that?” She said, “i didnt know it was going to do it like that.” He said, “the only way is to cancel the order, give her a refund, and then do the fridge and the laundry units in two separate orders. That’s the only way to get separate delivery dates.” So she cancelled my order and we had to refill everything out again to place two separate orders for the fridge and the laundry units in order to obtain two separate delivery dates. It took 7 business days for the $2,000+ charge to come off my credit card. They said it would take 2 business days after trying to convince me it was so fast it never even charged. I had to pull up my online credit card login on my phone and show them “recent activity” to enlighten them that they were not as lightening fast as they thought they were, it did in fact charge, and so i did in fact need a refund for the first order if they were placing the order a second time. So i walked away with two packets of paper…receipts for the appliances i had bought from home depot. I was bummed that i would be without a refrigerator for 6 weeks but excited that the laundry units would be arriving soon. I told myself this fact would hold me over and allow me to be patient about the refrigerator.

I will now take a moment to explain how the “window of delivery” works with home depot. They use a series of third party contractors to do delivery, install, and take-away services for their appliances. This means they do not actually set the window of time the delivery crew will be arriving in on any particular day. According to Home Depot the third party contractor has to contact customers the day before and notify the customer what window of time they should be home during to receive the delivery. According to home depot the third party company goes home at 7 pm every day, so if the customer does not hear from the company by 7 pm, they should call the home depot and the home depot will call the third party company (who has now gone home) to get the information for the customer. Call me crazy but i called at 6 instead of 7 to obtain the information from the guys that go home at 7. I figured there was a better chance of reaching them for comment if they were actually still standing in the building. Now home depot hates this because even though nobody ever calls me before 7 to tell me the window of delivery the day before, they feel one has to first give the company a chance to do so before calling to complain, and so one is jumping the gun in calling before the employees have left, because they havent not done the thing they are supposed to yet. This is where Home Depot and i cease to have a mutual understanding. Im not making a complaint. Im trying to obtain the information i need to go to work the following day. If the crew is coming in the morning i wont go into work until afternoon, but if the crew isnt coming until afternoon, i need to be at work before dawn. They dont seem to understand that im not just venting, im trying to function. On top of this you have home depot’s customer service employees under the impression that it is not their job to be the go between for the customer and the third party contractor that will do the delivery. I was told that they were busy with customers and i could call them myself. I asked, “great, with what phone number?” She seemed to think i had the contact info for whichever of the three companies they tended to oscillate between for deliveries, which they hadnt given me because the appliance section personnel told me to contact the home depot customer service desk and give them my order number and the customer service desk would call the third party contractor. If you ever want the worst customer service of your life and to be yelled at and told to hold up a bunch, just call home depot and need something. I was literally so polite to them but it always procured the same reaction; disdain and agitation.

So, delivery day. I waited eagerly in my rocking chair, a nervous wreck, thinking about all the words i would use to convince them and guide them when they called and said the gps took them to the wrong place and they were turning back to leave for the city. I waited the entire window of deliverability only to receive a text that the delivery couldnt be made and i should call the phone number to reschedule. I frantically dialed the phone number thinking foolishly if they were lost perhaps i could catch them before they got too far away and convince them to come back. The phone rang, rang, rang, and rang. After around 7 straight minutes of ringing i realized the phone just didnt have an answering machine and it was going to ring forever. Nobody was going to pick up. Enough time had elapsed that wherever the truck was it would be far away from here and all hopes of convincing it to return slipped away. I was immediately beyond furious, beyond words, beyond logic and reason. All my memories of handimen, roofers, plumbers, and repair men saying they were coming and then never showing because there were more jobs in the city and they didnt want to spend the gas money for just one job in the middle of nowhere so they never even attempted to come and just canceled repeatedly day after day bubbled to the surface and ran before my eyes in a whirlwind of rage. I dropped to my knees in the dirt and a visceral animalistic noise came out of my body. I wanted that truck. I’d waited all day for that truck. All day. I made sure that i was here, never left the house. There was no way that i was ever not here at a time that they came to deliver. I was here and ready all day. I paid for those units. I wanted those units. Today was delivery day. Here i was. Where were the units? Not here. And why? It didnt say. The text message was extremely vague. No human had called me to say, we’re lost or we ran out of gas, or the truck broke down, or one of our guys had a medical emergency, or we brought the wrong appliance. Nobody gave me any explanation as to why my house was still void of functional laundry units. For whatever reason they felt i didnt deserve to speak to a human or know the reason and a general text message stating that they couldnt come and i should call an unmanned phone number to reschedule would suffice. My house is 384 square feet. In order to ready the site for delivery and install i had followed the instructions. All my furniture was either in the yard, the car, or the shed in order to allow them an easy path to the units and room to work. Not only did i have to put this all back now, i would need to remove it again in order to give them access at some point in the future. I was so so so angry. It was the fact that they didnt tell me why they hadnt come and that they texted me and then had no one answer the phone when i called the number they gave. That was the part that broke my brain. I called the home depot customer service number. They called the third party contractor. The crew that had been scheduled to come to my tiny town to deliver my appliances had turned off both their cell phones and the gps tracker on the truck. Neither of their supervisors could reach them but their last known whereabouts were nowhere near my town and protocol was for them to call the customer, not text, if a delivery couldnt be made. I was additionally supposed to receive a text when they were two stops away, which i never did. Also, the phone number i was given to call to reschedule delivery didnt even belong to the contracted company. At first i was told the men would surely be fired for their behavior. I was satisfied with that outcome. They should. They lied. They never drove to my town and they knew they were doing something nefarious or they wouldnt have turned the tracker on the truck and their cell phones off. They just didnt want to drive all the way out here and instead of telling me that they made me waste my whole day and move all my furniture out and then back in. They deserved to be fired for their blatant disregard of my rights, efforts, or schedule. Good. Later i would be told the same crew was going to be sent out for the second attempt. I vehemently objected and refused. Wait a minute here. I thought these guys were going to be fired for their behavior. Not only are they still employed but you’re sending them here, to me?! I told the home depot customer service representative they had better not because if they came to my property to deliver the appliance and they were the same crew that pulled the stunt the first time i intended to hold a grudge and i would have a lot to say to them. Home depot would undoubtedly have to pay for a further delivery as if the guys even showed up they would not likely deliver and install with me giving them a piece of my mind for their antics. I suggested they send another two guys with one exception. I told the home depot customer service representative if they could produce for me a doctor’s note that proved one of the men was having a medical emergency that day and that’s why they were unable to make my delivery or spend any amount of time and effort explaining why or rescheduling, i would stand down and be courteous and hospitable during delivery. No such note was produced. They decided to send another crew. The third home depot customer service representative i spoke to said, “well obviously they dont work for home depot. They’re not home depot employees. We dont have any control over who they hire or fire. Why would you think they would be let go?” The first customer service representative also told me to call back after delivery had been eventually successfully obtained and i could speak to a manager about compensation because home depot would pay me for my time and troubles spent since i was having such a negative experience and it was primarily at the fault of home depot. Each time i called back i found that the previous woman who stated she was making notes in my file of everything made no such notes. The next customer service representative laughed at me saying, “why would you think you are entitled to financial compensation?” The third told me, “of course. We are prepared to offer you a full refund for your troubles. We’re really sorry we couldnt do business with you but we can get that all taken care of today and your order will be cancelled.” I put the brakes on that right away, “Hold up, hold up, i dont want to cancel the order. I need the units.” The woman said, “We’ll try delivering one more time and if it doesnt work we’ll issue you a full refund and you and home depot will have no current business dealings with one another.” I felt like i was being punished for the third party contractor’s behavior and the home depot customer service desk’s lack of charting skills. All that detailed info was reduced to “customer called; disgruntled.”

Two days later a crew calls to say they’re on their way…20 minutes out. I have removed all the furniture once again. The path is clear for them. I give them perfect directional instructions complete with landmarks. I tell them a chair will be outside with a paper taped to it that displays an arrow and says “delivery this way.” I tell them they can call if they get lost and i will guide them in. Im outside flagging them down. They arrive. They actually come to the property. I’m thinking, “now we’re cooking with gas!” Right? They back the truck up the dirt driveway and stop near the house. They open the back of the truck. They ask me how i am. I tell them im good and say, “boy am i glad to see you.” I thank them for coming. I lead them into the house and show them where the units go. The guy takes a look at the space and returns to the truck. He looks around the back of the truck. He jumps down from the truck and faces the house scratching his neck. He says to his partner with the clipboard, “hey she’s got stacked…”. The look on his face tells me immediately im not getting my laundry units today. He says, “Fuck man, every time in center point. Shit. The fuck man?” He throws the clipboard in the truck and climbs into the driver’s seat. I recognize that he’s now ready to go. I have to find some way to get him out of the driver’s seat and get this delivery back on track. The guy in the yard turns to me and says, “hey did you order a stacked unit?” I said, “yes.” He nods his head, “well they didnt give you one.” I immediately begin dialing home depot customer service. I told the crew to give me a minute to speak to home depot because i cant accept a side by side unit, it has to be stacked or i cant do anything with it in this space, so i just have to speak to home depot to see how theyre going to proceed before i know what to tell them. I ask them to give me a minute. The one guy yells to the other guy, “hey she’s not gonna accept delivery cuz its not a stacked.” I have one guy in the truck yelling, “let’s go man, im so f-ing done with this shit.” Im on hold for home depot’s customer service desk. Elevator music is playing in my ear. Im having a conversation with the guy who is now closing up the back of the truck. Im saying, “Hold on. Just give me five minutes. Five minutes is all im asking. Let me just at least talk to home depot and if they dont answer in 5 minutes you can go.” The guy in the yard takes pity on me. So the scene at my house when home depot finally picks up is there’s the noise of a now started truck engine, the one guy is yelling at the other guy from the driver’s seat to get in. The passenger is walking around my yard refusing to get in trying to buy me 5 minutes. They’re now arguing. The dogs are barking and snarling in the dog run. With the yelling, the barking, and the truck engine i can barely hear the home depot customer service employee when she answers. I would not say i was happy, speaking in a happy tone of voice. I would say my voice was probably a combination of frustrated and assertive but i did calmly explain the reason i was calling, that i had ordered a samsung stacked washer and dryer, the previous crew didnt deliver, the new crew finally came out and were here ready to install and they said the units were side by side and not stacked. The woman asked for my order number and i gave it. The one guy was out of the truck walking towards the other guy now trying to put him in the truck and he walks back towards my orchard a ways to get away from his comrade and buy me 2 remaining minutes at this point. There’s no way the woman doesnt hear all the yelling and barking and chaos going on at my end of the phone at this point. I thought she might have some sympathy for my predicament but she doesnt. Once again, she’s just mad that she has to deal with me in the first place. She says, “no ma’am. You were delivered the units that you ordered. Those are your units on the truck. None of our stacked units come in one piece. That’s why they’re called “stackable” because they are stackable. You just need the kit to stack them and it does not look like the stacking kit was purchased here on your order.” I responded in an indoor voice. It was a firm but not mean question. I was genuinely curious. I said, “well the lady that placed the order knew i wanted a stacked washer and dryer. why would you sell me a stacked washer and dryer without the kit to stack them?” At this point she began shouting at me, “Now you need to hold up and start yourself over. You can just start this conversation over again because i didn’t sell you any appliances and so i didn’t not sell you a stacking kit. I had nothing to do with that. You can start yourself over right now and come at me with a different tone or you can find somebody else to deal with you.” The one guy wants to go at this point and the other guy can tell by the way im holding the phone away from my head and the lady’s voice can be heard over the truck engine that im getting some sort of ratchet customer service from home depot. He unlocks the back of the truck and throws it upwards. The other guy stops in his tracks and gives him a look. He mutters through gritted teeth, “fuck you man”. He gets in the truck and slams the door. I ask the lady how we proceed in this situation. She says, “Well you will have to accept delivery of the units. They can take the old ones away and then at some point in the future when you possess a stacking kit home depot will send a new third party crew out to do the stack and install. I said, “okay and…” she cut me off and said in a loud and angry voice, “No i don’t have any idea when that will be ma’am.” I took a moment to collect myself, cocked my head, and found my voice, “okay, well you can just start yourself over because you said to me that i needed to start over and not be coming at you in any sort of way and so i’ll do you the courtesy of checking you when you do the same, because that was not my question. The question i was going to ask you was who pays for that?” She apologized and said i was right, she was going to start herself over. Then she said that i would obviously be responsible for the price of the stack kit and then home depot would pay for the new delivery. I was happy with this and joyfully exclaimed, “great. That sounds good. Can i have that in writing sent to my email?” Bitch went off….i dont even know what she said because i took the phone away from my ear once again she was being so loud. The bits that i got were that her word was good enough and she just fucking told me home depot would pay for it. When she was done with her rant she said, “im writing it all in the note right now.” I said, “you are writing a note?” She said, “YES!” I said, “okay, that would help.” She hung up. I turned to the man in the yard and he said, “so what we doin?” I answered, “turn the truck off, im accepting delivery, you’re gonna bring em inside, take the old ones, and im gonna tip you. Home depot will just pay for you to come back and install later once i have a stacking kit. Let’s go.” I motioned towards the house. The guy looked at me pitifully, “home depot’s gonna pay for us to come back out?” I said, “yeah.” He said, “they said that?” I said, “yeah.” He made a “psh noise with his mouth and said, “they aint gonna do that.” He said, “home depot done screwed you.” I said, “oh i know. It’s an ongoing process. They’re lovely. Every time i call all they do is bitch at me. They’re just wonderful to work with.” He shook his head. Later he would tell me he wrote down in his ipad note everything the lady screamed at me on the phone, including that home depot would pay for a second install crew and her word was good enough so i didnt need it in writing. He hollered to the guy hitting the side of the truck door saying, “lets go!” “Hey get out! She’s accepting delivery!” He turned the truck off and stepped out, fixing his disheveled clothing a bit, “really?” The guy said, “yeah.” The skinny guy then grabbed the dolly and got to work. They put the units in on the floor, took the old ones out to the truck, i tipped them each ten bucks for a 40 dollar install that couldnt be done and they were gone. I tipped the one guy because i appreciated all the interference he had run when i was on the phone with home depot. I tipped the other guy so he wouldn’t pull what the first crew did every time he saw the words “center point” on a delivery. I called the customer service desk again to give my credit card info to buy the stacking kit. It was the same lady. I know this because she answered the phone, “WHAT?! I just talked to you. You were the lady with the stacked washer and dryer what the f do you want now?!” Charming. I courteously replied, choosing to ignore her tone, “yes, the crew is gone now and i had a moment to think and realized i still need to purchase the stacking kit so ive called to provide payment details for that. She said, “oh no! You’re being extremely threatening and difficult and im not touching your credit card info with a ten foot pole. Ive put in your file that you are not to be helped with any purchases until monday. You’re gonna have to call back monday and speak to a manager to purchase that stacking kit because i don’t like your tone and ive deemed that you are disgruntled and must be handled by a manager for all further transactions.” I decided she needed some Jesus shoved up her butt but it wouldn’t behoove me to be the one to do it so i told her thank you for her help and that i’d call back on monday.

On Monday i called and the manager i spoke to told me she had a stacking kit for me to purchase and i could stack and install it myself. Apparently the woman had not written the note she said she would about home depot sending another install crew out and in signing for the units i had signed that i was acknowledging they installed them and there were no problems. She said home depot had no obligation to send out an additional install crew. I protested that the lady i spoke to on saturday had written a note. She said the only note written read, “customer called about washer/dryer; disgruntled.” She asked me to hold while she went and found the lady i spoke to on saturday. When she pulled me off hold i could hear the lady in the background ranting about what a bitch i was. The manager was telling her to go sit down and calm down somewhere, get a hold of herself, and stop dropping f bombs. She said that home depot would be paying for the third party contractor to come out and install my units, the earliest they could come was october 31, she had scheduled it for me, she put my name on the stacking kit and had it at the register, and wrote the phone number of the third party company on the box so i wouldnt have to speak to home depot customer service anymore. I could just speak to the company directly. I went and picked up/paid for the stacking kit. I met the manager. She was surprised how happy i was and said she thought i had a great attitude and she was sorry for all the inconvenience. She was happy i was upbeat about the october 31 date and would make it work. I thanked her and headed to the register. I left hoping october 31st would be the day things finally went right.

October 31st. Delivery crew came, stacked, installed, tested the machines, i tipped them well, they left. They were wonderful guys. They worked well together. They didnt tell me my house was dirty and i needed to clean it because of the amount of dust that had settled behind the laundry units (like the first crew did). They were quick, efficient, they showed up and had all the right tools with them, and they told me how to make the units last longer before they left. I really liked this crew. They were real people just doing their thing, making a living. No scams or nefarious things, no f bombs. The contracted company management read all the home depot notes and called afterwards to see if i liked the crew. I said i did. They were wonderful and efficient and on time. They asked if i would like them back for my refrigerator delivery in november. I said definitely. They said they’d send them. They apologized for home depot and told me they were glad i liked the two guys they sent and they’d send them for any upcoming further purchases. They said home depot would be sending a survey about their performance and that would be the only one documented but they just wanted to call themselves and see how their guys did since i’d had so many issues. I filled out the home depot survey. They got a good rating from me. I finally had functional laundry units in the house. I was happy. Happy, mesmerized, and exhausted.

Look at this mesmerizing sight:

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  1. Wow….

    I, too, live in the “boondocks” and my wife and I are in the process of ordering window blinds from….Home Depot…… hmmm……

    1. Lol! Good luck. I looked into using Lowes. They never ever answer their phones and they also use a third party contractor for delivery and install. I figured, if i had to go into town and stand in the store to talk to them every time i needed to, that would cause issues if i had trouble with the delivery people. Best buy has their own delivery crew…no third party. However, they wouldn’t do take-away. It was my responsibility to dispose of the old appliances. Also, because they have their own delivery crews and its supposed to be a better experience, other people had the same idea. The laundry units would have arrived in december and the fridge was sold out. As far as i can tell, this is just the experience as long as supplies are low and they dont have to provide good customer service because where else are we going to go? I guess, the take away here is insist upon seeing the screen before they hit “order”. You need to proof read it. Dont trust a verbal agreement unless its in writing because they have no intention of putting it in the notes. Also, take everything you know about tipping and throw it out the window. To get em back you kind of have to make it worth their while. Tip good and they may come readily next time. Home depot wanted to refund me rather than make the third party show up. When you live in the middle of nowhere, sometimes its worth parting with an extra 5 or 10 bucks per guy in order to entice them to actually show because home depot’s solution was, lets just not do business after all. Ive learned not only is it the distance that deters them, they have ideas about who theyre going to see…the kind of people that live remotely where there’s no one to tell them what to do or how to keep their yard are sometimes friendly and sometimes not. Anyways, good luck, hopefully you have less trouble than i did, and if you do have trouble take comfort in that if you keep persevering, they’ll deliver in the end. Just gotta keep after em, tip good, pray, and look at it as a journey rather than a single delivery date.

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