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Friday, July 27, 2018

A Tale of Two Idiots

By idiots, I’m talking about the web design and marketing folks for two online sellers of major appliances.

Washing machine went out in the “getaway” house – a place that isn’t visited frequently.   

A repairman (repairperson?) came, bowed his head and shook holy water on the old one and I wanted to get a replacement installed before leaving for a few weeks.

So I logged on.  Searched the majors looking for what I needed and found it.  A one-type-each white agitator driven top loading washing machine with 4 stars or better. $499 at one site.  It had a snipe that said “Today only, $479.”  That was better than the $519 on another site though both had free delivery. 

I took the $499.  Went through the process.  Stuck it into the cart and went through checkout.  At that point, it added $55 delivery.  I backed up, checked my work, and went at it again.  Same results.  Lo and behold the bottom of the page.  Phones manned (sorry, I just can’t say “personed”) till 2AM EDT.  I called. 

“I think I know,” the voice at the other end of the phone said, after I navigated the maze that they call a phone tree.


“The twenty dollars off put you below the four-ninety-nine minimum for free shipping.”

“So your discount is going to cost me thirty five dollars more than without the discount.”


“Can you fix that?”

He wasn’t even contrite.  “No.”

“Can you sell it at the regular price?”


“Well, can you do me one favor?”

“What’s that?”  Now he was bored. I could tell but I woke him up.

“When I hang up, would you send an email to your chief marketing officer, webmaster, and the crack MBA that’s overseeing your sales policies telling them that you lost a five hundred dollar sale and then explain what happened?”

There was a long pause then, amazingly, he asked, “So you don’t want the washer?”

“This call’s being recorded, right?”


“Then, no.  And further, this type of stupidity reflects on the entire company and makes me reconsider any future purchases from you.  Please tell ‘em that, too, would you?”  Maybe those weren’t the exact words.  I was a little harsher.

The call ended.  As I was talking, I was already on to the other tab.  “Five-nineteen it is,” I thought to myself.  “But look, free installation if I have them haul off the old washer.”  I was going to do that anyway so, good.

I went through the purchase.  During checkout, I saw the price change to $545 and change.  I looked around on the page.  Aha.  Here it is:  The free installation only applied if I bought their new stainless steel reinforced hoses at $29.99.  OK.  I get it.

Backtrack.  Tell them never mind on the installation.  I figured they still had to take out the old one to remove it.  Finally, I got through checkout – at least as far as the credit card.  There was no place for me to give separate delivery and billing addresses.

Well, look at that – a chat box popped up. 

“Enter your name,” it said.  So I did.

“Yes. Len.  Let me help you.”

I could put the whole transcript here but let me summarize.  He had a form pop up in the chat box that allowed me to pay.  Except.  Nope.  Didn’t like a different billing address.  For the heck of it, I tried entering the delivery address as the billing address.  That prompted a fraud alert text from my bank.

Tried a couple of other ideas and nothing worked but while chatter and chattee were at it, chattee was on the phone with his bank.  I explained what I was trying to do.  Well, the bank got it done.  It took about 15 additional minutes but it’s done.

So it’s in, did four fine loads of laundry in day one.  I’m happy except for the fact that it took me more time to buy online than had I gone the store.  Of course, had I experienced the silliness that they foisted upon me while in the retail establishment, I may have had additional charges from a bail bondsman. (Once again with the person/man thing.)

This just in:  I called a tree service a little after 5.  Got the answering service. 

“XXX tree service.”

“Is the service or their answering service?”

“Answering service.”

“Could you have them call me in the morning?”

“May I ask what this call is regarding?”

I wanted to say that my coconut palm won’t talk to me but I held back.

1 comment:

  1. Aren’t you glad sometimes that you don’t have a side arm with you? Of course it would be nice to be able to sent a small electric shock to the vendor on the other end of the line.