Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Turning the Bad Into Good

Anyone who follows me on FB knows that I have spent the past two weeks with my husband (the SAINT) and my son turning our illnesses (colds, flu, bronchitis, unknown infection) into good by tackling a project that has plagued our household - organization.  This meant, we thought, a trip to Ikea and hours of building, organizing, etc.

Yeah, not so much.

Today was our 5th trip.  My 4th trip was on Friday.  Ikea was supposed to deliver a replacement for something on Saturday and that didn't happen so now they are coming sometime between 5-7 on Tuesday.  I could go on, and on, and on about how this, one of the original Big Box stores (called such because the store looks like a large box and because you leave carrying many big boxes) is suffering from the same supply issues as every other Big Box store in the world or that you should make sure there is a return policy for the BB store you intend to use or, as my husband wanted to do, stand on a rooftop and scream that no one should use this particular big box store ever again.

First let me explain what happened then how it was/is continuing to be resolved.

We have a good sized house that was built in 1968 by a strong willed German woman and her equally strong willed husband.  They wanted woods so very few trees were damaged in the making of the house - at least not from the lot.  Only enough trees to create enough space for the house, a deck, a garden area, and a path down to the main path.  Needless to say, except for the bedrooms, there is very little storage upstairs.  And when you have little fingers with LOTS of toys, storage is a bit of a must.  So, we decided to pick up some of the Besta line with drawers, doors, organizers.  An organizer for the toys turned into a wall unit for the family games and then a media center for the family room and a media chest of drawers for chords and accessories.

I started building the family room chest of drawers.  That is also the first piece I took back.  It was so hard to put together, something that is odd for me as I have never had this problem, that I became incredibly frustrated.  I have been building Ikea furniture since I was about 8 - it is not that hard for me if I actually read the directions.  But this one, beyond difficult.  After two days of attempts and more than one hissy fit, I finally tore it down and told my husband we were heading back.  This was trip three and I felt bad.  During tear down I realized the the problem was that the Besta was shredded in a way that could only have been done in the factory.

Whoops.

So now we come to the crux of my story.  I have now visited the return section of the Ikea more than one time.  I have interacted with customer service people.  These are the folks who see customers at their most frustrated, angry, ticked and, let's be honest, self-esteem is probably not the highest when you see someone to return it.  In my case I was feeling as though I had lost my touch.

And in every instance of interaction with customer service at the Ikea, knowing I was beyond ticked and my husband was beyond frustrated and tired after driving more than an hour to get there, they were wonderful.  Sunday was the worst - we returned every scrap of Inreda drawer.  All of it.  Yet, not a single snarky comment.  No demanding to make sure every piece had come back down to the screws.  They were beyond reasonable.  Heck - they were HAPPY to help me.  Each issue was met with a smile the just grew broader with every return visit.  They looked at each of my return carts - sometimes there were two or more - as a challenge to be met joyfully.

What a difference.  Each time we returned to the store, five times in total now, we arrived swearing we would be leaving as soon as we finished with the returns only to head upstairs to have lunch then shop again for something to replace what we just returned.  You see, the problem in our house is still there and it wasn't the fault of the people who worked there that the product we just returned was not up to snuff.  Maybe a different line?

So now, instead of a Besta with drawers for my son's toys we have an Expedit with blue and red bins.  He's in heaven.

It's amazing what a little customer service can do for a person's attitude.  I mean real customer service - service with a smile.  There are two stores that come to mind when I think of this type of service now.  Ikea in Woodbridge is one.  The other - Fox Mill Starbucks in Herndon, VA.  But more on them tomorrow.

Yes - these two blogs will be dedicated to cheering on those wonderful people who take lousy moods and make them better. G-d bless them.

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