AM: Just after 8:00am this morning the sears robot called. There was a problem with my recent delivery and it was “urgent” that I call 888 567 3452 today to reschedule. Urgent, eh? Maybe they have found a treadmill to deliver to me. (Previous post, for those who came in late, Why I Do Not Have A Treadmill (Sears Can’t Deliver).)
So, I called back right away. After about a minute of hold time, “Molly” at the call center answered. Name. Address. Zip. Address. Having pulled up my file, she seems surprised I am calling — the file says I have already been told it has been backordered and they don’t know when one will be available.
But your robot said it was “urgent” I said. And your website says you have them to deliver on Saturday in my zip code.
Mention the web site, and the jaws of the script snap shut: any questions about that and I have to call sears.com. She’ll connect me. Wait! I say, what do I do if I’m disconnected? Call 800 349 4358. There are clicking noises and a very ominous moment of silence. But, again, having a fallback plan saves me from disconnection, and I am through to “Joyce” who sounds like she might be from somewhere a little south of the Mason-Dixon line. She wants my order confirmation number, and having pulled up my file quizzes me to make sure I know my name, my email address, and my home address. Satisfied that I’m not some whacko who calls Sears with counterfeit confirmation numbers just for kicks, Joyce tells me that my treadmill is backordered, and they don’t know when they will come in.
But, I say, on the website…
You wouldn’t want us to schedule you until we know we have one, would you?
But if I was buying a new one, you’d give me Saturday as a delivery date! That’s what I want.
Joyce clearly has worked in politics, because her spin on the situation is that they are treating me extra well, better than the people on the website, and not taking any risk of misleading me. It would be funny if it was not so frustrating.
What about the phone call this morning, I ask, will I keep getting them?
Yes. We want to keep you up to date about your order.
(Never mind that the robocalls don’t actually tell me anything — they want me to call in whether or not there’s any point to it.)
Joyce says she will request that I get emails instead of phone calls. But she’s too honest, and warns me that “I can’t promise that will happen”.
Meanwhile, I check the Sears.com website. Now they have two entries for the the F80. One is the high performance F80, which I think is what I ordered, and the other is the fitness F80 for $500 more. The “high performance” model is available for pickup at some stores, but not for delivery. The “fitness” model can be delivered as early as Saturday. [PM Update: now the website says it could be delivered as early as 09/28/12. But not to me, it seems.]
Is the problem that Sears wants to send me the old one, but can’t find any? Is Sears hoping it will wear me down and get me to cancel the order? Or are Sears’s computer systems designed in a way that doesn’t let Sears replace the SKU for the old model for the new one? And would I even want Sears to do so?
Looking at the specs I cannot see any significant differences between them, although the tread on the “fitness” model seems 2″ wider. If the “fitness” model is the 2013 version that could be good or bad; new models of popular products sometimes fix bugs, but they also sometimes involve doing some corner-cutting. Without reviews there’s no way I can tell.
PM: Four random afternoon facts:
(1) For some reason I’m having trouble keeping this song out of my head:
(2) I have found an amazing website called I Hate Sears. It sounds as if many other people have had similar experiences to mine. [Update 2015: the site is gone but I’ve linked the archived version.]
(3) From that web site I learn that Sears has a “Sears Social Media Support Team,” which I prefer to think of as the squeaky-wheel brigade, and they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I emailed them. And in no time I got this reply:
We apologize for the difficulties you have encountered. A case manager has been assigned to address your concerns. We will contact you within 24 business hours.
Social Media Support – Senior Case Manager
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM (CST)
But what do people without blogs do?
(4) Sears stock (SHLD) is down $1.12(1.93%) today, no doubt entirely due to my efforts.
[Next installment: Tuesday Sears Update: Important Information About Your Treadmill.]