Archive | October 2010

Empire Today, Follow Up

As a quick follow up to my blog post last night about our horrible experience with Empire Today, I wanted to post real quick that I just received a call from Empire Today. The woman, Rebecca, said she had read my blog post from last night and was calling to apologize.

I think it’s great that Empire Today is using the growing technology for their benefit in terms of connecting with their customers.

While it does not make up for the rude woman we had to deal with twice from their company (last week and the week before), I do appreciate a company owning up to what happened, taking responsibility, apologizing and promising to take an internal look into what happened. How refreshing!

As I mentioned last night, we got our carpet installed through Empire Today earlier and we had absolutely no problems. The guy was informative and friendly and everything happened pretty smoothly.

I’ve always thought that if  you aren’t a people’s person and friendly, you are in the wrong business if you are in retail/sales (or anything similar). I’ve worked in retail in the past alongside school, so I’ve seen both sides of it — and I can’t say it enough — the way you interact with your customers makes a HUGE difference.

I’m never this quick to blog anymore, but I didn’t want to leave it hanging – because I do appreciate Rebecca calling to apologize. Companies lately seem to forget that without their customers, they are nothing.

 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Empire Today

I started writing this October 11th, and finally got around to finishing it today.

This blog post is Part Two of a series of blog posts I’m working on this week on the horrible customer service I’ve encountered lately. Read Part One by clicking here.

You know what I have very little patience with? Bad customer service.

In my opinion, there are just no excuses for it. As consumers, we are choosing to make purchases from you. You are not doing us any favors.

After getting carpet installed in our new home through Empire Today with no problems, we decided getting blinds through them would be a good idea. So a few days later, we called Empire Today again and scheduled one of their employees to come with samples to our house (they have no actual stores).

This women was clueless to say the least. She had no answers to our questions, couldn’t figure out how to price the samples we chose to give us estimates, was making errors left and right in pricing and  – it was as if my dad and I were doing her work for her.

All of the above, I could have attributed to the fact that she was maybe a new employee (even though she said otherwise).

What ticked me off most was that she made a personal call while I was waiting for her to give me a price!

UGGGHHHHH!

That’s not even the end of it.

A week or so later, we called Empire Today back and they sent the same lady back (the second time this lady came was after the whole ‘Blinds to Go’ fiasco). A little while before she was scheduled to come to our house, she calls and tells us that she is actually with another customer and forgot she was scheduled with them. She told us if that appointment ended early, she would come afterwards – otherwise the next day – either way she would call us.

Not only did she not call us, but when WE called and left her a message, she didn’t even respond. When she finally came the next day, she was just completely rude to us! She even kept emphasizing that she was “squeezing us in” between other appointments as if she was doing us a favor. At that point in time we knew that even if we chose to get our blinds through Empire Today, it wouldn’t be through this lady.

At one point when my dad asked her about the huge disparity in price amongst Empire Today and other companies we got a quote from, she rudely said “then I guess its settled, you will get your blinds from the other company” and got up and packing her stuff while we were still discussing the products. At that time, we knew we were definitely getting our blinds from elsewhere.

Oh and did you know, their advertised ‘next day” products for blinds actually means at least ten days? I’m not sure why they are falsely advertising and I’m not sure what the reactions have been to that… it just made me laugh when the lady told me.

I don’t know why getting blinds for our new house turned into such a huge problem, but thankfully we placed an order via a local company (Budget Blinds) last Thursday (the 21st). They should be arriving in two to three weeks, and I’m hoping everything happens smoothly.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Blinds To Go

This LONG blog post is Part One of a series of blog posts I’m working on this week on the horrible customer service I’ve encountered lately.

If your business promises a service, I expect nothing less. For some reason, businesses aren’t getting the memo lately that if you are promised a service, consumers actually expect it. Funny, isn’t it?

On October 12th, my family went to our local ‘Blinds to Go’ store, browsed through the selection of blinds, and for the vertical blinds – narrowed it down to two color choices.

At that point the sales lady informed us that between the two color choices we had narrowed down to, one of the colors were on back order for the vertical blinds and the other color was on back order for the horizontal blinds. She told us that the ones in stock would be installed most likely in two days after measurements were taken. She also told us that most likely the back orders would not arrive until the first week of November, but she would provide us with temporary blinds for the window treatments that were on back order for the time being.

We needed ten horizontal blinds and two vertical blinds.

Since we were in the process of moving after getting A LOT of renovations done in the new house, my mom and I decided that because we were okay with both color choices, we would choose the color that would only have two of our window treatments on back order (common sense, don’t you think? WHY would we ever choose to have the majority of our windows without window treatment for over three weeks by choice?). I confirmed with the sales lady MULTIPLE times which ones would be on back order, and left the store after placing the order pretty satisfied. I reasoned to my mom that having temporary blinds on two of our windows wouldn’t be such a big deal, rather than the whole house.

Two days later, the measurement guy came and measured all the windows. The following day, we got a call from the sales lady we talked to in the store informing us that the blinds were ready and that we should go ahead and schedule an installation date (with the guy that came to do the measurements).

We were scheduled for the following Monday (October 18th) at 3:30 PM, so we scheduled moving into our new house for Sunday (the 17th) thinking one night without blinds was doable, rather than waiting for a whole week until the following weekend.

Simple enough.

Fast forward to Monday (the 18th) at 3 PM (half an hour before our scheduled installation time), the in-store manager (George) from the store we placed the order calls us and says the two vertical blinds are ready, but the other ten blinds are on back order (the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what we were originally told!!!!!!)

As all of this is happening, I call the ‘Blinds to Go’ customer service department to explain what is happening and see what they can do to correct the situation. I speak to a Roberta, and I’m not even kidding when I say this, and her response is “So what do you want me to do?”

Gee, I don’t know. How about rectify the situation? Or do something about your incompetent staff. I guess the latter would be kind of hard for you since you sound pretty incompetent for your job yourself…

UGH.

No apology, nothing. She was clueless.

Roberta made the excuse that perhaps our sales lady was confused because the item names were similar to other products. How that is my problem, I don’t know. Besides, that is irrelevant considering there are item numbers and other identifying points for each product. If this lady is “confused” with the merchandise she is selling, that is obviously something she needs to work on (and double check as she places orders). I don’t know if Roberta thought her explanation sounded reasonable, but it just made both the sales lady and Roberta look and sound stupid.

Roberta goes on to say nothing can be done until the following day because she wanted to talk to the sales lady who placed our order and she wasn’t at work today. Welcome to the 21st century lady, technology has come a long way and phones (and even cell phones *GASP*) have become quite common.

Still feeling absolutely dissatisfied (and since their company’s customer service department itself was useless), that evening we headed back to the store to see if we could work something out. When we got there, we approached George (the in-store manager who called us earlier, remember?).

He was adamant about the fact that our sales lady must have given us the right information and that we misunderstood (yeah, right. all FOUR of us), but that nothing could be done until our sales lady came back to work the next day. When we asked George why he couldn’t just call her and ask what the deal was, he simply said “I’m just not going to do that” and that “besides, our customer service department is already waiting for her to call them back”.

After some back and forth, we finally somehow got George to call the sales lady (nothing was resolved) and then George called someone named something to the likes of ‘Shah’ or ‘Shaw’ who I’m presuming is his boss or something and LIES to him in front of us. As we are standing right there, he tells the guy that he’s playing phone tag between the customer and the sales lady because neither of them are present – like seriously, what kind of a circus are they running? WHO DOES THAT?

To say we were steamed doesn’t do justice. But it gets even worse.

At this point, it’s been well over an hour since we came into the store. It’s 6:56 PM (store closes at 7). The only other associate working that day yells from the back to the manager to ask if she can close to which he agrees. Minutes later, she comes back to the front and starts yelling at us! In a moronic and yelling voice, she’s like what do you expect us to do, call the customer service department – we have families to get home to and shuts off the store lights and starts to force us out of the store. I don’t know her name, but I did hear her mention to another customer earlier that she was from Nepal so that was the only identifying factor I have.

Needless to say, we canceled our order from this store from hell (but not with ease). They wouldn’t even let us cancel our order at first, so I threatened to go directly to the President of the chain and report them to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) … and so of course I got a call right back telling me I could cancel the order.

A) The store wasn’t even closed yet B) If there is an issue, you as a business are supposed to deal with (not cowardly run from it and lie to make it even worse) C) You don’t kick a customer out of the store D) Would any of the above have happened if we were at the store past closing time if we were there to make a purchase instead? Of course not.

As a college student, I’ve worked in retail on the side and the number one rule for dealing with customers is your attitude makes the world of a difference. I don’t know what kind of business “Blinds to Go” is running, but it is by far the most horrendous bunch of people I’ve ever experienced.

I don’t know why after all of the massive renovation projects we took on, something as minuscule in comparison like the blinds gave us the most problems.

I’ll have Part Two of this written and posted hopefully soon – sooner than the six days it took me to write this up since I first mentioned it (and even longer considering when it happened).

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Bad Luck Strikes Rutgers

What a month for Rutgers! The Fall 2010 semester has brought so much attention (local and national in both of the cases) to Rutgers — in a negative way unfortunately.

A few weeks back, I posted about my thoughts on the Rutgers freshmen who committed suicide. Since then, the Rutgers community has been hit with a missing student (who was fortunately found safe within a few days and it was deemed to be him leaving in his own will from what I have read) and a devastating injury to one of the Rutgers football players.

In a sport such as football, which is such a heavy contact sport, injuries are bound to be happen. You know in the back of your mind that the worst can happen, but you choose to not dwell on the fact. Unfortunately, it became reality for a Rutgers football player last week as they played against Army.

Eric LeGrand, a junior at Rutgers, took a hit and ended up with a devastating spinal injury that has left him paralyzed from the neck down (at least as of now). While the doctors aren’t sure at this point if he’ll recover and be able to walk one day at this point, we do all know the road ahead will be a long one and the whole Rutgers community is rooting for a full recovery and praying for him and his family.

Here’s a video I found on my local newspaper’s website:

In one of the MANY articles I’ve read in the past week on the top, one of the articles mentioned this irony:

In 2004, Manny Collins and two other players from the Rutgers football team were in a car that was rammed head-on by an SUV going the wrong way on Route 18 near the campus. The injuries they sustained from the car crash led none of the three players to be able to play again that season.

Now the freaky part is that … LeGrand was injured the same day — Oct. 16 — as Collins’ 2004 car accident. Rutgers had the same record (4-2) then as now and is playing the same opponent (Pittsburgh) in the same setting (Heinz Field) this weekend as it did six years ago following the accident.

As the Rutgers football team play their first game since the injury later today, all of the players helmets have a sticker with the word “believe” on it in honor of LeGrand.

In the wake of the injury, the Rutgers Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that they have establishment the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to support Eric LeGrand and his family.

Contributions to the fund are not tax deductible and can be made by sending a check payable to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to:
“Eric LeGrand Believe Fund”
PNC Wealth Management
Attn: Kimberly G. Kingsland, Senior Trust Advisor
One Palmer Square Suite 201
Princeton, NJ 08542
For more information, feel free to visit http://scarletknights.com/believe/

What a (horrible) month for the Rutgers community. I graduated this past May so I’m no longer a student, but Rutgers was such a huge part of my life for the past four years — I can say without hesitation Rutgers is a part of my identity… and its happenings effect me.  Especially because I live so close to the campus.

Hopefully the rest of the semester goes by a whole lot smoother.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Settling into the New House

We moved this past Sunday, and are slowly and finally settling into our new house.

The last month and a half have been insanely busy with all of the renovations our new house needed amongst the packing (and now finally unpacking).

We pretty much packed the whole house in two days — and that worked out for the best. I’d rather do it all at once and be tired for a few days than slowly pack over a longer course of time and spread the exhaustion for even that much longer.

It’s unbelievable to see how the house looks now, compared to how it was when we first it two years ago (or even how it looked a month and a half ago before any of the renovations began). It doesn’t even seem like it’s the same house. Waiting impatiently for the past two years paid off :).

I’ve got a few thoughts/posts in mind to write up when time allows (and I have wireless internet connection again at home – writing up a blog post from my iPhone isn’t as easy in comparison) in the next few days. A few of these posts will involve the horrible customer service we’ve experienced lately that has left me astonished.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on Trapped Miners in Chile, Part Two

All of the 33 miners were rescued and brought to safety!

What an amazing story! With so many odds against them, and so many potential risks along the way – it is an absolute miracle. An absolute fairy tale ending for what could have been a horrendous tragedy.

What started off as 17 days without contact with the outside world, starting August 5th, with little to no food for that duration… ended in a miraculous way. After spending 70 days 2000+ feet underground, they were finally rescued! The rescue efforts went great and without any major hitches – you couldn’t ask for anything more… especially considering the fact it took about half the time than what was originally predicted.

I’ve been glued to to the TV and my phone for the past twenty four hours watching all the latest developments and watching each miner being ascended to safety – with a smile plastered on my face and emotions running high. I’m an emotional person, I know that, but you just can’t help it. The tears of joy and the chills as each miner was reunited with the outside world and their families, reminded you each time how differently this could have ended. Thinking about how I was feeling, I can’t even imagine what the miners, their families, and the rescuers were feeling.

As I read somewhere online earlier, these miners were the luckiest ‘unlucky’ men alive. Well said.

There were so many inspirational stories told throughout this ordeal, but one of my favorites was when Jimmy Sanchez, the 19 year old miner (the youngest one trapped), said that there weren’t 33 of us down there, there were always 34 of us – because god never left our side (i’m paraphrasing).

For the past 10 weeks, but especially for the last 24 hours, people throughout the world were praying and hoping for the best possible outcome, and that’s exactly what we got. The rescuers involved did an amazing job and they deserve much thanks for their efforts. I can’t imagine how they are feeling after finally being able to breath a sigh of relief.

What an amazing 24 hours. What a miracle.

Counting my blessings,

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Videos of the Rescues of Chilean Miners

Here’s a video of the last minor rescued:

Here’s the video of the first miner rescued:

I’m trying to find a video for each separate rescue. If you have any links, let me know.

 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on Trapped Miners in Chile

Anyone with a heart has to have been disheartened following the story of the 33 miners trapped underground since August 5th (68 days!) in Chile. How can you not?

I’ve read many stories on the whole incident every day for the last ten weeks. Each time I did so, I got chills and thought about what they were going through – physically and mentally.

Knowing the rescue mission was to go underway tonight, all day today it was on my mind. I can’t think of anyone who isn’t rooting for a safe rescue of all of the miners later today and in the next few days. As a psychology student, I have been thinking a lot about how not only are the next few days important, but more importantly so are the next few weeks and months as each miner settles back into their “routine” and their psychological state.

It was so admirable and inspirational when I was reading earlier today that all of the miners are keep insisting to stay on the mine site until all of their fellow trapped miners have been rescued (instead of being transported to the hospital as they are rescued). Their strength, solidarity and endurance throughout this ordeal has been amazing.


 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

My Thoughts on the Rutgers Tragedy

As a society, when are we going to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH against bullying?

I would hope that if Rutgers ever received so much attention, it would be for a positive thing. As a very recent alumni of Rutgers it was quite dissappointing that they, instead, made headlines locally and nationally because one of the freshmen committed suicide as a direct result of cyber bullying.

Our generation, growing up, has seen so many technological advances – and like with most things – each comes with its positives negatives. At eighteen years of age and as a college freshmen, however, you are no longer children and are deemed responsible for your actions – and those responsible MUST be held responsible for their actions. I’ve read so many comments on articles in this case that defend those responsible and say ‘it was just a joke’. How can bullying ever be just a joke? The simple answer is, it can’t!

When are we as a society going to start accepting each person for who they are and leave gender, orientation, ethnicities, race, and disabilities amongst other things as barriers behind? It seems every time we take one step forward as a nation, we also take two steps right back – leading us further behind from where we even started.

I’m not naive – I don’t think it’s know it’s not going to happen over night, but it’s something we need to work on individually to bring that change on a collective level.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased. Such a young life, with a promising future, cut so short.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.