Yesterday Mom and I went shopping for furniture. Picture a 90-year old woman with a cane making her way amidst a vast furniture store.
We had previously purchased a recliner from the same store, Raymour & Flanigan, several weeks ago but it had proved to be very uncomfortable and my mother regretted the purchase. We hoped they would take it back (yes, a longshot, but worth the question) and we could find a replacement.
We also needed a small corner tv stand and a soft, comfy off-white loveseat. I’d been searching unsuccessfully for deals and bargains online for weeks, but at this point we were beyond worrying about sticking to a budget. Desperation and a time limit had our backs to the wall. The goal: buy whatever works and to hell with the price.
Unfortunately a manager said they couldn’t take back the chair. It had been too long (we had purchased the chair two weeks before Mom moved into her new apartment at assisted living). That was disappointing, but expected. As I’d said to my mother in the parking lot, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”
The manager, who seemed sincerely sorry to not be able to help, insisted on getting a wheelchair for Mom so we could look around, so we searched for an entertainment center amid the maze of furniture.
Our saleswoman, Donna, was one of the nicest salespeople I’ve ever met. She showed us the perfect tv stand at a much lower price than we’d planned on. HURRAY! SOLD! While I was buying it, Donna heard my mother’s sad chair story and made some calls, eventually resulting in the store offering to take back the chair and replace it with another one. She showed Mom the recliner they were offering to give her and it was definitely soft, a warm cinnamon color with the power lift feature.
Another manager arranged for the old chair to be inspected by the delivery crew. They gave Mom discounts. They wanted her to be a satisfied customer and were willing to jump through a lot of hoops. While all of this was going on, I wheeled my mother around to look at loveseats. And–lo and behold–we found the perfect one.
More paperwork! More help! Everything was done to make the delivery happen on Tuesday. Donna hugged me. I wanted to cry. Everyone was so insistent on helping us and making sure my mother would be happy.
In the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of experiences with various businesses as I’ve moved my mother from her home to a new lifestyle. I’ve spent hours–many, many hours–dealing with companies who either make things very difficult or flat out give me wrong information, send incompetent workers, leave me on hold for hours, etc. Once in a while there is a bright and shining star on the other end of the phone who actually helps me.
I confess that such kindness has been so shocking and unexpected that I have burst into tears, and I am not a burst-into-tears kind of person. It has been more than a little embarrassing.
So thank you, Donna, and the folks at Raymour & Flanigan, for making yesterday afternoon’s shopping trip such a success.
It was greatly appreciated.
I’m vowing to speak out more about bad customer service. And I’m also going to make sure–with a letter, email or phone call–to contact employers and corporate headquarters to compliment those employees who go the extra mile and make life a little easier.
It’s a two way street, and I’m going to do my part from now on.