Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rage Against the Machine

So I might have bought a refrigerator. Only time will tell.

Do you ever wonder how we managed without computers? Do you ever wonder why things are so much HARDER with computers sometimes?

Hubby and I planned to go to Sears after work to look at refrigerators, but having gotten some input from a few of you and having looked at more pictures and reviews, I decided I really didn't want to take the time to go to Sears and look at refrigerators when I could simply order one on the computer during my lunch hour. So I called Hubby and we talked over our options--I had narrowed it down to four models I liked. Because of our limited space, we eliminated two of the four. Because we like bells and whistles sometimes, we eliminated the not-quite-as-fancy model. That left one obvious choice. Wanna see it?

It's a Kenmore. 21.8 cubic foot side-by-side with neat stuff like lights and water and ice and--you know--neat stuff. (Dianne--see that turkey in the freezer?!) And it actually looks quite a LOT like the one we've had for many years, which means I can get a midnight snack without turning on any lights! So I ordered it. Maybe.

I checked the box on the computer screen and into my shopping cart went a 21.8 cubic foot refrigerator. (It's magic the way that's possible in the virtual world!) Then I checked the box saying we wanted the 5-year extended protection--a large expense, but from past experience, worth every penny. Then I checked the box saying we wanted it installed. Then I checked the box saying we wanted the old one hauled away, shot, and buried. Then I got to a box that asked me about my preferred customer number and the rewards program. And that's where the trouble began.

I DO have a Sears MasterCard with reward points, but an actual preferred customer NUMBER? Hummm. So I tried to log onto my account, but I had password issues. Many password issues. I never seem to be able to remember those details. So I called the customer service number and they also wanted my password. Luckily they were a little less picky--I was able to give them a ballpark guess on what I thought my password might be--or at least a variation thereof. And I told them all I really needed was my preferred customer number anyway--nothing that would breach national security. So they put me on hold for awhile, only to come back and say I didn't have a number, but maybe I should try my account number or the number on the back of my card.

Now, the only reason I was going to this trouble with the whole preferred customer thing was because when I clicked on the "what is this" link, it said there might be other discounts available, and I'm ALL ABOUT other discounts. Still, nothing I tried in that little box worked, even when I chanted "open sesame" while typing various numbers. So I gave up and proceeded on.

On the next screen, I realized that somehow I was buying TWO 5-year protection plans and TWO installations. Now what do I do? Well, luckily I noticed that some steps ahead, there was an order confirmation screen. So, okay, having a great deal of experience with online ordering, I figured I'd just edit my order when I got that far. So I continued on, inputting all kinds of information until I finally reached that screen. And I found that although I could edit just about everything at that point, the only thing that couldn't be edited was my actual order. ARGH!

About this time, I realized my lunch hour was over. And because the store saves everything in a customer's shopping cart for 30 days, I had to go back to the first screen and manually take everything out of the cart.

An hour or so later, after I calmed down a bit, I went back online and did the whole order thing over again. Since I knew what I was doing this time and had long given up on any kind of preferred customer recognition, it only took me five minutes to order the refrigerator. Yes, I got a screen that said I'd ordered the refrigerator and I'd get an email right away with my purchase information on it. Silly me! I believed them and didn't bother writing down the order confirmation number at that point.

Six hours later, and I still hadn't gotten an email. So I emailed Sears' customer service department, asking whether they'd received my order. Now I'm waiting. Waiting to hear something from Sears. Waiting for a new refrigerator. And something tells me it would have been far faster and easier to just go into the store and buy the darn thing! Or, better yet, just give Hubby a printout of the refrigerator I wanted and send HIM to Sears. That's pretty much what I've done in the past, and it works pretty well.

Sometimes low-tech works best, and that's a good lesson to learn. If this refrigerator thing doesn't work out, there's always the low-tech option of a styrofoam cooler and ice.


Shirley--Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

My, Oh, My!
You sure didn't need an iced latte something or other to keep you going in the afternoon after a lunch hour spent like that! Sounded like a very high octane burning type of experience. I wonder - do you think that you just might have two or maybe three refrigerators show up from all the "paths" you were lead down to get to the actual ordering? Did anyone or any "box" have you check for preferred customer points after all that?


PS I like your choice.

Marj said...

I just had a similar experance buying a washer and ended up at the Lowes web site. Same computer run around, but I did get a call in a few days about the delivery. They were very nice and even delivered a day early. Yea! I needed it ASAP. Good luck, I hope your experiance is a good one.

Cowguy said...

I knew this happened to people besides me. I knew it!

dianne said...

are you SURE that isn't a rock cornish hen on that shelf ... or maybe one of those plastic toy turkeys that they sell at Target for kiddie fridges?!? ha ha ha!

Vicki W said...

Isn't that the way it always works?

Sandra :) said...

Oh MY!!! Technology is great when it's working, but it's downright nerve wracking, finger tapping, teeth grinding and foot kickingly ANNOYING when it goes awry! It really says something about our so-called advancements when doing things the old fashioned way can actually quicker (and less stressful!) than doing them the new and "improved" way, lol.

Judy said...

I always thought that the preferred customer number was the one that comes int he little colored box on the back of your catalog. DO they even give Sears catalogs anymore??

Seems to me that they should be able to find your order. I usually leave the window open long enough to check the email to see if it's popped up or not. Saves frustration time for me. I won't even share my last fridge buying experience except to say it's better to buy while you have one...the cooler sucks!

MichelleB said...

I want to see the turkey in your freezer when you get it! LOL

Candace said...

Kim, I have to laugh, and I'm sorry I am, but we bought all of our appliances at Sears for the Squash House earlier this year. We went to the store, dealt with a very nice fellow about our age who had been doing this for many years. We specifically stated we did NOT want extended warranties and to NOT try to sell us them. He said no problem - we paid him and off we went, surprised at how easy the whole thing was.....UNTIL we started getting the phone calls from Sears at all hours wanting more personal info and to buy the extended warranties! I kept hanging up on them and they kept calling back. Finally I sicked Mr. Squash on them - he is much more polite than I in these cases - he listened to the entire spiel and finally we got rid of their calls! Seems if its not one thing, its another! At least you won't be getting the extended warranty calls!

Anonymous said...

Sears has horrible customer service. Last year for Father's Day I purchased a back pack blower to surprise my husband. At the time of purchase they asked if I wanted extended warranty and I told them no. I hid the gift for the big day. I was in the shower on a Saturday when the phone rang and husband answered. It was Sears asking if he would like an extended warranty on the blower!!! He came in and had that smile on his face and told me he would'nt need the warranty I the blower I bought him! I was furious and promptly called Sears Store Manager who then told me it was out of her hands. How stupid are they for calling up asking for warranties on sold items from the tool department the same week as Father's Day?!!