wastes my time, might waste yours

I’ve had the worst luck with building contractors. They show up late (if they show up at all), and when they do arrive, they’re less than helpful and, of course, expensive. With the housing downturn, more people are staying where they are and remodeling, so I suppose the contractors have no lack of work, and, therefore, no concern for losing a job.

Today’s experience was rather typical. Six months ago at a local home and garden show, I signed up for a free estimate for a kitchen remodel from (warning! don’t visit that site with your audio up, you will go batty. More on this later). They were very persistent in calling me, and I was equally persistent in putting them off.

I finally had time to deal with this and scheduled a 6pm appointment for tonight. Good thing I scheduled it after work.

At 6:20, I called to find out where he was; they promised to call me back within 20 minutes.

At 6:40, I got two calls at nearly the same time from their number; there was no one on the other end of either call.

At 6:45, I called them again, and was put on hold while they tried to track down the sales guy.

At 6:50, while still on hold, I see a red Dodge Magnum pull into my parking lot. Sure enough, my doorbell rings: it’s Sales Guy, with an aluminum briefcase that looks like it should be handcuffed to his wrist.

My first reaction was to say “sorry, you’re late, lost your shot”. I come close, talking to Sales Guy outside my door for a couple of minutes, asking if this first impression is a fair representative of what I can expect. He asks the question I’m waiting for: should he come in. I acquiesce and let him in. I don’t shake his hand, keeping my hands in my pockets. I’m in no mood for social pleasantries at this point.

Sales, pitched

He asks what I want to do, and I lead him to my kitchen. I explain that I have two ideas, a complete tear-down of the walls, opening the kitchen into the dining room. I get no further before he informs me that doesn’t do that kind of demolition.

OK, fair enough. Moving onto my second idea, I explain that I’d like to do a cabinet and countertop remodel. He starts in about doing either a cabinet refacing (cheaper) or building new cabinets from scratch.

I should tell you: my kitchen layout, well, sucks. All the cabinets seem to be off “standard” by 1/2 inch in every dimension. It’s quite usable, mind you: typical U-shaped space with about four feet separating the stove and fridge on one side, and the sink and dishwasher on the opposite. Certainly enough for cooking, but storage is an issue.

Thus the remodel. I tell Sales Guy that I’d like to do more than just reface the cabinets, that I’d like to redo the layout somehow. I give an example of reclaiming the dead corner space behind a cabinet, maybe putting up more upper cabinets on another wall.

He glances around, unfurls his tape measure, gets the four-foot dimension, and states “I don’t see it. I don’t see how you can do a different configuration”.

Huh. No “maybe if you lost this counter space here, put up a cabinet there, shift the stove to there….” Nothing except “I don’t see it.”

I ended the meeting right then. “Thank you for your time, but I don’t see how we’ll be able to work together”. I’m sure he wasn’t surprised, he certainly didn’t seem to care.

The website, or Does anyone use this thing?

I felt the urge to vent, and visited the website, looking for a feedback link. (When a company performs so poorly, I find it almost necessary to tell them about it, because I presume it must be far outside their expected norm, and they should be given the chance to deal with it.)

Oy vey! Upon landing, the talking ad starts up. “Everyone wants their home to look nice. After all home improvements can increase the value as well as enhance the overall enjoyment of their home.”

OK, where’s the pause button? Hm. No pause button. No mute button. In fact, no buttons at all to control the playback of this ad. Geez. How rude. But OK, I’ll be on this page maybe 10 seconds. I ignore it and click on a link.

“Everyone wants their home to look nice. After all home improvements can increase the value as well as enhance the overall enjoyment of their home.”

Seriously? I click another link.

“Everyone wants their home to look nice. After all home improvements can increase the value as well as enhance the overall enjoyment of their home.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

I decide to wait it out. How long could it be? 30 seconds? A minute?

Try four minutes! Holy crap! I defy you to use that site with your audio turned up without going daffy.

I had to mute the site to navigate it, only to find no obvious place to leave feedback, forcing me to call and talk to a customer rep (who was perfectly nice, and perfectly unaware that the site had this talking ad on every single page.

I’m now expecting a call from Sales Guy’s manager, to hear my experience and, I presume, to persuade me to reconsider I must say though, Sales Guy had no competition. There was no one else pitching me on my remodel. He was the first, and he managed to blow it, completely. I’d be surprised if there’s anything Sales Guy Manager can say to change my mind about that.

I’ll report back tomorrow.

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