Here is an email I just sent to a local furniture company:
To whom it may concern,
I came to your east side store last night specifically because you offer next-day delivery. My mother is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, and I needed to buy a recliner for her in a hurry because she was having so much pain and difficulty sleeping in her bed. Her doctor’s office told us that she would have an easier time in a comfortable recliner.
I told a very kind associate about the circumstances, and she helped me to pick the right piece. I was then assured by the front desk that it would be delivered by this evening, and given a receipt with delivery dated for today that assured me of the same thing. Everyone involved was aware that I was buying this piece of furniture for a medical situation.
When I called to find out the approximate time that it would arrive, I was told that it was in fact scheduled to come out tomorrow night – a full day later than I had been promised. I was then told that there was no way to rectify this, or even to get it to her earlier in the day tomorrow.
While I was given an apology, the only recourse I was offered was to cancel the order, which seems a woefully inadequate remedy, given the circumstances. We obviously need the recliner and don’t have the help to move it ourselves or we would have done that this morning.
You still have our business for today, but I felt it was necessary to tell you formally just how deeply disappointed I am.
It felt more productive than crying, which I was before I wrote the email. We’re talking about my mom here, people. I walked out of that place feeling all warm and fuzzy about the experience yesterday. The sales rep even gave Declan apple slices to cheer him up because I made him mad by taking him inside through the cold air. If all had gone according to plan, I would have been singing this place’s praises to scads of other potential customers.
But really… no offer to even, like, waive the delivery charge? Why was I the one to catch their screw-up? Why has this kind of thing happened so much more frequently to me in recent years (although it’s usually been on the order of mere inconvenience)? What has become of customer service?
Update, Thursday, noon: Well, I guess that got their attention, after all. The chair was delivered today by 11:30 a.m. I also had a message from the original salesperson saying that she would try to get the delivery fee waived, although my mom said the form she signed when it arrived didn’t indicate that as the case. All of this, for a thing that looks like a gigantic baseball mitt, or, as my mother put it, “a bunch of big hot dog buns stuck together.” But, it fills the bill in all the important ways for now – puffy and comfortable, a decent place to rest, and easy to adjust with her good arm.