Monday, September 13, 2004

Furniture Hell, Part Two

Even though we recently celebrated the one year anniversary of our house closing, our home is not fully furnished yet. It's so darned close, but it seems like every time I'm ready to breath a sigh of relief because the last loose end has been taken care of, some new challenge pops up. Oh well, at least I'm glad that the hurricanes are gone (for now), so my thoughts can return to the mundane challenges of everyday life.

Those who have read my previous blog entries may recall the first round of Furniture Hell. The latest episode began with the delivery of our wardrobes. Actually, we did have one incident inbetween, when our entertainment center was delivered. The deliverymen were breaking butt to get out of our house as fast as possible. When they left, we quickly discovered why. The glass shelves were hopelessly wedged into one side of the unit. Nothing short of breaking them or dismantling the whole darned thing was going to get them out. Worse yet, in their haste, the workmen hadn't attached the bridge over the television set properly. It came crashing down right on the t.v., denting the case. Thank goodness it didn't actually break it.

A serviceman was dispatched to take the entertainment center apart and retrieve the shelves. He also ordered a new bridge, since the old one had been damaged by the improper installation (the fall didn't help much, either). At the present time, the bridge has come in and I need to schedule its installation. Hopefully that will be the end of the entertainment center saga.

But the real Furniture Hell episode centers around our wardrobes, which have been at the center of our worst experience. Even the table that required five visits to finally assemble can't compare. Chapter One is documented in my earlier blog entry, and Chapter Two occurred last Wednesday. Even though we ordered the wardrobes months ago, I discovered (after being assured that it would be no problem to deliver them on a Saturday) that they were actually coming directly from the manufacturer. This meant that deliveries to Celebration occur only on weekdays when the moon is in Venus and Mars is aligned with Jupiter during a total eclipse of the sun. Unfortunately, this never coincided with any of the times that we were in town on a weekday.

By some strange quirk of fate, we discovered that the deliverymen would be in town on September the same time we would be. Surely Hell had frozen over. Surely a hurricane would blow their delivery truck to Kansas. Surely cruel fate would somehow intervene. After briefly sniffing the sweet smell of success, I would never actually get to savor the taste.

Our trip to town was delayed by Hurricane Frances, but we arrived bright and early on Monday the 6th. I half expected to hear that the furniture warehouse was the only building in its vicinity to be destroyed by a freak mutation cloud. Nope, supposedly the delivery was still on.

Wednesday dawned bright and hopeful. I'd been given a timespan of between 2 and 4 p.m. When 4 had rolled past with no word, I didn't panic. With all the previous deliveries, I had learned that delivery timeframes are about as accurate as a phone psychic's predictions.

Around 4:30, the driver called. He was hopelessly lost, which is actually quite typical in Celebration unless you live right on Celebration Avenue. Even then, plenty of people confuse that with Celebration Boulevard or Celebration Place, but that's another blog entry.

We managed to talk him in; my husband went out on foot in search of the truck, but somehow it managed to bypass him and still find our house. I couldn't believe it...the delivery truck was at my front door and the workers were actually unloading the wardrobes. That sweet taste of victory was on the tip of my tongue. Nothing could go wrong now...right?

The damn things wouldn't fit up the stairs!!

The workmen tried every angle, but no matter what, they couldn't make the turn in our stairwell. Finally they told me that a serviceman would have to come and dismantle them, then reassemble them at the top of the stairs, which would be their permanent location. Just as I was about to sign the delivery slip, a thought occurred: "They're not going to charge me extra for that, are they?"

"Oh yes," the deliverymen nodded, "there will probably be a charge."

Now to me, "Delivery and Set-Up" means just what the name implies. And after the special hell of being told we could get a Saturday delivery and then being yelled at and accused of being a liar by the salesman, I was in no mood to pay another penny. I refused to sign the paper until I spoke with someone at the factory. Of course, it turned out that everyone had gone home for the day.

My next call was to Rhodes Furnture, where I immediately asked to speak with the manager. I had no desire to be yelled at by the salesman again; after all, he's the one who told me in our last conversation that he can't be expected to know which furniture is delivered from the store and which comes from the factory. Why should I think he'd have a clue about anything else?

The person who answered the phone was extremely snotty and informed me that the manager was busy. I pointed out that I had deliveymen waiting and that I would send the furniture back if the manager didn't come to the phone. She put me on hold, and the line was finally picked the salesman!

The tone in my voice must have told him that yelling at me this time would be a mistake. Being a professional counselor, I am very adept at keeping my cool, but I also have a talent for verbal warfare. He agreed that there should be no additional charge, so I put him on the phone with the deliverymen. A heated argument promptly ensued. It was so loud that I could easily hear both sides of the conversation. Apparently he wanted them to do the assembly/disassembly, and they were having no part of it. They insisted that it had to be a serviceman and that he needed to okay Rhodes absorbing any charge. He insisted that it was their job and that they had better do it themselves. They said it would take at least an hour, and they still had numerous deliveries to make. Finally, he said he would call the factory and then call us back.

At this point, I had no problem with a serviceman coming back out. I certainly didn't want the deliverymen to do it, as I knew it would be a rush-rush job, and I didn't want a repeat of the entertainment center experience. We cooled our heels for 15 minutes, and finally the deliverymen asked for the phone so they could call the furniture store back. The snip who answers the phone curtly informed them that the salesman couldn't talk to them because he was busy with a customer.

Needless to say, things went downhill from there. I'm sure that our neighbors next door could easily hear both sides of the conversation that issued at an ear splitting decibel level from the telephone handset. The salesman was threatening to call the deliverymen's supervisor, and they were threatening to put the wardrobes back on the truck and leave. Eventually he agreed that a serviceman could take care of it and that Rhodes would take responsibility for any additional set-up charge. I signed the delivery slip with very specific conditions, and the saga finally came to an end.

Now I have two mongo wardrobes taking up most of the space in my kitchen/family room. It's nice to see how large they are because we are in desperate need of storage space. That's why I bought them in the first place. But until they are moved to their permanent home, it's great fun maneuvering around them.

Oh well, this latest fiasco probably saved my life. If it had actually gone smoothly, I think that the shock would have caused a heart attack and I'd probably be dead at this very moment. I'm also getting a great lesson in patience and flexibility, although I wish that God would realize that I've learned it by now.

The service department did call me today, so it looks like we're on the road to getting the Wardrobe Dilemma resolved. Meanwhile, if you come to visit me and you happen to be claustrophobic, do not venture beyond the foyer or you'll be lost among the furniture bemouths.

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