Furniture Follow-Up and Fallout


So,did you read the couch-buying blog and see the couches?  I did get some follow up from both sides.  You can see some in the comments section of the original blog, and I’d like to share some here…

I sent this to DFW via their contact form

Comment: Hello,

I wanted to write to let you know that my wife & I had an excellent experience with store manager Matt Walker at DFW in Pittsburgh earlier this evening.  We left a Value City nearby wholly disgusted with their salesperson, and our experience at DFW was such a great relief.

I blogged about my experience here:  http://wp.me/pwqzc-y2

Please pass my praise on to Matt and his boss.  I hope that such excellent service is rewarded!

Thank you for your time,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

(Contents of my blog below for your convenience…)

…and got this back:

From: Andrew Robinson <arobinson2255@gmail.com>
To: eric_aixelsyd@yahoo.com
Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011 8:11:15 AM
Subject: Re: Contact Form

Eric. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. We hope you don’t mind, but we have posted a link to your blog on our Facebook page.

PS. We are giving away a FREE sectional on our facebook fan page.   http://www.facebook.com/DFWFurniture#!/DFWFurniture?sk=app_121121694568521   just “like” DFW to enter….

On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 1:41 AM, CustomerSupport <sales@dfwfurniture.com> wrote:

It made their Facebook page too!  They have a pretty cool blog if you’re in the market for some new furniture.

Here’s the post in question… if you follow, them please “Like” it or leave a comment:  http://www.facebook.com/DFWFurniture/posts/110773852342054

Even better, Bethany’s on their email list, and this was in her inbox today:  http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=66b31c192a78cb1962439b620&id=58954895aa&e=fed37b6f6a

Just part of the email…

…but we want to encourage  feedback and interaction from the community on Facebook.

Example : The recent story from Eric in Pittsburgh about his shopping experience at Value City Furniture vs. DFW Furniture in Pittsburgh.

We realize that advertising is always SUSPECT…But customer testimonials are PRICELESS… and credible.

How awesome is that?!  I’m famous!  Ha ha.

In all fairness, Value City did indeed reach out in the comments of the original blog, and as requested… I did follow-up:

From: Eric Carroll
To: jeremy.sipes@vcf.com
Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011
Subject: Blog about couch buyin experience…

Hello Mr. Snipes,

I’m responding to your comment on my blog.  I’m not sure what else you would need detail-wise, or any way of resolving anything.  Did you first read about my blog through your submission form?   I don’t really have any other details then what I expressed in my blog.  What else would you be looking for, exactly?

Thanks,
-Eric

.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

And, this was the response:

From: “Jeremy.Sipes@americansignature.com”
To: Eric Carroll
Sent: Tue, April 26, 2011
Subject: Re: Blog about couch buying experience…

I just wanted to make sure to reach out to you regarding your experience in the store. I apologize for your experience with one of our sales people. I will be in contact with store management in order to address your concerns. I am glad that you found furniture that you are happy with, it is just unfortunate that you were not able to so with our store.

If you need anything going forward, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for your time

Jeremy Sipes
American Signature Inc.
Customer Service Coordinator
1-800-743-4577
1-614-449-4351

Again, there’s not too much to do at this point, is there?  Although, they did have some cool pop-bottle looking bar-stools there…

Heh.  Twitter is also a powerful tool:

http://twitter.com/#!/dfwfurniture/status/62486421889486848

http://twitter.com/#!/ValueCityFurn/status/62885704874721281

http://twitter.com/#!/ValueCityFurn/status/62885852690399234

Couches


Well, if you read about our couch buying experience and were at all curious, here are some crappy photos from my cell phone:

New Couch

Klaussner Couch

New Love Seat

Klaussner Love Seat

I like they stripey pillows on the love seat, they came with the set. I don’t think Bethany likes ’em though. We bought the pillows that are on the couch from Kohl’s, but they’re a pretty good match.

Adventures in Couch-Buying


So, the wife & I been saving to buy a new couch & loveseat for quite a while. We’ve been very casually looking at furniture stores since last October.  Retail sales people in general really bother me.  I tense up when they approach.  It’s impossible to walk into any furniture store & browse without a sales person being on you like white on rice.  I have an issue with the titles too.  They never call themselves sales people.  It’s always “associate” or “specialist” or “floor manager” or “Archduke of Ass-cushions”.  You’re there to sell furniture and make commission, not to help me with the interior design in my house or really even to sell me what fits my needs.  You want to up-sell as much as possible.  I know that, you know that… why can’t you admit that you know I know it?  Pardon me, I’m getting ahead of myself.

At Levin’s they weren’t interested in showing us anything other than the most expensive couches.  Once they got an idea of our budget, they weren’t interested.  Roomful Express was a veritable pressure cooker with a “buy it now because we’re going out of business” style sales pitch.  So, no warranty then?  Ikea is great, and we love the place for other reasons, but none of the couches that we saw on our last few trips fit our style and budget.  Big Lots had some affordable furniture, but the couch we had considered there only came in one awful orange-tinted brown… and it just brought poop to mind.

That brings us to the events of tonight.  We had passed by the DFW on Rte. 51 a week or so ago, but we decided to check it out.  We had looked at a few of their pieces online and were happy with the price & selection.  We decided to stop at Value City first since it was on the way & we were out looking.  The plan was to look around at Value City, check DFW in person, and if we needed to hit Value City on the way home, we could do that.  We could not have had two more divergent experiences.  I will mention sales persons’ names below, as it’s my intent to contact both Value City & DFW with the details of our experiences.  They both need to know what’s going on in their stores, good & bad.

As we were walking up to the door at Value City, we could see a young sales guy looking out the front window directly at us as if we couldn’t also see him.  He ran out of our view to his left, not unlike a puppy running to get some treats.  I said to Bethany “Wow, this guy’s going to be all over us before we’re even in the door.”  I was wrong.  Another sales guy was on us as soon as we were in the door.  He appeared like Batman disappears in the movies & cartoons.  I really have no idea where this guy came from.  He was just there.  I say “sales guy”, but he called himself a “floor designer”, commented on Bethany’s Penguins hoodie, and introduced himself as Bill.  Bill asked what we were looking for, we said couches, and he gave is a well-rehearsed (read: tired) spiel about how we were “here for two things; eye appeal and butt appeal”.  Things like “it’s got to be comfortable”, “sit on it, jump on it, relax”, “microfiber is just a fancy way of saying 100% polyester” were said.  Also, there were mentions of how their parent company owns Big Lots and DHL and a few other companies… which have absolutely no bearing on me buying furniture.  I’m not impressed with image.  Cheesy, but at that, he let us off to browse on our own.  We made our way up the first aisle, down the second, and were on the way up the third when Bill caught us again.  Along the way, we saw two couch/loveseat sets that we really considered purchasing.  We had our mind set on one because it was comfortable and within our budget and we were frankly just in the mood to finally purchase a couch this evening.  When Bill caught up to us the second time, we may have confused him, as we talked in passing to another family who had just walked in the front door.  Bill proceeded to introduce himself to us and give the same “eye appeal and rear appeal” into the “microfiber=polyester” speech that we had just heard less than ten minutes earlier.  As we were just into the third aisle, we were beginning to realize that most of this furniture was above our budget… so the plan was to walk through quickly.  Bill caught us by a rather ugly yet comfy reclining sofa that was ridiculously priced and begged us to sit in it.  We obliged.  Then Bill proceeded to tell is that we may recognize him from TV as he’s the “furniture doctor” (or something to that effect) on KDKA.  He also said that he sold this same couch to Tyler Kennedy & Max Talbot, then named some Steelers for good measure.  This is where my mind was made up that we wouldn’t be buying anything from Value City.  I don’t care who else has the same couch as me, and these local sports heroes will never be sitting on my couch… so it really is irrelevant.  Also… I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but just looking at us, he should have known that the couch in question was way out of our price range.  I would like to make it clear that the only reason that we didn’t buy a couch from Value City this evening is Bill Crewson.  I found him to be pretentious, pompous, and obnoxious.  We escaped Bill’s sales pitch of doom, and had a discussion around the first corner.  My wife agreed with my assessment and decided that worst-case scenario, we would come back & deal with a different sales associate because Bill was not getting a dime of commission from us.  We promptly headed to the door.  Bill again appeared out of nowhere and handed us a business card as we were on the way out the door, title being “Home Furnishing Consultant”.  Get your title/position straight, Bill.  Consistency is a good thing.  As soon as we got home, I fired up Firefox and Googled the bejesus out of Bill’s name on KDKA’s website.  I can find no mention of Bill by name or by “furniture doctor” or “couch doctor” or whatever he called himself (or anywhere else on the web).  If someone knows Tyler Kennedy or Max Talbot, tell them to call me to talk about their couches.

Next, we went to DFW.  The experience there was as refreshing as Value City was exasperating.  We weren’t immediately pounced upon when we walked in the door.  After we had made our was across the front of the store, we were casually approached by a Mr. Matt Walker.  He asked us what we wanted, and what our needs were.  He explained what they had, how the discounts worked if you bought outright vs. a payment plan, and set us free to roam around the store.  Still reeling from Value City, I thanked Matt for being the first sales person in a furniture store that wasn’t so far up my rear-end that they were looking out my mouth.  He laughed like he hears that a lot.  Bethany & I were able to take our time, look at the prices, sit on the couches… and we again found two sets that we liked and that fit our budget.  The one didn’t come in any different colors, so we happily picked the other, and we had to seek out Matt to let him know that we were ready to make a purchase.  To not be hovered over, or approached a second time with some sort of practiced sales pitch, or to not be only shown the most expensive pieces on the floor was a huge deal.  Happily, the set we wanted was well under budget at the advertised price.  Not only that, but we got a discount for paying for it all at once.  There was also another deeper discount because the floor model was the only one left.  We looked it over, were satisfied with the condition and quality and went with it.  We did purchase a reasonably priced protection plan for the cushions and there was a standard delivery fee… and we were still under the advertised price for the set.  I urge anyone in the Pittsburgh area looking for cheap quality furniture to seek out Matt Walker (Store Manager) at DFW on Rte. 51.  DFW should send all of their managers and sales persons to Matt to be trained.  They would be wise to pick up his tactics and demeanor.  The delivery is set for tomorrow, I’ll have to pop up a photo and let you know how that goes!

Think of the Kmart employees this holiday shopping season


Heh.  In yesterday’s pre-W(aL)D Wendy’s repost, it linked to a thread on PittsburghBeat.com which in turn linked to another old thread about Kmart which eventually came to a nice conclusion.  These weren’t listed in my older pre-W(aL)D post… so I thought I’d share them individually.

I filled out the survey noted on their receipts, at www.kmartfeedback.com. Apparently someone actually reads ’em!

Quote:
From: “SM3616, Store Manager” sm3616@searshc.com
To: XXXXXXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 6:12:41 AM
Subject: InquiryEric,I am the store manager of the below mentioned Kmart store. I would like to have an opportunity to speak with you directly. I do take pride in the store and would appreciate any and all feedback you can provide me to make your next shopping experience a pleasant one. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.JODIE M. STROTHER
Store Manager #3616
Greentree, PA 15220
(412)922-3803 store
(412)922-9268 fax
________________________________Store Number: 3616

Customer Name: Eric XXXXXXX

Customer Phone: contact by email

Customer Phone (alternate): n/a

Customer Email Address: XXXXXXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com

Department: Customer Service Desk

Category Code: Customer Service Experience

Reason Code: General Frontend Service Issue

Situation:
SC# 0361611250800352385

The electronics department looks like someone knocked everything off the shelves, then had a dog put it all back. Pretty difficult without opposable thumbs, eh? Yes. Yes indeed. And, the dog didn’t know the alphabet in order to arrange CD’s & DVD’s either.

The cashier did not say one word to me. ONE WORD. After waiting through the ridiculous line (no other registers were open, as I was being checked out another employee lazily sauntered over to her register), the woman rang me up did not say “hello”, “hi”, “good evening”, “credit or debt”, or even “Go #*%$ yourself!”. After all my items had gone through, and I paid. I even said “Thanks” and smiled… and got absolutely no indication that I had even been heard. My wife looked at me like we were in the Twilight Zone.

Holy cow, this is ridiculous. Sadly, it’s indicative of what happens pretty much every time I go to that store. There are some other great area Kmarts, like the one in Robinson, and even the one in Bridgeville… but this one is closest to my house… What the heck is wrong with everyone who works there? Don’t they take any sort of pride in the store? Don’t the managers see what’s going on, how the store looks, how the employees behave… and why don’t they care???

I just can’t even fathom being a cashier, and not greeting people… or even acknowledging their presence. And, I can’t fathom a shift, store, or regional manager that would a. hire someone like that (let alone dozens like that); and b. let that kind of behavior slide.

***I was unable to call the customer no phone number, I did sent notification.**

So, I wrote these…

I wrote:
From: Eric _______ XXXXXXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com
To: “SM3616, Store Manager” sm3616@searshc.com
Sent: Monday, December 1, 2008 9:10:52 AM
Subject: Re: InquiryHello Jodie,Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I’m not sure if there’s anything further to discuss. I pretty much expressed my issues below.I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to run a store… but it seems that your Kmart is slipping in comparison to stores like the aforementioned Robinson & Bridgeville locations.

Back when we were just dating, my wife used to work at the Kmart on Route 8 just outside of Shaler (not sure of the actual neighborhood there), and the managers were on them all the time to have multiple registers open, to have the shelves stocked neatly & orderly, and they always had a lot of registers open at the front.

I just see a general lack of “give a damn” in Parkway Center. Hopefully the trend is reversing though, as this e-mail has shown me that you do indeed care about your store.

Thank you for your time,
-Eric

I wrote:
From: Eric _______ XXXXXXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com
To: Customer Service Kmart.com help@customerservice.kmart.com
Sent: Monday, December 1, 2008 10:07:05 AM
Subject: Re: Store Manager SM3616 / JODIE M. STROTHERHello,I’d like to just pass on the e-mail below, & show my appreciation for this store manager taking the time to contact me regarding my comments made via kmartfeedback.com as noted on my store receipt. Can someone let her superiors know that her time and effort did not go unnoticed?Hopefully she can pass the message of store pride on to the employees.

Thank you,
-Eric

Hmm, I got a response…

JODIE M. STROTHER wrote:
From: “SM3616, Store Manager” sm3616@searshc.com
To: Eric _______ XXXXXXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 7:05:00 AM
Subject: RE: InquiryEric,Stressful is a word that doesn’t even describe what retail is nowadays. However, I do take pride in the store and at times it does get out of control. I appreciate feedback any way it comes. We strive to do our best with the personnel in the store. It does fall apart at times and we are working hard at correcting those problems.
Just keep us on your shopping list this year and let us try to show you we are looking at alternative ways to improve your shopping experience.Happy holidays and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

JODIE M. STROTHER
Store Manager #3616
Greentree, PA 15220
(412)922-3803 store
(412)922-9268 fax

________________________________

I found this to be a fairly positive response.  I can’t imagine trying to manage a group of people who generally do not care.

This is the icing on the cake though…

AiXeLsyD13 wrote:
Remember my Kmart rant? Bethany was in there not too long ago, walked by the electronics section and said it’s all neat & orderly…..and the cashier greeted her. Laughing