I was fuming this weekend at the unbelievable way I was treated by a double glazing firm. Names have been removed to protect me from getting sued for posting this on my blog (the company is referred to as COMPANY). Something a bit kooky has happened with the paragraph spacing, but other than that here is my complaint to them in all its glory:
I thought that since you failed to turn up to our appointment two days ago, you might have been a little more apologetic. You only apologised to me under duress when you made your “courtesy call” (ha ha, the irony!) to me two days after you were meant to show up. Ah well, I guess that this means its over between us before it even started.
It might be useful for future staff training if I give you my account of “What Went Down”.
Bear with me here – at some points the attitudes expressed may trick you into thinking that you are reading a deleted scene from the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, even though its actually 2012 (this might be something you could specifically tell your staff – it is currently 2012).
What Went Down: The Cold Call
COMPANY came knocking at my door to ask if I needed any double glazing.
In hindsight, I should have barricaded the windows and doors (which, by the way, are already double glazed). Alas, I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt and I politely answered your sales rep’s questions.
By jove, he was persistent. I am a reasonably intelligent, reasonably assertive young woman so I hope that your sales rep didn’t speak in the same way to my elderly neighbours.
On seeing that all of my front doors and windows were already double glazed, he asked about the rear of the house. I explained in explicit detail that every window that needed to be double glazed was already double glazed and that the only single glazed window was in a part of the house which we are knocking down. That’s not complicated to understand, is it?
Despite this, your rep insisted on asking a number of times (I counted at least five) whether he could give me a quote to double glaze a window that we would be demolishing. Its just madness.
I had to repeatedly say no to your rep. No, I do not want a quote to double glaze a window in a room which we are demolishing. His reply? Go on, let me give you a quote.
I said no so many times that it began to sound like a 2 Unlimited song. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with 1990s Dutch Techno music, it goes a bit like this:
No no. No no no no. No no no no. No no (there’s no limits).
No no. No no no no. No no no no. No no (techno techno techno techno).
I hope that you can understand from this that I said no an awful lot of times.
When your chap then asked about giving a free no obligation quote for an interior door, I reluctantly agreed. I just wanted him to Go Away. Quickly. So I said, go on then, give me a quote.
Unfortunately, there must have been some sort of wormhole through the fabric of time that opened up because we briefly slipped into the 1950s. I was told that COMPANY would not give me a quote without my husband present. Is this for real? Its 2012!
I wanted a “free no obligation quote” which in my understanding would mean a person measures the door, does some sums, tells me a number, goes away. I am sure that I can manage to watch a person measure a door without my husband there. I manage a lot of stuff without him being there. I can even vote all by myself!
I told your sales rep that that sort of attitude was a load of 1950s BS.
He said to take it up with the office because, as the saying goes (which I’ve never heard before in my life) its a case of “the lady’s design and the gentleman’s wallet”. That’s what he said. Word for word. I am gobsmacked.
COMPANY basically told me that as a woman, there’s no way that I can make a financial decision. Uh oh! You are really really wrong. I’ve got a job and my own income and everything! And you won’t be seeing any of it!
Now I said above that I wanted the man to Go Away.
So I told him I’d be available on Saturday morning. But, given the amount of housework us 1950s housewives have to do, I would need to go out in the afternoon. That way, I’d have enough time to get the quote, go out, then get back in time to have a quick dash around the house with the Eubank, iron my pinny and warm my husband’s slippers.
So basically, Saturday morning was it. We agreed 11.30am. Then the man finally went away. Hurrah!
What Went Down: The First Phone Call
Your office then called me to confirm the appointment time, which was 11.30am. But then it wasn’t, was it? You couldn’t do 11.30am but you could definitely be there at 12. I was getting mildly irritated by this stage.
So I asked why my husband had to be present for the quote as I am perfectly capable of managing it all by myself.
Apparently, you lovely folks at COMPANY have this policy so that “husbands and wives don’t have arguments if the wife chooses something that the husband doesn’t like”. It’s very kind of you to think of our marital harmony like that. Perhaps you should offer marriage counselling sessions?
I’m a bit confused why we would have a row about a “free no obligation quote” though. Its just a number on a piece of paper. We wouldn’t be under any obligation. The clue is in the name.
So I agreed 12 noon on Saturday. I reiterated that I had to go out on Saturday afternoon but would accommodate you half an hour later. Any later on would be a real pain for me (see above about the slipper warming duties etc).
What Went Down: The Second Phone Call
Saturday comes along. I get a call in the morning confirming the appointment time. You say you’ll be there NO LATER THAN 12.30PM.
Oh my life. By this stage, I have moved on from mildly irritated to moderately irritated.
Don’t you understand that I have to go out then get home to do some Eubank-dashing, pinny-ironing and slipper-warming?!
What Went Down: The Complete and Utter Silence
12.30pm comes along. And then it goes.
By now, I’ve waited an hour longer than I wanted to for you to come to my house to give me a quote (that I didn’t really want) so that you can hopefully get my business and you haven’t had the decency to turn up or ring to say that you’re running late.
I go from moderately irritated to enraged. Hardly the best basis to get a new customer, is it?
So I went out. And so did my husband (we weren’t sure if he would be allowed to stand and watch the person measuring the door on his own without his wife present).
When I got back in, I checked the messages. Nothing. On Sunday, I checked the messages. Nothing.
All day Monday – no messages.
What Went Down: The Courtesy Call
The clue is in the name. You’re meant to be courteous to your customers, especially when you call. I told your representative when he rang tonight that I hadn’t found my treatment so far to be particularly courteous.
Your representative explained to me that COMPANY had tried to call me to say that you were running late. At 12.50pm on Saturday.
Hmm, what bit of “I want an 11.30am appointment” was difficult for you to understand? And if you rang at 12.50pm to say you were late, what time were you planning on showing up? And if you rang me, why didn’t you at least leave a message rather than leaving it for two days with no contact?
Anyhow, in order to cut to the chase, I asked what COMPANY hoped to achieve with this “courtesy call” that was being made two days after I’d been hanging around waiting in for you.
The answer was that you wanted to rearrange the appointment. Now the next bit is a bit of a blur because your representative kept interrupting me, but I recall that the words “should be a comedian” and “hilarious” and “must be joking” were used.
In reply, your representative said that you’re only human, you’re not robots. I honestly wouldn’t care if you were a company run by robots. I just don’t want a company to insult me because I’m female, I don’t want you to perpetuate stereotypes that should be confined to the 1950s and I just want you to turn up when you say you will.
I did start to ask your representative what the best email address would be to contact you further but he told me that he “didn’t want to waste his breath or the phone bill with me any longer” and put the phone down on me. That was a nice touch. Well done all round, I’d say.
I had a quick read of your customer charter and code of conduct and I really do think that you might want to show it to your staff. They act as if they’ve never read it. Have they actually read it?
Your charter says that you’ll reply to me, so I will wait to hear from you.
I know that you’re very into the whole 1950s thing, so I expect you’ll probably use a typewriter to send me a letter. My address is [REMOVED TO PROTECT ME FROM STALKERS]. Or if you’re feeling a bit more modern (after all, it is 2012) you can always email me.