Rob and I are heading to London and then Portugal for 11 days a few days after my clerkship wraps up in August. The problem is that when we get there, we don't want to be the out-of-shape Americans that we currently are. Being married to an awesome cook like Rob can be hazardous to your waistline. So we've launched a plan that involves lots of healthy eating, massive cuts to our regular snacking ways, and a new treadmill. Today our treadmill arrived after much ado and eight phone calls to Sears (see super long story below). The treadmill is currently parked right in our living room by the television because we know ourselves, and we know real exercise is only going to happen in close proximity to the television, which we love.
As happy as we are with the treadmill -- we both got 2+ miles out of it tonight -- I can't really recommend buying anything at Sears that involves delivery. We were supposed to get a phone call yesterday telling us the treadmill delivery window today, but instead we got an automated message telling us our treadmill was available for pickup. Um, what? So I called the delivery phone number on our receipt. They had no record of us at all and told me to call the store. I call the store, play fun games of press-the-number even though none of my choices were something useful like "Customer Service." I finally get to an operator who expresses sympathy with my plight. She says she'll transfer me to the right person. A couple clicks and the line is ringing, ringing, ringing [insert two minutes of ringing here] and then I'm bizarrely back to the opening message, which promptly hangs up on me. Again, um, what? That scenario repeats itself three more times, with each interaction with the operator growing more testy as I beg not to be transferred to some place where no one will answer the phone.
The last time, the operator gives me a special national customer service problem line "for this type of thing." Wow, I thought, this happens so often that you have a special phone line dedicated for it when really if those people were just staffed out to the original ringing, ringing, ringing lines there'd be no need for the special line. So after I'm transferred into never-never land again, I call the magic number. I explain myself again when I get someone on the phone. He calls the store and connects me directly to someone he promises will help me. Finally. I speak to a woman who asks what I need. Apparently she had no idea. I explain and she tells me she'll get a manager. She comes back and says the manager will have to call me back because she's in a meeting. I flip out a little at this point and insist someone help me. The woman says she'll look up my receipt number, but a few minutes later tells me "the system is down." So I'm stuck waiting for the manager. I don't hang up without assurances that the manager will call within an hour.
One hour and fifteen minutes later I call the magic number again. I explain everything again. She asks for my phone number and then tells me rather snippily, "There's no record you've called here at all today." A little more flipping out and she says she'll try to get someone for me to talk to at the store. She comes back after several minutes on hold with the phone numbers for NordicTrack (we bought a NordicTrack). I ask what they can possibly do. She says, "Well, you bought a NordicTrack at Sears, so any problems you have with the merchandise go through them. They provide the warranty." I ask what on earth this has to do with a warranty -- my product isn't defective, it's not delivered, and I paid Sears for that, not NordicTrack. I tell her if I get sent on one more wild goose chase I will call my credit card company and ask them to reverse the transaction because Sears refuses to give me the merchandise I bought. I'm on hold again.
A couple minutes later a man's voice asks if he can help me. I ask who he is, expecting NordicTrack, or maybe the North Pole. He says he's with the Sears extended warranty department. Oh my. I tell him I need nothing from him. Not only do I not have an extended warranty, I don't even have my merchandise. He starts to reply when a woman's voice comes on the line. She's at the Sears where I bought the treadmill and she says "I'm looking at your treadmill right now. What time was your delivery scheduled?" I wonder briefly if the warranty man is still there, but don't really care either way, and then before I can reply to the local Sears woman the operator from the magic number is back saying, "This woman will help you now." Whoa! Was the magic operator there the whole time? Were was she?
So now it's just me and the local Sears woman. She says the treadmill can't be delivered today but she's going to find out what time tomorrow for me. She needs to call her delivery person and call me right back. I risk it and lo and behold, she actually calls me back 15 minutes later. She says she can't reach her delivery guy, but as soon as he calls her back, she'll call me back instantaneously. Twenty minutes later my cell phone rings. Local Sears woman had been calling my office phone, but they also have my cell number. Since the call is from a Chicago number, I answer. It's the delivery guy. He says he is heading to the store right away and can be at my house in 90 minutes. Awesome, except I'm not at home. So I scramble to grab some work to take home, worried that even if I go home, nothing will come because the store woman will tell the delivery guy to wait until tomorrow. Minutes later the store woman calls back. Her keeping her promises is putting me in a better mood. I tell her I just talked to the delivery guy and he's coming today. She says good, she was going to ask me if that was okay. I tell her yes, it is, but I want the delivery charge taken off my bill. She says, "I have to transfer you to a manager." Uh oh. I'm on hold again for a couple minutes, and then the line goes dead. Shocking.
Not wanting to miss my treadmill, I run out to catch a cab. I'm home thirty minutes when the delivery guy calls and says he's outside. I'm in disbelief, but he is indeed and my treadmill is inside our house about ten minutes later. I run back out the door and jump in a cab back to work. (Thirty bucks in cab money for the round trip that I was not happy to have to pay today.) I return to my office and have a message from the Sears manager giving me her direct number. Wow. So hopefully I'll reach her tomorrow. In the mean time, I'm just happy that phase three of Operation Portugal is finally a GO!