Monthly Archives: April 2011

Customer service is dead?

I have been in customer service for years.  For many of those years, I actually cared about the customer and cared about helping them solve their problems.  I have also been completely burned out at times and beyond helping the customer to keep my job, I did not go much beyond that.  I didn’t pester anyone to do their job so the customer would be helped; I didn’t take that extra step to make sure the customer understood how to fix the problem next time or any other of the other dozen things I could have done to make their experience with our company just a little bit less frustrating.  I get that customer service is difficult and can take the stuffing out of you.  But does anyone actually care about the customer ever?

Yesterday, I ran into two instances in which I felt like I was definitely at the receiving end of apathetic customer care although it was a mixed bag.  

The cabinet guys showed up exactly on time.  My clock said 2:01 as they knocked on the door.   Perfect customer service.  But then the owner wasn’t there.  He told me he was doing to drop by with the guys to re-look at what needed to be done.   I guess he decided not to?  Then I got the bill for the drawers.  It wasn’t 300$ but 510$.  I got charged 300$ for the drawers, 150$ to square up the cabinets for the drawers to be installed and 60$ for the drawer pulls.  Not once did the company inform me that squaring the cabinets would be an extra charge and did I want to pay it let alone actually tell me what the charge was.  On top of that, I was led to believe that the 300$ was for everything related to putting in the drawers so why did I pay an extra 60$ for the drawer pulls?  I paid the bill but I wasn’t pleased.  I will say that the drawers look awesome and they should have for the amount of money I paid for them!  And then the guys brought in the third cabinet – the pantry.  It was very heavy and difficult to lift.  It needed to be lifted up on the new part of the flooring.  The guys were actually concerned about damaging the edge of the flooring so they requested that I put in a cast off piece to protect it before trying to lift the cabinet unto the floor.  Thanks guys… I appreciate you thinking about the details.   Then I got a phone call about what was supposed to be done the cabinet.  After everything was said and done you are calling me about what was supposed to be done?  Didn’t we have this conversation before?  And if you were in doubt – WHY DIDN’T YOU SHOW UP LIKE YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO?  Like I said… my experience was a mixed bag.  And I will be going by their shop today to make sure that it is going to be done right.  Thanks for ensuring that I am wasting my previous renovation time this weekend checking up on you.

And on to my next experience.  Despite considerable care being taken to ensure that the stove would not drag any adhesive onto the new floor something happened and we did get adhesive on the new floor.  And then I damaged the finish trying to get if off.  ARGH!!!!  So I decided to walk down to the carpet store and ask about what I can do.  While I was there, I decided to look into my options for the dining room/living room opening.  That is where I found out that I was told the wrong thing for the T moulding.  I specifically dropped by and asked what spacing I needed to leave open for the T moulding.  I was told 1/2″.  Last night, I saw the T-moulding and it is not even close to 1/2″.  We measured and it was 7/8″.   WTF?  In fact, I was told that I had to put adhesive on the T-moulding to attach it to the floor.  I was like really?  Are you sure?  Oh yes… I am sure.   Also not true.  You get an aluminum track that you attach to the underlayment and you simply snap the T moulding into that track.  I have not gotten far enough into doing the threshold that I can’t correct for this error in information thank goodness.    And then I find out that in front of a door threshold where you can’t put the flooring under the threshold (which I can’t as mine is marble), you use an endcap to protect the edge of the flooring at the door.  I have to admit that I simply didn’t think about it and would have installed the flooring within the quarter inch.  I haven’t done my hallway yet so this isn’t an issue thank goodness but I am completely not happy that I wasn’t told anything when the guy came over to discuss the installation.  And what was I told when I complained that I wasn’t given the complete information when I inquired about what I would need?  Since I am installing it, I am responsible for making sure I know what I am doing and I have everything I need.  They only make sure its done right if they are installing it.  Gee… thanks for making sure I am a satisfied customer.  We wouldn’t want to make sure I come back and buy more flooring from you, would we?  And so… another mixed bag.  And I have to call them back today to make sure that she buys the track for me since I apparently am the only one responsible for making sure I get what I need.

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Busy as a beaver

The last two weeks have completely flown by.  A little more than 2 weeks ago, the cabinet guys took my cabinets to install the toe-kick drawers.  I was expecting them back in a day or two.  9 days later, they finally called me saying they wanted to give them back to me.  By then, I had decided to use this delay to my advantage!  I decided to put a big push on cleaning up the kitchen floor  to install my flooring.  Then when the guys finally came back with my cabinets, they would be putting the cabinets right on the new floor.  That would save me from storing them in the hallway and then moving them myself when I was finished.   Mission accomplished!  Half of my kitchen floor is installed and ready to accept the cabinets back (which are coming today). 

I decided not to level the floor and I hope that I have not made a mistake with that decision.  I did a lot of measurements with my level and also laid a board over all of the floor checking to see if there were any gaps underneath or if it gave when you pressed on it. Other than one spot close to the wall I didn’t see any piece of the floor out by 1/8″.  Some parts of the floor were not perfectly level but all seemed to fall within acceptable limits.  But now that I have been walking across the finished floor for the last couple of days, I can feel a bit of a give in one spot where the boards dip when you stand on it.  Of course, this is right in front of the pantry on the way to the fridge.  It is not in an out of the way spot.  I hope that the give isn’t enough to weaken the joints. 

Also today, with Eduardo, I will be ripping out the last remaining base cabinets located under the sink.  The countertop, sink, dishwasher and cabinets are being relegated to the hallway.  I think the stove is just going to sit in the middle of the kitchen on the new floor.   I then need to patch one or more holes in the wall, repair the wall where the old countertop was attached to it, paint and then put in the rest of the flooring.   On Sunday, Eduardo is returning to help me put the cabinets back in place.  Once I accomplish this, I will be finished with the kitchen until June.

This just leaves me with the hallway.   I am tempted to just start on it right away and get it done.  I have to admit that my patience is wearing thin on this project.  I am tired of having everything in chaos and looking for food and dishes in boxes.   I want everything put right!  Of course, I will have to pack everything back up in June when my parents come but that is 8 weeks away.  I can enjoy some measure of tidiness until then.

Floating floor today… the world tomorrow

On Tuesday, I took a half day off work in order to install the floating floor in my dining room.  Someone from work was supposed to help me because I had never done this before and wanted someone to teach me.  I called him at noon to tell him that I had gotten home and discovered that he was babysitting for his cousin.  He wasn’t going to be able to make it and wasn’t sure when he could come over.  Darn it all!

I had to install this floor now.  I am starting my new job and wouldn’t have time later and I was sick and tired of having my dining room spread out in my living room and bedroom.  So I started….

3 hours later, I had finished 3 rows.  I was struggling to put them together and couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be doing.  Finally, I think it clicked on the fourth row and things started moving along faster as I figured out the basic technique and started improving on it.  By the end of the room, I was barely slowed up by the fact that I had to install the last row between the previous row of planks and the wall.  I remembered something about using a crowbar from HGTV so I got out my trusty crowbar and figured out how to use the crowbar to put the rows together.  It took me 8 hours to do the flooring and then another 1.5 to 2 hours to clean up, put in silicone caulking along one wall and install the quarter round on that wall.  That is the only moulding I am doing until Dave comes to help me in June.  A friend came by to help me move the furniture in and take me out to supper.

Verdict?  It wasn’t as close a match to the wall as the sample was.  It is too yellow.  I am hoping that this yellow will fade as the documentation says that linoleum has a yellow cast to it when it comes out of the factory.   The blue is the right colour so all is not lost.  I will see how I feel about it a couple of weeks from now.

I never would have occurred to me that I would be learning to level floors and install click flooring on my own.  You just never know what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

New Job

I put in my resignation at my current job and will be moving to a new job on April 18th.   It was time to move on.  I was getting jaded and cynical by the processes here.  My moral was increasingly being lowered by the new rules that were being implemented.   One of the main reasons why I came here was because of its generous benefits and flexibility.  It was being increasingly less flexible to the point that I was being forced into working a specific schedule determined by people that weren’t even in my chain of command and the benefits were not what they were when I started.  Add in the fact that someone was acting like my primary job was to be at their beck and call and preventing me from doing my actual job and I had had enough.

I had been looking for a job for a long time and I am now happy to report that I have found a new position.  The company is treating me very decently so far and I can only hope that it continues on like that.   I am not one to talk a lot about work on my blog and I suspect that will continue.   I will be traveling in this job and I might get an opportunity to talk about the places I go.

Panic not… YouTube is here

I am progressing on my kitchen renovation.  Two weekends ago, I ripped up my carpet and removed the tacking strip.  This is when I discovered that my concrete floor was uneven.  In fact, very uneven all along the outside wall and there was a nice low spot in the middle of the floor.  As well… there were two holes in the concrete open to the void below.  I spent the last week painting 1/4″ round trim, grinding down the high spots, scraping off the adhesive and using silicone sealant to fill up the holes.  I even tried to seal the back corner because it had quite the drop-off and I was concerned that there might be a hole to the ‘void’.

I was ready to level the floor.  Well… in theory…..  Leveling the floor is much like having a baby apparently.  Everything is ready with a horror story about what went wrong when they or a friend did it.  I did lots of goggling and watching of YouTube videos but quite frankly I was terrified.  I begged recruited a friend to help me because I was very concerned it needed to be a two person job.  It was definitely a two person job and I am glad he agreed to help me in my time of need.

Leveling the floor turned out to be not that hard.  Although it wasn’t that complicated, I hope that I never have to repeat this experience again because it was hard and dirty work.  My friend Neil mixed up the next bucket while I scooped out the previous.  He also had to carry the bucket over to the area that I was working.  26 cups of water + 50 lbs of water is darned heavy.  I scooped out the leveling mixture and spread it around with a trowel.  Each bag took 7 minutes to mix and about that long to get onto the floor.  It didn’t dry in the 5 minutes that everything was threatening you with.  We had the whole floor poured in 30 minutes and by then you could already see that the first area I did was setting up.

I think we might have had a crack in the floor in the corner that I tried to seal.   I didn’t see any obvious crack that might have led to the void below.  Despite that, I still decided to seal the corner – just in case.   I truly don’t know if there was a crack or the high spot in the floor simply prevented the leveling compound from running into the area  but that corner ended up 1/4 inch lower than the rest of the flooring.  The low spot is about 21 inches long and 6 inches wide along the edge of the wall starting from the corner.  The rest of the problem spot along the wall ended up leveling out.

That low spot is simply too large to ignore so tonight, I am buying patching compound and repairing it.  Not sure if the other side of the high spot is within the 1/8″ level requirement but I want to keep the patching  to a minimum so I don’t screw up what I did last night.  At this point, the floor is far better than it was and it is what it is.  I will be putting the floating floor over it.

I am expecting the flooring on Thursday and plan to install it on Tuesday.

And what did this add to the bottom line?

3 bags of leveling compound: 90$
1/2″ heavy duty drill and mixing paddle: 65$
2 buckets for mixing: 5$
Hand scraper: 5$
Epoxy: 8$
Patching Compound: 15$

Leveling a floor is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination.