far, far, away.

That’s how children’s stories used to begin. And that’s how my post is going to start too. I was really hoping that I could give a local business some support, but really I can only go out of my way so far.

Three weeks ago, we ordered our backsplash for the kitchen — the last item on a very long list of things to do for the renovation.  We selected a tumbled marble brick, and planned to intersperse a glass/copper tile throughout. We were told our order would be in one to two weeks later and that we’d get a call to say it was in. Because the store was just down the street, we felt comfortable giving them a deposit. Granted, 50 percent seemed a little steep, but it was exactly what we were looking for.

After almost two weeks, we dropped in to see if our order had arrived. The woman who served us said that an order was expected the next day. Two days later, we hadn’t heard back so we dropped by again. Nope, no tiles for us, we were told. Nope, can’t do anything until Monday when we can follow up with the supplier, said Michelle. Michelle neglected to mention that she wasn’t in on Monday.

So Monday afternoon, no call from Michelle, so I call the store. Some guy (who turns out to be the co-owner) answers the phone and I ask about our order. He he doesn’t ask for the first name (and it turns out there were two orders with the same last name) and then replies that he’s having a hard time reach the supplier and that they’re not answering their phone.  Just what you want to hear as a customer, right?

So he says he’ll e-mail them and promises to get back to me. Does he? Nope. (See a trend here?) I call back the next day and get Michelle. Michelle says that the reason why our order wasn’t received is because it was such a small order  that the company won’t ship until they have enough tiles in an order. (Do you smell a “they get a volume discount that they don’t pass on to the customer” scheme going on?)

So I tell Michelle that I’m not really impressed with the service. When I give my money to a store I expect them to follow up and return calls. I don’t have the same issue if I don’t have to give a deposit because if I truly feel ignored I can always take my business elsewhere. I ask what they’re prepared to do to fix the problem.  She says she’ll have one of the owners call me back.

But of course, I have to call again. I speak to the same guy I spoke to before and again explain my frustration. I know certain things are beyond their control, but they can control their interaction with the customer. I said that I really didn’t think I should have to keep calling about my order. He denies that it’s because the order was so small, especially when I pointed out that several colleagues are planning much bigger renovations and are quite interested in hearing about the suppliers we’ve used. He says my experience was staff that need training and  he’ll get on it.  Riiiight … like he’s setting an example. But I was willing to give him another chance to show how he knows how to solve problems when they arise.

He promises to let me know whether our tiles are in the Friday order. And I clarified this with him: call either way so I don’t wonder what’s going on. It’s Monday, and he hasn’t called. We dropped by the store and it was like starting all over again.

I ask if our tiles have arrived. The woman (someone new this time) asks if we were called. I reply that no, that’s half the problem — you aren’t calling. She says she’ll call the supply depot. Nope, they’re not answering. Is it that you don’t know their hours? what, they don’t have voice mail? or is this a stalling tactic?

So if they happen to google themselves, maybe they’ll stumble across this post and tell me what they’re going to do. I know that by Thursday if I’m not called, it will be a full refund that we’re asking for, and a whole lot of bad reviews for all the agro they’ve given me.

This post is about their last chance. I’ll update the title to include their name on Thursday. But the tags will be there now. In other words, if you searched a certain tile store in Wellington West and ended up here, take your money and run.