Argos III The Return. This time it's personal.
Why do I do it to myself? Why?
My wife and I were comparing shed prices on the internet which invariably led me back to the Argos website. I don't know which is sadder, the fact that I keep going back to Argos or the fact that I am shopping for sheds with my wife.
The shed we found fits perfectly into the spot we measured out, it's got a window that faces the right way and once again, Argos has out-cheaped the competition.
This is bad news for me because Kate is a touch on the thrifty side. Another difference between southern girls and northern girls is that Southern girls brag about the labels on their clothing, northern girls brag about the price tag. Northern girls never tell you how much they paid for something, only how much they saved. And as far as northern girls go, Kate is the northernest. Kate would wait in line, barefoot on flaming coals in a hurricane if it meant she'd save 10p on a tube of eye liner.
The prospect of going down to Argos again made me physically ill and I voiced as much to Kate. The discussion didn't go exactly like this, but it was close:
“Please don't make me do it.”
“Quit being such a baby.”
“How about we do this instead?”
In fact, that is in essence every discussion we've ever had. The “how about we do this instead” in this case was to order it online. According to the website, they'll deliver it straight to our house even if we're not home! We just have to give them instructions on where to leave it. We don't have to go down to that horrible store, we don't have to queue, in fact, we don't even have to talk to anyone at Argos. Genius.
I ordered the shed along with an outdoor table and chairs, and received an email back. This is what it said at the bottom of the email:
Delivery usually within 35 days.
A signature will be required for this delivery
If a delivery date isn't shown above, a member of our customer service team will contact you to arrange a suitable delivery day as soon as your goods are ready to be dispatched.
Let's break that down, shall we?
First of all, 35 days. What are they, whittling this shed? Ok, I've been in England for two years and compared to Sofa Workshop, 35 days is a nanosecond, but what does “usually within” mean?
Secondly, a signature will be required. So much for not having to be home.
And finally, “a member of our staff will contact you”. Wonderful. British customer service is bad, British telephone service is painful. Argos telephone service is a red hot poker to the asscrack.
I'll spare you the details of the numerous tracking phone calls, the attempted deliveries, the missing packages, more phone calls, the boxes not getting dropped off where they were supposed to be, the boxes not getting dropped off when they were supposed to be, the ignorant telephone salespeople and the even more ignorant delivery drivers to tell you the best part.
When the shed finally arrived, I opened the box, lifted a piece of it up causing the pane of window glass that was sitting on top of it to slide down and smash into a million pieces on my driveway. The wafer thin brown paper used to protect it was not enough, apparently.
After swearing to the Gods knowing that my stupidity would involve another Argos visit, Kate suggested I just call them and tell them it was broken when I opened it. “Yeah, that's what I'll do, call it payment for 2 years of crap I've taken from them.”
I decided to do it the following day from work, but my conscience kicked in. I sat down at my desk, I even picked up the phone, but I couldn't do it. Call it Stockholm syndrome, but for the first time in my life, I felt guilty about ripping a place off, damn old age!
I put down the phone and walked down to the Argos where I discovered another Argos queue! The customer service queue. I've mentioned that Argos customer service is shit many times before, but like Wal-Mart, many of their products are shit as well. You're throwing the dice when you buy stuff at Argos, and the people in line in front of me were proof positive.
I get to the front of the queue, tell the customer service clerk that I had bought a shed, broke the window and asked how much a new one would be.
CS clerk: “You can't buy anova one, mate, we don't sell 'em separately.”
Me: “Ok, well then how do I get one?”
CS clerk: Don't know mate.
Me: You mean to tell me this has never happened before? No one in the history of Argos sheds has ever broken the window?
CS clerk: “Don't know. You might haveta go to a DIY store and get them to cut one or summat.”
Now if you are a Canadian reading this, you are thinking “That's outrageous! How can these heathens stay in business with customer service like that!?” If you're English and used to taking one in the brown eye by your local furniture store/electronics store/department store/grocery store/fast food/drycleaner/travel agency/Newsagents/restaurant, you're thinking, “Well, Rob, they most likely come in a pack by the time they get to Argos and they probably can't sell you one because it doesn't have a product number.”
And you'd be right, however, that is not my problem. I don't care about their computer system, I don't care that there isn't a product number. I don't give a flying fuck about their reasons or their excuses, I am the customer and I want what I paid for. I don't care if I accidentally burned half of it down in some kinky candle-to-nipple happy fun shed sex game, I want a shed and I want it with a bloody window in it. All I want to hear from them is “We'll figure something out”. Is that too much to ask, really?
I got home and told Kate what happened. She called them up, told them it was broken when we opened it and they sent us a new one in a package that was custom made to hold glass.
Give me strength.