Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mercury Retrograde, Angels and the Grill from Lowe's

This is a true story.


This is not my grill. Mine was worse
but I didn't stop to take a pic!
At the start of this summer, I caught my grill on fire. Yes, really. Not just a little. It was on fire from the ground up, a pillar of flame that melted the entire grill like the Wicked Witch of the West and peeled the color off our vinyl siding.


It was my mistake. It was the start of summer. The grill had been sitting patiently during the winter and spring. My husband said to let him clean it out and check it, but I was impatient. I didn't wait for him to clean it out and replace the burner that had ended up angled awkwardly backward. I just wanted to quickly grill some chicken before I ran off to teach a class. I figured I'd put the chicken in the front part of the grill grates and cook it on indirect heat. I didn't realize the grill was quite as in need of repair as it was after the winter and spring. 
Well, I DID realize it once the awkward burner caused the grill and all of its parts to turn into a towering inferno.


After turning off the gas and hosing off the grill and house, I left to teach and my husband, Evan ordered a pizza. 


So we needed a new grill. My sister decided to give us an early Chanukah present and she gave us money for a new grill. 


Mercury Retrograde notwithstanding, we looked online for sales and went out to Lowe's, and purchased a decent looking grill. We paid for it and were told it would be assembled for us and we'd pick it up in a couple days. We were sold a conversion kit because we have a natural gas outlet from our house so we don't need to use propane tanks. 


A couple days later we went to pick up the grill. We waited inside Lowe's for a longer time than should be expected. Finally, someone wheeled up a grill and said something like, "Here it is." Before us stood a partially rusted, obviously used and returned grill of the same model as we had purchased. We pointed out that there must've been a mistake because this was clearly not new. The salesperson tried to insist it was new and had just been assembled in a dusty warehouse. Then he offered to sell us this rusty used grill for $75 off what we had paid. We declined the offer, got a refund and went home. 


We did call the customer service line and complain about the experience. 


The next day, I received a call from a manager, who offered us an upgraded model for the same price as what we had paid for the previous grill, and that Lowe's would attach the conversion kit. I said we'd think about it and get back to him in a week. We did some research during the week, and found that the model had mostly good reviews and so we decided to purchase it. 


I called and asked for a manager. I told the whole story to this new person on the phone. He said that no way could Lowe's attach the conversion kit, because that is not allowed. In fact, he told me, the person who had said they would do that could likely be fired for saying such a thing to us. He then said they have one natural gas ready grill, it's an upgraded model and brand from the one we had been expecting to get, and that we could have this one for the same price as the one we had first purchased. I agreed. He said he would have it assembled first thing the next morning and we'd be able to pick it up any time that day. 


The next day...
Evan called Lowe's to ask if it was ready to pick up. He was on hold for 30 minutes. The person returned to the phone and said that he would have to call Evan back because they were looking for it. Half an hour after that, they called Evan and said it's ready, come on and pick it up. He came home from work and went to get our new grill.


In the store...Evan and our daughter Rayna, who he had brought along, waited a very long time while a salesperson ran around trying to find the grill, trying to find a manager, trying to find an answer. After finding none of those, this person offered us an even more upgraded model (we're up above $700 now) for the same price as we had been expecting to pay. And she'd throw in the conversion kit for free. Evan agreed, paid for the grill, bought a cover, and came home. 


We set up the grill and looked this gorgeous thing over. Evan went online for a moment and found out that this particular model can't be converted to gas after all. Another call to the store, speaking to a manager. The manager said the wrong grill had been assembled, which is why no one could find ours. I asked him if the model we had intended to purchase was in the store. He said yes. I asked if it was assembled. He said no. I asked how long it would take to assemble it, and he said an hour. I told him that we would be back in an hour to return this grill and take the one we had been meaning to purchase, and that I wanted him to throw in a cover for our trouble. He agreed. 


An hour later...
Evan went back to Lowe's to pick up the grill. Evan returned the grill and cover. Lowe's processed a refund on our card. They brought up the right grill, new this time, with a cover. Evan checked to make sure it was indeed a natural gas grill. It was. A little smaller but still really nice. Lowe's knocked another $100 off the price for our trouble. Evan purchased the grill (now $100 less than the first model we had bought, listed at $200 more than the first model). He brought it home. We discovered that the wheels were on wrong. We decided we could fix that part ourselves.


The next morning...
Evan checked the computer and said there's a problem. Our checking account was overdrawn. Why? Because apparently, the refund would take a few days to go through. So we had basically purchased two grills and a cover, as far as our checking account knew. 


Another call to Lowe's. A call to the bank. Evan went to work with the problem unsolved. He called me an hour later and said that the bank said I had to go to Lowe's, then call the bank from Lowe's and let the Lowe's customer service person speak to the bank person and give the bank person some code that verified our refund so they'd release the funds back into our account. I went to Lowe's. 


This was no simple matter, as you probably expected by now if you're still reading. For two hours, the bank person tried to explain to the Lowe's person what was needed, and the Lowe's person and his boss tried to find the code the bank person wanted. At the end of two hours, I spoke to the bank person, who said that the code is on our original receipt (and only there, apparently.) The Lowe's guy felt so bad he gave me $90 in cash.


I went home. Evan came home from work, found the receipt, we called the bank and got our money back in our account. He and I fixed the wheels, hooked up the gas to our outlet, and prepared dinner. It works beautifully.


The outcome? The final cost for the grill was less than my sister had given us. We put the difference towards dinner.


The punchline? Thanks to Mercury Retrograde for the communication issues at every turn, and angels for some wild manipulation of events, we now have a high end grill, better than we would've picked out for ourselves, for less than we expected to spend. 


The lesson of the story? I'll be sure to not use the grill until it's all checked over, cleaned up and ready when next season starts. 

5 comments:

Amber Tate said...

Another instance of "In the end, it will be alright. If it's not alright, it's not the end."
At least you recognize the silver lining in the clouds that came with this adventure in the current retrograde :)

♥Piper♥ said...

Oh my gosh, reading this made me feel like I was right there with you and I actually felt stressed out until the end! I know you must have been livid, lol. I have had similar problems with different types of stores, wasted gas and car trips, a lot of it has to do with lazy employees with bad attitudes. Glad you got your new grill.

Katana Leigh said...

That is so hilarious!!! Congrats on your new grill -- I guess it was worth it in the end -- I always would prefer inconvenience and get a better result at the end of the day; like getting a flight delay from Westjet enabled me to go to my friend's wedding across the country. Hope you enjoy your dinner!!

Sherry Andrea said...

You've got great patience although I can imagine that you must have let a couple expletives out. Thanks for sharing that experience!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing..