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Monday, October 3, 2011

A Yeehaw for Y’all!

We all have those catalogues we look forward to receiving in the mail, right? (Hubby swears we get every one published in the World.) I browse through each—turning down pages, telling myself to wait a few days and then decide if I really, truly need that item. Keeping them the requisite three-ish months, then, finally, throwing them away. Proud I was frugal. Sad for the trees that died in vain.

One of my all-time most favourite (fancy spelling) catalogues is Ballard Designs. I can’t remember how many years I’ve been enjoying it. Twenty? At least.

TLC and I’ve ordered furniture, rugs, trinkets, and gifts from Ballard’s (is it wrong that some of the “gifts” were for us?). She has a cute Parson’s chair with black and white houndstooth fabric we purchased for her first “Yippee-I’m-Outta-College!” apartment. Here is their Newport Demilune Table in Rubbed Black:

This was in our Great Room for several years.
Now it happily resides in our bedroom!

Ballard Designs’ products are unique, fun, pretty, and of good quality. Their prices seem quite fair and they often have free shipping and/or on-line specials. Possibly the very best thing about Ballard’s? Their Customer Service. It’s awesome.

Here’s my confession about just how superb these peeps are:

TLC and I were both looking for a bedskirt. She needed one for her guest bedroom (aka: ELC’s room—tee hee hee!). I needed one for our Barn Apartment. As I was flippin’ through my catalogue in June, there it was—the perfect bedskirt. A fringed burlap little number that was not only charming, but also a reasonable price. I got on-line and ordered two—having TLC’s sent to her home.

Less than a week later, mine arrived. It was everything I hoped it’d be—and more. TLC couldn’t wait to get hers. BUT… another week went by and it hadn’t shown up. Hmmm.

On July 13th (just found all my “paperwork” while cleaning my desk), I called the company. Talked to a nice young man named Greg. {At this point, I’d like to say I never asked for the spelling of anyone’s name—so what I’ve typed is my best guess.} He said his records were showing it’d been delivered. I sweetly said: “Uh, no, Greg. That’s not possible. Unless it’s been delivered today. Or it was delivered and someone stole it off my daughter's porch. (Old peeps like me think the worst too often. Yes, yes—that’s sad.) Greg suggested we give it a couple more days.

After hanging up, I, got, well, frustrated. I called back. This time I talked to Lindsey. Explained I’d just talked to Greg. Asked for a tracking number. She was also very nice, patiently stating she couldn’t give me any more information than Greg had. Sheesh—and sigh—with some ELC eye-rollin’.

Ten minutes later I called again. Clearly, I was becoming a teensy-bit stressed/obsessed. This time Thelma helped me. She gave me a tracking number and said the bedskirt had actually been delivered to a Post Office on July 9th. This might have made me cRaZy nUtS. I got, well, an edge to my otherwise charming Southern voice. “So what do we do when it never shows up?” I asked. Thelma answered, tres kindly: “No problem. We’ll give you a credit, re-charge your card and mail another one out.”

Upon hanging up, I discovered, via the tracking number, it had been delivered to a Post Office—in a town 100 miles from TLC’s home. I Googled for a phone number. When I told the woman who answered what I was looking for, she said I’d actually called the wrong number, but she’d be happy to help me. Three minutes later, she came back and said: “Yes. Your package was delivered to the Main Post Office several days ago.” I told her I couldn’t understand why it had been delivered there—because that wasn’t my daughter’s zip code. At the exact moment I was saying those words—it hit me. Well, well, what do you know? I, ELC, had put the wrong zip code on my original order.  

Now I had to face the COLD HARD TRUTH: it was ALL MY FAULT.

I profusely thanked this Nice Woman for her help and called the number she gave me. I told a Nice Man my story—for the fifth time—confessing MY error—and ending with my hope that the package was there. I’d come pick it up that afternoon! Easy breezy. Done and done. The man burst my happy, albeit guilty, bubble.  “Well, first, even if you had put the wrong zip code, it shouldn’t have come here. You had the address and city right. It should’ve been caught—by someone. Second, it’s gone. We sent it to your daughter’s Post Office this morning. Check with them.”

I tried to do that. It took me three days to get someone to answer the phone. At a big Post Office. They have a voicemail that assures the caller they will get back to you—please leave a message. No one ever did. Shocking, right? In my dogged determination not to have to call Ballard’s and own up to my failure, I did catch a man on the third day—around 4:30 p.m. I went through My Tale of Woe—for the sixth time. Without ever asking me for the tracking number or TLC’s name or address—he rudely said the package could not be there. Huh? Oh, Geez. “Could it be on her Mail-Person’s Truck?” I inquired. Nope. He dismissed me. It was quittin’ time.

I officially quit, too. I dialed Ballard’s and poured my heart out to a Rep named Rebecca. Told her I’d caused all the problems/confusion/Hell. She was downright precious. I even admitted I had been “slightly unfriendly” to two of their Reps. She laughed and said it was okay—they could/should have caught the wrong zip code and called me to straighten out the discrepancy. Not to worry any more.

She suggested we wait one more week. We did. It never landed on TLC’s porch. Then Rebecca did her CSM (Customer Service Magic) and I received the second beautiful bedskirt in less than a week. With a 15% discount coupon on my next order! I emailed Ballard’s that day, assuming full responsibility for the mistake and thanking them, again, praising every Rep for their professional, classy and positive attitudes.

SOOO many lessons learned by me. First and foremost? It never, EVER, EVER pays to be even a little snippish to people you don’t even know. At least not until you are one thousand percent certain you aren’t the one who’s made the mistake.

But the most significant lesson I believe I learned from this unnecessary nightmare? Ballard Designs is a TOP-NOTCH company with top-notchier employees.

Gotta scoot—have a new BD catalogue to peruse and a coupon burning a hole on the top of my desk!

p.s. Go Texas Rangers!!!!!!


Autumn said...

Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn. The 2 catalogs I will never ever throw away without looking at every single page, with much longing, yearning and drooling. I, too, have had nothing but good experiences with Ballard. Cute cute stuff.

Autumn said...


The Leightons said...

Oh, how do we love thee, Pottery Barn! We concur, Autumn!