Well the brewery control panel is done. Finished it last night. I would be much more celebratory, but I am currently very annoyed by a non-beer related issue.

As I may have mentioned, the wife and I are expecting our first child. Our baby girl…Camryn Alexis…will be born in April. This is not the annoying part. This could not be more awesome.

chairThe annoying part has been a bunch of completely unnecessary drama that I had to go through in making arrangements for delivery of a pink striped chair for her nursery.

We ordered this chair from Target.com and had it sent to my office so that we wouldn’t have to run the risk of noone being home when it was delivered. This turned out to be a much bigger pain in the arse than we could have ever expected. I could go on, but I think that it might be a better use of my time if I just shared the following email that I sent out this morning.

To whomever it may concern at Target.com and Home Direct USA,

I would very much like to file a formal complaint about a delivery of a recent order that was placed on Target.com. Specifically, I would like to file a complaint with the local distribution center who was responsible for fulfilling the final leg of our “To-the-Door Delivery”: Show Me Home Delivery, Inc. in Maryland Heights, MO.

First off, here is the pertinent information regarding this order.

Target Order Number: 101025545632
Waybill Number: WG0796
Tracking Number: 10764610

Secondly, I feel that it is necessary to cite the description of “To-the Door Delivery” as provided by the Target website:

Item is delivered to the doorstep; no appointment or signature required. Carrier will call to schedule the delivery.

In particular, I would like to address the second portion of that statement, that the carrier will call to schedule the delivery.

This never happened. Neither me, or my wife, received any kind of phone call whatsoever. It was only by checking into the status of the order through the Home Direct USA website that we even learned that our package was scheduled to be delivered on Monday February 11, 2013 between 4 and 8 PM. And while the Home Direct USA website indicated that voice mail messages were left, we never received any. Not sure who they were calling, but it wasn’t either one of us. Also, I found it interesting that when I checked this site on Sunday, February 10, the Shipment Progress indicated that a voice mail message had been left at 10 AM on February 11, the following day. Apparently they were making calls in the future.

For the safety of the product, we had the package sent to my office, thinking that we would be able to schedule delivery during day time hours when there would be someone here to receive it. We did not want this large box just sitting outside all day long, where it could potentially be damaged by weather or stolen.

However, my office is only open til 5, and as such an evening delivery would not work. I called the number provided for Show Me Home Delivery to see if it would be possible to A) reschedule the delivery to an earlier time of day, B) to have it sent to my home instead, or C) to leave it at their location (which is only a mile from my office) where I could pick it up myself. The person I spoke to was rather inflexible on this matter, explaining that because the package was already on the truck, that no changes could be made to the shipment. While I felt that the company stance was rather rigid, given that I had never actually had the chance to schedule the delivery to begin with, I was willing to be patient. She said that the driver would contact me on my cell phone about an hour before delivery, so that I could come and meet him at the office and receive the shipment in person. I felt that this was a fair compromise, and was willing to work with that.

That evening, I again never received a call. I waited all evening, phone in hand, in constant stand-by mode, and nothing. I was annoyed at this point, but was still willing to be forgiving.

When I arrived at the office this morning (Tuesday 2/12/13) I had expected to find a note or something of the like explaining that delivery had been attempted. No such note was found. So I called the Show Me Home Delivery office once again to see if they could fill me in on the status of my delivery. Neither of the women I spoke to seemed to have any knowledge of the whereabouts of my shipment. They said they would get back to me.

Shortly thereafter, a co-worker noticed a large box sitting outside her window with my name on it. Sure enough, this was the delivery I had been expecting. A delivery which had been made the night prior, and simply left outside my office building with no notice.

Now, I realize that Target’s To the Door Delivery policy states that no signature is required, but I had made it more than clear to the delivery company that I did not want my delivery just left outside. They had expressed some level of understanding of this, and had made assurances that this would not be the case. It is also my understanding from a phone conversation with a customer support representative from Home Direct USA that it is not the company’s policy to simply leave packages unsupervised when a customer has explicitly requested otherwise.

So by my count Show Me Home Delivery, Inc. failed on a multitude of fronts:

– They failed to schedule a delivery time with the customer, as per the terms of Target’s delivery policy
– They failed to accommodate the customer when their arbitrarily selected delivery time did not meet the customer’s schedule
– They either lied to, or at the very least completely failed, the customer by saying that they would be notified by the driver with an estimated delivery time
– They inconvenienced the customer by needlessly wasting their time
– They risked the customer’s property by negligently leaving it in the open air overnight despite the customer’s very clear desire to the contrary

But what bothers me most is that when I called them this morning to check on the status of my delivery, they seemed to have no idea of where it was located.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would think that a basic knowledge of the whereabouts of the items with which you have been entrusted would be vital for a delivery company. For me to talk to two different people, and neither one of them have any ability to find this information out is absolutely ridiculous. I understand that this company probably isn’t as automated as UPS or FedEx, but it shouldn’t be that hard to find out if a delivery was made or not.

Ultimately, I am very disappointed and quite angered by the extremely poor service that Show Me Home Delivery, Inc. provided me. As should Home Direct USA and Target for that matter. Their negligence, inefficiency, and general dishonesty are atrocious and reflect very poorly on the companies who contracted them.

As your local delivery agents, they were tasked to provide a simple customer service. A simple service that they failed to execute in any kind of manner that met the expectations of the customer or, for that matter, the policies of the companies they represent.
This is nothing to be nonchalant about. This is a simple matter of trust. I as the customer should be able to trust that the property that I paid for with my own hard-earned money will be well taken care of from point A to point B. How can I trust any company that doesn’t even know where that property is?

That said, I also have to wonder how much I can truly trust a company that would contract out such a critical aspect of service to an organization capable of this kind of cavalier negligence, dishonesty and ineptitude.

In the end, customer service is absolutely critical to any business, and from where I stand Show Me Home Delivery, Inc. failed miserably in a multitude of ways. I hope that this concerns you. It should. They are agents of your companies. Their failure is a reflection on you.

While this shipment did find its way into my possession safe and sound, I feel that this has just as much to do with dumb luck than it does customer service. It could have been damaged by weather or stolen by a ne’er-do-well passer-by. And who would have been responsible then? Who then would have been forking out even more hard-earned cash for a second pink-striped lullaby rocker to go into the nursery for my soon to be born daughter? Would Show Me Delivery, Inc. pay for it? Would Target? Would Home Delivery USA?

It’s not just about what did happen. It’s what could have happened. And in this case, a lot could have gone wrong. What is so incromprehensible though, is that all this dissatisfaction and potential disaster could have been avoided with just a little common sense, responsibility and basic customer service. Is that too much to ask? Is that too much to expect? 

Thank you for your time, and I sincerely hope that you will address these issues in an appropriate manner.

-Seth Treptow

I don’t know if anything will come of this email. I really doubt that it will. It will probably just be swept under the rug and forgotten about.

Which is sad really. I hear all the time about how America has become a service based economy. If that is truly the case, then shouldn’t service be a bit more important? Shouldn’t how you treat customers be your calling card? Shouldn’t you want to make customers happy? Moreover, shouldn’t you do everything you can to make customers ecstatic?

I just don’t get it. I know I’m a bit of a curmudgeon, but seriously world…can’t we try a little harder not to suck?