Lowe’s: In More Ways Than One – The Irony Of A Company Name

Lowe’s: In More Ways Than One
The LOWEST point of our home renovation

(July 1, 2013, my wife and I received the keys to our new home. A property that had been in the family for 90 years was ours, a place we would call home following our wedding on July 12. Over the past 14 months there have been a lot of highs and, unfortunately, a lot more ‘LOWE’s’. A renovation that was initially to be a coat of paint and new carpet turned in to a total demo and rebuild, nothing was spared! With that came the need for new HVAC, plumbing, electric, reframing, lighting, a new kitchen, 2 new bathrooms, trim, baseboard, paint and so much more – including interior doors.)

I’ve never been a handyman and, I actually try to avoid this type of work at all costs. My wife is much better at it than me, mostly due to her patience and attention to detail. Don’t get me wrong, I can give everything a try but, this was something I really didn’t want to mess up. But fast forward to the list above that stated our needs. There are many options for building supplies and, among them all, we chose Lowe’s. Lowe’s, you know – the place that tells you to “Never Stop Improving.” Maybe they need to take a page out of their own book, because Lowe’s has become a thorn in our side, an enigma in the highest degree.

I don’t know the total amount of money we’ve spent at Lowe’s, but it’s been more than I had hoped. This would have been the case no matter where we would have shopped. The actual number is either just shy of or more than $10,000. To Lowe’s, as I have stated in tweets prior – “Our $10,000 to Lowe’s is a penny in Fort Knox.” Regardless, no customer should have to experience what we have in our home renovation process.

The incomplete – complete list of items we’ve purchased from Lowe’s includes (and I am sure this can be confirmed on ‘MyLowes’ card – then again, maybe not!):

• Materials to tile, grout, clean, caulk, etc. our kitchen, laundry room and master bathroom.
• Both our bathrooms, aside from 1 toilet
• More than 20 gallons of paint for the entire house
• Lumber
• Baseboard and trim for the entire house
• 15 interior doors – which will eventually be 16

This will ultimately refer back to the last items on the list, baseboard and doors. But our problems with Lowe’s go far beyond that. My final conclusion is that there is a systematical flaw in Lowe’s proverbial road-map. This includes everything from customer service to staffing, computer systems/networking, and overall structure.

There have been two instances (which I have openly tweeted about) in the past 3 months where Lowe’s has come up short in our expectations of the company – which suddenly aren’t high ones. The irony of the name is that our experience has been a tale of ‘lows’.

*AS I WRITE THIS I JUST RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM MY BANK FURTHER CONFIRMING MY SUSPICION’S FROM THE LATEST DEBACLE*

“Follow up to my earlier reply . Keep old checks and use for now . We are ordering new checks for you. Apparently Lowe’s system would not accept due to their policy but not because those checks are bad. Look for new checks at your house within 2 weeks . Call me with any other concerns. Keith”

Now back to our regular scheduled programming…

The first negative experience was with our tile and supply order, which was made days prior and scheduled for pick-up in advance. We were told “everything will be ready when you get here that day.” Well, that sure wasn’t the case! (see @BrianGulish & @DaynaGulish twitter feeds from July 13)

We spent more than an hour waiting for Lowe’s to find a forklift – or a forklift operator – to bring our order to the loading area. Now, if you tell someone you will have it ready, doesn’t that mean ready to pick-up? We received a $50 voucher for our time lost and maybe that was Lowe’s way of telling us to be happy and come back to spend a lot more than that $50!

Fast forward to Tuesday (August 26). We normally visit the Lowe’s in Robinson Township however, since we were at our home in Baden, we were closer to Monaca and chose that location. That evening we “purchased” 15 doors, 137 pieces of 8’ baseboard, 28 pieces of 12’ quarter round, door jambs, stops (or so I thought), shims, light fixtures, light bulbs, a toilet, a bathtub and a partridge in a pear tree! 2014-08-26 18.00.07

Several times I went over the order specifics, most notably the doors with the associate on hand. My carpenter was very clear on what was needed and quantities of each. So after about 30 minutes of choosing supply, employee “Rich” began setting up our order. While I was with Rich, my wife was in the bathroom section ordering a bathtub and toilette for delivery as well.

I called our carpenter to confirm everything on the list, which he did and mentioned to get shims, caulk, and the jamb kit as well. Rich understood and proceeded to enter the order. Once everything was entered, I was asked for my phone number, then headed to plumbing to help my wife finish that order, and then went to check out.

2014-08-27 09.23.52

We arrived at customer service and told the associate what we needed to do – return a light fixture we didn’t need, then confirm the order of doors, toilette, and tub, and then ring up the small items we were intending to take home with us at that time. Well, this was completely ignored and we were told – “we will do the return at the end.” Why not just give us store credit on the spot, then take it off our $3,500 order? So we did it her way…

This all took about 20 minutes to do and the line at customer service was backing out of the store! Everyone was giving us the “get the hell out of here look!” Once we finally had everything purchased and confirmed, it was time to pay. I knew that the balance on our Lowe’s card wouldn’t cover entire purchase and I was prepared to complete the purchase with a check from our equity line.

Once the balance was known after our card was swiped, I wrote the equity check out only to be told “it won’t accept your check.” I said “I’ve got more than enough balance to pay this number of 20 times.” So she ran the check again… and, again, “this isn’t working.” Finally, I gave her my debit card, ran the total and was set to head to my banker in the morning to transfer the money back in to our checking from our equity. With that, we left the Lowe’s 500 and set for home with me saying “I definitely better triple check this order.”
Wednesday morning I did just that and, to no surprise of mine, the entire door order was so badly incorrect it was more laughable than frustrating. After going through and figuring out what was right, what was wrong, and what needed corrected, I then sent out this series of tweets…

Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Here is what our @Lowes door order was supposed to be: 24″L, 24″R (4), 28″R (2), 30″R (4), 30″L (3), 32″L ….& after reviewing receipt 2day
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Here is what @Lowes gave us: 24″L, 24″R (5), 28″R (1), 30″R (3), 30″L (3), 32″L (2)…
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
$1,040.25 on doors from @Lowes and they got 2 of 6 quantity by item number right… this isn’t MLB, .333 average won’t cut it
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Total order from @lowes was $3,326.65 – as we also purchased toilet, tub, $1,238.48 worth of baseboard, $337.12 worth of 1/4 round.
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Plus other odds and ends… JUST ONCE, I would like to go to @lowes and not have a customer service issue.
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
We’ve spent more than $35,000 on our home renovation, including no less than $7,500 at @lowes for doors, trim, baseboard, bathroom, tile…
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
…supplies, lights for the entire house, paint for the entire house…each & every step of the way we’ve been loyal & naive I guess @Lowes
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
$7,500 is an understatement, more likely $10K. Absolutely disgusted with the constant cluster flub each and every visit
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
and they didn’t include the jam set or hole saw set for a door. @Lowes … ready to take our business “The power of the @HomeDepot ”
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Maybe if they weren’t understaffed at Monaca, PA store @Lowes wouldn’t have this problem. Poor kid was trying to help us & 3 others at once
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
I’ll go to the @lowes in Robinson and see if they can correct the invoice. Thought they’ll likely say “you have to go to Monaca…”

The final tweet during my breakfast rant is the most telling of all because, I knew what my fate would be 8 hours later and, sure enough after working through lunch to finish work an hour early to take care of this mess…

Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
And I will continue voicing my frustration with @Lowes here on Twitter. As was anticipated this morning, for no logical reason…
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
My order can’t be confirmed or changed, what I mean is CORRECTED at the @lowes in Robinson. Now I have to drive all the way to Monaca…
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Why can’t a @lowes store pull up a $3500 order from another Lowe’s store 20 miles away? Now I am inconvenienced even more due to your error!
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
All I needed to do was pull up order on your computer & correct quantity of purchased doors. But there is no internal network for @lowes ?
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
15 doors confirmed in person last night and in writing, but for some reason on receipt when reviewed this morning completely mangled! @lowes
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
I know our $10,000 spent on purchases for our new home may be a penny inside of Fort Knox to @lowes , but to us it was loyalty and business
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Fool me once it’s on me, fool me a second time it’s on me, fool me now a third time @Lowes and I’m going elsewhere. 3rd strike, I’m out.

And then a tweet sent to me by a friend and local newspaper writer…

Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
“@GoBobbo: @BrianGulish @Lowes ugh. That sounds awful. You’ve had a hellish experience with them, from what I recall.” It’s well documented!
Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • Aug 27
Seriously, how can a company as big as @Lowes not be able to change an order or confirm an order from a store 20 miles away?! #amazed

So, following my absolute disgust and amazement with the system or lack thereof at Lowe’s, I proceeded to drive from Robinson to Monaca to fix my problem which, in the end, is definitely a Lowe’s problem. Once I arrived, I live blogged everything that occurred for my record and to spotlight the problems I’ve had with Lowe’s from day 1.

* 4:00pm arrive at Lowe’s Monaca. Greeted nicely. Sent from customer service to building materials/doors. John is working with someone, told me to wait, “Mike will be back soon.”

* It’s now 4:03pm

* It’s now 4:08pm

*Only 1 person in this store is trained or competent to help me fix my order?! It’s now 4:10pm

* What if Lowe’s gave $100 off for each minute you waited, kind of like Domino’s 30 minutes or less deal.

* Another lady needs help pricing trim. John said “give me a few minutes.”

* I should be a mystery shopper and go in to all Lowe’s stores to see what happens. Lowe’s needs to be on undercover boss… I can do it for them. It’s now 4:13pm. If you don’t believe me, there’s a security camera here you can check, right?!

* AND NOW JOHN IS TAKING CUSTOMER X TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Standing here all alone and trim lady is visibly frustrated and walks away. It’s 4:15pm now!

* Maybe I can go on their computer and make the changes myself? No other employees walking past have checked on me, 6 of them now. It’s 4:17pm. This is FUN-ny.

2014-08-27 16.12.06

2014-08-27 16.12.20

* 2 more women just got here. Lori asked if I needed help. I said “I’m waiting on John.” Lori then went over the intercom and called for John to the desk over here. I told her he knows already and is in customer service. It’s 4:20pm… I should have captured all this on video.

*Mike has now arrived, I greeted myself because he didn’t. He sat down, going through papers with no urgency or concern for me, the customer. Here comes John – It’s 4:22pm… Both are here and NEITHER IS HELPING ME!!!!!! You’ve got to be kidding me!

* Mike is talking to himself… Saying he is overwhelmed! I’ll do this tomorrow… (Whatever he is doing)… Both are ignoring me I guess! 4:24pm. Why am I not wearing a hidden camera?!

* Seriously, I am so close to being that guy who is just an ignorant POS! I’ll wait to see how long this goes on… It’s 4:26pm!

* 4:35pm and John now just realized I am waiting still and asked if I needed help… He is going through everything with me… He just said “Oh boy!”… I guess we have to refund the entire order from last night and re-enter everything/ not just the doors!!!!!! I feel like I’ll be here another hour. John is pulling item numbers now. And he has confirmed that the jamb kit and hole saw kit WEREN’T included!

* FYI, John and Mike didn’t realize neither was helping me. Make that a minus on staff communication… All things considered, John did go step-by-step with me to confirm numbers, 3 times. I’ll be sure to make it 5 before I leave! It’s 4:40pm.

* They really are going to have to refund everything, including tub and toilette??? This is a system breakdown, not staff… Other than whoever put my stuff in wrong last night… John is hustling right now. Props to him, and Mike is courteous on the phone right now.

* Just informed it could take WEEKS to get the baseboard in, not by Tuesday. Ok Lowe’s, I’m fired up now!!!! I was told Tuesday last night… John says “NO WAY!” Breakdown in the system big time! It’s 4:46pm.

* I’m trying to be reasonable right now.

* 4:57pm, just had carpenter on phone to confirm entire order and measurements with John. John’s a sport right now – but it should have never gotten to this point!

2014-08-27 16.57.14

* Why are there systematical breakdowns to this degree?! 5:00pm, here an hour now. John’s trying to get this 1×4 baseboard ordered. Why I was told last night it could be delivered by Tuesday is beyond me! They don’t even have enough in stock in the entire region! Now we are phone ordering item number 85819 from Empire. The count for this store is off – computer shows 35 are here in Monaca, John says there are only 10 – he counted. We may be able to have all this delivered by 9/9 or 9/10.

* It’s 5:04pn

*John just told me Rich shouldn’t have sold this to me last night.

* Now it’s time to re-enter order and refund/repay. What a waste of time and disaster! This’ll take an hour or more!

* Battery is dying! 5:09pm – I’ll update when I leave the desk back here.

2014-08-27 17.11.45

* Now John is getting pissed, computer not cooperating… It’s 5:12pm

* 5:18pm. Just told John the story of amazement why Robinson’s store couldn’t do this, he chuckled “Look at the computer system. They keep saying they are going to update it.”

* Doesn’t that tell you something Lowe’s?! Walking to customer service – 5:21pm – John said this could be good or bad, we’ll see!

2014-08-27 17.35.23

* 5:23pm

*5:34pm I am walking out. I will review everything when I get home, I have 5 receipts of transactions. This better ALL be good now.

2014-08-27 18.15.26

After reliving Wednesday’s experience again, I am just in awe by the breakdown that Lowe’s has in their system of operation both internally at one store, and externally from location to location. I can’t ask the question enough “WHY CAN’T THESE MODIFICATIONS BE MADE, ORDERS CHANGED/FIXED FROM ONE STORE FOR/TO ANOTHER?!”
Like times prior, as soon as I began tweeting to @Lowes, I receive replies from their Lowes Customer Care handle – @LowesCares. I am told to go to the “rant or rave” site. So I did, and I ranted! A few hours later I receive this email back from Lowes Customer Care…

 

2:05 PM – 8/17/14

Hello Brian,
I appreciate you reaching out to Lowe’s on Twitter and for sharing the issues that you have encountered while shopping with us. Any time a customer does not feel they received the service they deserve we want to address the situation. I understand your frustration and I want to make sure everything is remedied
I will be sharing your aggravation with the local senior store management team at the Monaca and Robinson Township, PA location. We will get this situation addressed. You will be contacted within 24 hours.
Thank you for choosing Lowe’s. I value you as a customer and I am grateful for the opportunity that you have given me to renew your trust in Lowe’s. If there is anything else I can help you with, please reply back to this email. I would be happy to assist you.
Susan R.
Lowe’s Customer Care

So, being me, I said to myself “Ok, I will give Lowe’s 24 hours.” And when 24 hours passed, I sent out this tweet at the Steelers game last night.

Brian Gulish @BrianGulish • 13h
@lowes sent email that they’ll be in contact within 24 hours… It’s been 28 now… I was being nice- now, the blog drops at 8AM.

Once I sent that out, I then get THIS email almost 33 hours later!

11:02 PM – 8/18/14

Brian, Hello My name is Mark Franks and I am an Assistant store manager at your Monaca Lowes. I am very sorry for the poor service you have received at our store in your recent visits. At Lowes we pride ourselves on providing great customer service to our customers in your case we have failed to do so. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. If there is anything i can do to help resolve these issues please feel free to call me at the store 724-774-5144 ext 4802 or simply reply to this email. Once again I am sorry for the poor service and experience you had out our store.

Mark Franks
Assistant Store Manager
Monaca, Pa #500
ph 724-774-5144
fax 724-774-5350

I’m sorry, you are an ASSISTANT MANAGER? That may have been the worst email from a manager I’ve ever read in my life! Why am I to call YOU for starters?! What was this supposed to be, another attempt to silence my complaints? Sorry, this is unacceptable!

I could go on and on for days and days about the problems I’ve had with Lowe’s. At this point, I’m not sure it would make any difference. I’m not sure what Lowe’s pays to sponsor Jimmie Johnson but perhaps they should look in to using some of that money to invest in a better systematical network! There are issues with many things across the board at Lowe’s. Customer service, management, and most notably – internal/external networking capabilities. I am not sure if this will get any attention from Lowe’s but, it will be a clear example of why my business will be taken elsewhere IF this all is not addressed with me in depth by someone who makes decisions at Lowe’s.

Will update this blog if any new info comes in!

 

NEW INFO – But different problem!  2:04PM Friday August 29…

I just get a call/voicemail from George in Plumbing at Lowe’s… “Brian this is George at Lowe’s plumbing in Monaca.  I am having difficulty finding that tub.  Want to know the date of the start of your project…”

I call back and this is the LIVE TWITTER FEED OF THAT CALL…

It keeps getting better. So the tub we ordered Tuesday night @ – now I get a call that “they are having difficulty finding tub!”

Am I being Punk’d by or something?!?! Time to call George back.. AT LEAST HE CALLED ME! Manager just rambled an email off at 11PM!

I am on the phone – on hold for 2:55 now and twice I’ve been transferred to George in plumbing to no avail..this isn’t even good HOLD MUSIC!

On hold with for 3:50 now and someone in PAINT just picked up! That’s not GEORGE IN PLUMBING! 4:20 on hold now – still bad music

On hold now with Monaca for 5:22 and counting

Phone is ringing…. 6:00 now on hold or something!

George from Monaca called and told me to get back to him ASAP about tub – it’s been a 6:36 phone call right now

on hold for 7:00 now – I’ve been redirected to main line twice, painting once, and now ? 7:20

Now I am back to main operator – we are trying again… 7:40 now

George answered finally at 7:51

And now George tells me there are NO TUBS IN STOCK ANYWEHRE.. NOTHING UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15! … Everyone shows 3, has 1 …

To recap as my call with George ends… We paid for tub and set up delivery on Tuesday, today (Friday) I am told there are no tubs in stock

Is there a rule for ?!?!

 

 

JUST TO CONFIRM AT THE END OF IT ALL… THE MAN KNOWN AS JOHN WHO ASSISTED ME ON WEDNESDAY IS IN NO WAY AT FAULT HERE IN ANY WAY!  HE SAVED ME FROM THE ISSUES HE ALSO HAS TO OVERCOME AT LOWE’S.  THE MAN SHOULD BE IN A HIGH LEVEL MANAGEMENT POSITION WHO CAN MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS!

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