So, as you know, we have had some recent problems with water in our basement. We resolved the problem and had new carpet installed earlier this month. Unfortunately, however, the carpet on the basement stairs was not installed properly, and we didn’t notice this until after the installation crew had left because we were in a hurry to get somewhere on the day of the installation. The problem was that they only installed the padding under the carpet across the treads and not the risers as well. Since the previous carpet had padding all the way down, including along the risers, we ended up with a gap along the side of each riser where we could see where the baseboards had been cut. The lack of padding meant that the carpet thickness wasn’t as much as it was before, and therefore the gap wasn’t covered. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it didn’t look right, and since we had just paid for carpet and installation, we wanted it to be corrected. I called the next day and the company set up a time the next week to come out and correct it. The man on the phone said that they would run the padding all the way down the entire length of the stairs.
Fast-forward to the next appointment, a week later. The installation guy (the same guy who installed the carpet, mind you) agreed that it could be and should be corrected by installing the padding all the way down, including along the risers. But he needed to order new carpet, because when they pulled out the new carpet they had just installed, it would get ripped up due to staples and tacks. So it was not fixed, and the carpet was again ordered.
Today, two weeks later, was the next repair/installation day. It was the third time I had to sit home during a four-hour arrival window for the carpet installation guys. This time it was a different installation guy, and he had the new carpet, but he said he couldn’t install the padding on the risers. I asked why, and he said that it wasn’t done that way. He understood my problem and agreed that it didn’t look right with the gaps along the edges of the risers, but said that he couldn’t fix it. I explained that both on the phone and in-person, I had been told that the padding could be and would be installed that way. He continued to disagree with me. He called the company office and I talked with someone there, who also said they don’t do it that way. By this point, I had explained to both of them that I had twice before been told that they could – and would – do this, and that I was yet again missing work to wait for them, and that I expected them to correct the problem. The person on the phone was not budging, so I asked for her supervisor. I got that guy on the phone and he was incredibly rude. I started off being polite and firm (I do believe in being calm, polite, and firm in any type of negotiations) but fairly quickly I got incredibly mad. What a waste of my time and energy – and what a terrible business practice for them to twice tell me they could do something and then now say they couldn’t. The supervisor insisted that they couldn’t fix the problem. He kept talking about how the lip on the step would be a problem, and I kept saying that there was no lip on the step. At one point I even said to the installation guy, who was next to me the whole time, “Is there a lip on this step?” and he agreed there was not. It was just a regular old 90-degree corner. At this point I started to really let them see that I was not some demure little woman who was just going to nod and smile and say, “Okay, gee, you’re right, nevermind.”
I then asked for this guy’s supervisor. He said, “I am the supervisor, ma’am.” I said, “Well, everyone has a boss. Get yours on the phone.” (That felt good, by the way!) Eventually I did get to the next guy, who actually listened to what I was saying, and agreed that they could fix it. When I handed the phone back to the installation guy, I heard the uber-supervisor say, “Let’s make this customer happy.” THANK YOU!! Seriously, what happened to the saying about the customer always being right?
In the end, they installed the padding all the way up/down the stairs, the gaps are covered, and I am, indeed a happy customer. (Well, mostly – I’d be happier if I didn’t have to go through all of that crap!) To top it all off, at one point early in this conversation I asked the installation guys if they could also reinstall the carpet that we had to pull up recently after our dehumidifier malfunctioned. Even after I was Crazy Kelly to them and on the phone, they still did this. I was going to slip them each a $20 bill for this (it wasn’t what they were there to do, and it wasn’t their fault that we had had to pull it back, so I did not expect them to do it for free) but after being such a raging bitch, I ended up giving them $30 each (which was all the cash I had on hand). It was well worth it to have them tack the carpet back in. If we had done it, it never would have been right.
The combination of my present fragile emotional state plus the poor handling of this situation by the carpet installation company was sort of the perfect storm here. I rarely get angry at people in situations like this. I am generally a calm, rational person (although those who only know me from reading this blog might not know that!) and I do believe in the old saying about how you catch more flies with honey than vinegar (or whatever it is). Even in my practice as an attorney, I follow that guidance because I don’t think drama and nastiness gets people anywhere. Today, the wrath of Kelly was needed, however, and it got the job done.
And, by the way, it felt really good to let it all out!