Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Online Shopping Saga Continues

Remember the bistro set I bought where the online company selling it gave me two different answers when I messaged them about the color? Well, that should have given me a clue that their right hand doesn’t know what their left hand is doing. When the huge box arrived I carefully unpacked it, checked for damage and to make sure the bag of parts matched up to that was listed on the instruction sheet. It didn't. It was missing a one inch plastic part.

Step One: I filled out a form on the website about the missing part and sent the above photo with the form and I got a message back that they are sending me a whole new bistro set. Thinking I somehow screwed up and somehow ordered another set instead of a one inch part, I called them and was told that the manufacture no longer has those little one inch parts available and they’ve authorized Wayfair to issue a full refund and I can go to a place like Lowe's or Home Depot and find a part that will work. Supposedly the screws and plastic receptors are interchangeable with others that are out there to get the job done. That would have been a needle-in-the-haystack kind of shopping trip but it did look do-able. The help desk lady said the refund was already issued to my credit card account and that I could send them a copy of the receipt for a new part and they would reimburse me. I checked my credit card account online and sure enough, the refund was there and I was getting a free bistro set minus a little thingamajig.

Step Two: I got a phone call from Wayfair a few days later. “Good news!” the guy said. "A new part is on the way."  Great, I thought, that saves me a shopping trip.

Step Three: Three days later a whole new bistro set showed up on my doorstep! And no, I didn't get a charge added onto my credit card for the second set. But the refund for the first table set was rescinded.

Step Four: I called Wayfair back up and told them that I was expecting a one inch plastic part and a whole new bistro set arrived and, “How do I send it back?” She was very nice and she told me that this was the way the manufacture wanted to handle the missing part. I’m to keep the second set and I have one of two choices I can do with the first set: Either donate it or I can ship it back to Wayfair at my own expense. This box is 42” x 28” x 10” and I’ve shipped enough e-Bay stuff over the past two years to know that box wasn’t going to ship cheaply. “I did nothing wrong," I told her, "and I’m not shipping it back if I have to pay the freight!” The help desk representative was very nice---again---and said it was my choice to make. "Wayfair does not weigh in on your choice." So I have a huge box in my living room waiting to be unpacked to make sure the parts are all there and a partially empty box sitting in my garage while its table is leaning against my library wall.

Step Five: I got to looking at that table and where the two identical parts are supposed to go on the table and for the life of me I can’t see what possible function them preform. The screws and plastic parts they screw into attaches two plastic clamps around a bar and the plastic clamps don’t make contact with any other part on the table when it’s set up or when it’s folded up. The clamps do not hold anything together, do not protect anything and the table works perfectly as is without them. I checked to make sure the diagram and bag of parts matches the stock number of the table and they do and the diagram shows exactly where the stupid parts are supposed to go which is not a place important to it's function, strength or structure. So now I’ve got two tables waiting for the son-I-wish-I-had, who is coming next week to help empty out my garage, to see if he can see something I’m missing on why those clamps are even needed. 

Step Six: Once that mystery is solved I’ve decided I’ll enjoy one bistro set this summer on my side deck and for staging the house, and leave the other one packed for the move. Then when I leave here I’ll either donate, sell or give away the set I've used over the summer or leave it behind for the new owner…whatever suits me best at the time. 

Edit to Add: Step Seven - written a few days after writing the other steps: I just got an e-mail from Wayfair asking if I knew that I could donate the set to Habitat for Humanity and they will pick it up, which, the email said, "would save me the inconvenience of donating it elsewhere." They didn't say it but Wayfair probably gets a tax write off if I do use the Habitat link they sent me, which I'm sure works better dollar wise for them than paying for return shipping. So now I have to new decision to make: Be selfish and stick with Step six or arrange for a Habitat pick up. I'm strongly leaning toward the latter choice but I'll still fish the bag of parts out of the new box, then remove the one inch plastic part that neither Habitat or I will need and return the bag where I found it. Why bother, you ask? Just to keep the records matching on this saga. I'm not taking any chances in case Habitat reports back to Wayfair that the part was there all along, since it was the first box I was supposed to donate. (It took a long time to unpack that first book to check for damages and I'm not doing it for the second box.)

Step Eight: I just tried to schedule a pickup on the bistro set with Habitat for Humanity and because of Covid they are not scheduling any pickups until after August 3rd! By then I'll have the house on the market and I can't leave that great big box sitting in my living room which is where it will have to sit until Tim comes over to move it into the garage!

Edit to add Sept Nine: Tim came by, looked over the part in question and agrees that the clamp-like part and the missing one inch plastic part services absolutely no purpose. And since Wayfair didn't say I HAD to donate it to Habitat---they just said, "Do you know that if you wish to donate the item, Habitat for Humanity makes donating easy?"---I gave the bistro set to Tim for his cottage because by then I was thoroughly exhausted over being on this nearly two weeks long online shopping merry-go-around. Now the second set is history and the first is packed back up and waiting for the move!

I’m just glad this saga happened before I ordered the computer desk I’ve had my eye on that comes all in parts---lots of parts with lots of screws and nuts that they estimate takes three hours to put together. I have since been out to the Amish Oak store and they priced out a desk that came in under $1,700 including shipping. I fell in love with the white-washed finish on the oak that they didn’t have back when I was bought my kitchen table and chairs at that store. Unfortunate, after making a scale model of the desk and moving it around on my blueprint I discovered it's too big for my space so I have to start all over again pricing out a smaller, custom desk, which I can do when I go back to pick up the chair I left for repair. But I’m confident I can get a desk (that doesn’t come in pieces and is made out of real wood) and if I have to work on a card able for a while waiting for it to be built, it will be worth it. I've bought a lot of furniture from that Amish Oak store over the past two decades and ©

I just noticed on this stock photo taken by the manufacture of the bistro set that the clamp part is not on the table's cross-bar just under the top. Can you believe that!  It's a beautiful set, by the way, and who knew an online purchase would come with such a silly story to tell.

37 comments:

  1. What a saga, indeed! It gives me a lot of pause, knowing that Wayfair simply sees their merchandise as disposable that way, willing to call it a loss and ship out another. That sort of disposable goods attitude is so damaging for the ecosystem. They are not alone, I'm sure.

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    1. I am sure they aren't the only store that does this. The bottom line dollar wise will always win out. I had another company tell me to keep something that was sent the wrong color but that was only a $20 item.

      I've been in the Habitat for Humanity store here in town and always wondered how they got their vast a ray of stuff, never the same from month to month. Now I know why.

      As frustrating as this was---and it really was---I can't get to mad over it because if other towns with manufacturers are the same as where I live those little parts bags could have been packed by mentally disabled young adults in a protected work environment program. I know a girl with Down Syndrome who works for group like that who contracts packing parts bags and they employee 20-25 Downs adults for a ridiculously cheap hourly rate. They have a bus that picks the workers up and brings them home and her mom says, she cries when it's not her day to go to work. I want to say it's a sub-division of Goodwill's work training program but I don't know that for sure. The world is a complicated place!

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  2. A lot of Steps to work thru, but glad it worked out for both you and The Son You Wish You Had, since he's been so good to you. These Stores that do a lot of Online Sales/Shipping probably find it easier to resolve matters just like they did, Volume... not worth their Time to do it another way and they Write Off that 'Loss' of the replacement Set anyway, cost of doing business, so they're not really losing out. It's a nice Set, now are you sure you want to keep it boxed up until after the move just in case it's not complete? *winks* Just kidding', I'm sure it's all there... I just purchased something Online that looked too good to be True, so we'll see? Last time I did that, much to my Surprise, it was just as Advertised and I don't know how they make Money Selling so Cheaply becoz the Product was better than I expected for the price. Honestly, wasn't sure it wasn't a scam... so much of that goes on now with obscure companies Selling... but some products amazingly are legit and apparently so is the Seller. I'll either be writing later to say it was Fabulous... or... I just threw a bit of Money away... kinda like Vegas, in my Small Way. *Ha ha ha*

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    1. You can be sure I unpacked the set I'm keeping to inspect every square inch, then I wrapped it back up and put it in the box for when I move. That's how I noticed the missing part.

      On the surface it sounds wasteful for the company to do what they did but the more you think about the logistics shipping things back just for them to have their warehouses full of unsalable stuff that will eat up labor costs to check it in, etc., the idea of getting customers to donate to the charity of THEIR choice makes sense. Instead of a loss they could have claimed a $269 donation had that link from their email have resulted in me having HH pick it up.

      I have bought things online before that needed to be put together and have my eyes on two more things I want---a hall tree and a bar cart, but I will wait for a time when less stress is going on in my life to do it.

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  3. What a saga. I’m sure Tim and his wife will enjoy the extra table and chairs though. I’ve had the same don’t ship it back experience with smaller items and it is a very wasteful business and environmental model.

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    1. For $269 free set they'd better enjoy it! After all this I didn't want to look at two sets all summer.

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  4. I'd say you had a great resolution if not for all the back and forth wrangling. Really surprised at their attitude and generosity. Glad Tim and you are benefitting from their error. Not a bad transaction.

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    1. The Help Desk lady made the point several times that it was the manufacturer who makes the decision how they wanted to handle this missing part. And that Wayfair does not weigh in. I'm just glad the craziness is behind me. I think. I'm keeping all the emails until I'm sure I'm not getting charged for two table sets.

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  5. What a mess! As if you didn’t already have too much to do.

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    1. Kind reminded me of something your husband went through last year over a part for his greenhouse, if I'm remembering right. LOL

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  6. That happened to my daughter. She ordered a dining room table that came with a wrong leg and they sent her a whole second set instead of just the correct leg! Weird! She fixed the wrong leg to fit the first table and is using it as a craft table/computer desk.
    Takes a lot of your time for no good reason, tho! It is a lovely set! Maybe the brackets are so you can join two half tables together to make a round table? Doesn't matter as you have already solved your dilemma!

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    1. We thought of that...joining to tables together but it truly doesn't do anything. But I'll probably keep the stupids parts to use as a "parlor game" to see who can come up with a reason for them. LOL

      Oh, my gosh how did they manage to put one wrong leg on a table, do they not inspect that stuff going out the door? I suppose trying to get a matching leg or one inch plastic part from a factory probably located overseas is not as practical as one might think.

      First World problems...at least we're not living off garbage in a dump in Calcutta.

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  7. Oh my, what a story! Glad it all turned out for you and son-you-wish-you-had. I've heard of similar things happening to others. Makes you wonder, when they'd rather ship you the whole damn thing again, instead of get you a tiny part.

    Deb

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    1. I kind of felt bad giving it to Tim instead of HH because I really believe in the goals and business model of Habitat for Humanity. But he asked if I HAD to donate it and he does so many favors for me, that I couldn't say 'no' to "donating" it to his cottage.

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  8. Gosh, who would have thought you'd have to jump through so many hoops for a bistro set? And even though it's not brain surgery, it is definitely stressful when you're trying to communicate to the company, and also wanting to do the right thing, ultimately. A few years back, I ordered shoes or sandals through Zappo's. They didn't fit so I returned them. They doubled the refund on my credit card. I contacted them and they said, "No worries. It was our mistake." Makes me wonder...Gotta tell you that I think Tim will enjoy the extra set and he sounds like a great guy and a good friend.

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  9. The Help Desk at Wayfairs is maned with super nice people with steady, calming voices who stick pretty close to their script. I wish Woman Within would hire a few them.

    Tim is the best friend my husband and I ever had.

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  10. Good Lord, woman! I have a bag of about 200 of those white 'thingies' in my closet. They're anchors to hold the screws. They come in all sizes, color coded. If you want some, I'll send them to you. If you happen to need any other spare parts through this little adventure, post a photo of what you need, or send me an email, and we can bypass all the drama.

    I suppose I can believe Wayfair didn't want to bother with shipping out one little part like that, but gracious. The problem with Home Depot is that they make you buy in lots -- you probably would have had to get a package of 25 or whatever. Ask the fellow who's helped you with so many things if he doesn't have some wall anchors around!

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  11. Oh -- I missed the part about you giving it to Tim. Anyway, the offer still stands. I've got more bits and parts around here than you can imagine, so feel free to holler if something else turns up missing!

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    1. Thanks for the offer. Before I started downsizing I used to have a bag of assorted spare parts and I'm guessing one of those anchors was probably in there. That makes around six things that I've given away, tossed for sold that I've needed afterward. Isn't that always the way.

      I think the reason Wayfair doesn't send out little parts like that is because they don't manufacture anything. That table for example was made in China. For them to get a company to ship a little part would involve too much time to make a customer wait.

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  12. Whew! The ease????of online shopping. LOL

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  13. I love the bistro set. And I won't be ordering one from them. That's mentally exhausting! I'm glad Tim will have it. That seems like a perfect fit. (FYI, I think that's how a lot of companies are doing it now. I've had order mess ups from a couple different places and they just say keep the old one. In one case, it was inventory for art sales with delivery issues and they resent, told me to keep it when it arrived and now I'm set for a long time with Halloween cards.

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    1. I actually love ordering things from Wayfair and I've never had anything like that happened before. They have a big inventory of household goods. I've bought six oriental style rugs from them, a sleeper chair I adore plus sheets and towels. Some kitchenware.

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  14. I have never used Wayfair! Sounds like great customer service to me. What a lot of time and energy for one plastic part!!!

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    1. Like I wrote to Jeanie just above your comment I order a lot from them and will continue to do so. Especially just after I move.

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  15. Online shopping is great but stuff like this happens all too often.

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    1. This was the first for me on a big ticket item. At my age, online shopping is still my preferred shopping choice.

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  16. Are we looking at half a table with 2 chairs?

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    1. Yes, it's made for small, narrow decks. The photo I used with my May 5th posted titled 'Fun Shopping Games' shows it from a different angle and closer up. It's bigger than it looks, plenty of room for two place settings.

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    1. Oh, yes, and it happened when I really didn't need the extra stress. But it's behind me now and I really do love that table set.

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  18. It's been a while since I ordered something you've got to DIY it together, most of the time I've found myself with "parts" leftover with nothing to indicate where they go...and the objects worked just as well without them.

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    1. Me too on the parts left over and I had a whole bag of them until a month or so ago when I was downsizing. Isn't that always the way...you get rid of something then you find a use of it. LOL

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  19. I have ordered a couple of things from Wayfair and didn't really like the quality. Rugs might be okay but the furniture not. I won't use them again.

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    1. It's hard to judge quality online, isn't it. I have the most trouble with clothing online.

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  20. Oh, this brought back memories of my ex-husband and I moving cross-country and into a new apartment in Washington, DC 50 years ago. We ordered a dining room table and 6 chairs (4 side chairs and 2 head-of-table chairs) from Sears. When they were delivered, we discovered that 2 of the chairs were scratched, so we called Sears and they said they would replace them. But the delivery truck that came with the new chairs said that they weren't authorized to take away the damaged ones. We went through several rounds of this, because the replacement chairs were scratched, too. (Made me think they should rethink their packing and delivery processes.) By the time we were done, we had 6 side chairs and 3 chairs with arms; I have no memory of what we ever did with the extras.

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    1. Just goes to show the more things change the more they stay the same. LOL

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