Brick and Mortar Myth

I love shopping online. Who doesn’t these days? You can compare prices and products with ease all while wearing your PJ’s.

Many companies tote the notion that their online store is seamlessly integrated with their brick and mortar locales. You can order online and pick-up in store. Sounds like a convenient, consumer-friendly business idea to me. The only problem is it’s not true.

Freezing cold water.

Our water heater broke a few days ago and it has not been fun. (Yes, I know there are starving children in 3rd world countries with no water at all. Just let me dwell in my American consumerism for a few moments.) You all thought I was taking navy showers for the environment. Now the truth comes out.

So like any web-savvy gent in our generation I hopped online to find a good price on a new water heater. I ended up at where I found a good product at a good price. I called the 800 number on the website. Within minutes I was connected with Denise, a polite and well-mannered sales representative. She placed my order quickly and easily. Their adept computer system was even able to show the inventory of my local brick and mortar Sears store. Denise assured me my product was in stock and that I would have hot water again very soon.

10am – I receive a phone call from Terry, a local Sears sales rep informing me that my product was in fact not in stock. “Yeah, those website people just read our inventory off of a computer and we don’t keep it up to date.”

After some banter I asked, “What can you do right now to remedy the situation?”

His best effort would be to sell me a more expensive model, and since he values my business so much, he’ll even refuse to take my debit card number over the phone and will require me to drive down to the Sears store to present my card in person. This is despite the fact that I ordered on the phone in the first place. Apparently I placed my order with witch is not connected in anyway with Sears, the brick and mortar store.

2 sales reps, a manager and one hour later the issue was still not resolved.

I called back (not to be confused with Sears) and they were able to switch my order in 5 minutes. The plumbers are scheduled to install the heater tomorrow.

I kinda feel bad for Terry. He feeds his family on commission and he lost a commission today to the website. Perhaps if Sears Corporate implemented some policies to better care for their employees Terry would have simply had me call the website back instead of trying to sell me on coming into the store and wasting an hour of my time.

I’m pretty disgruntled with the whole process. At least installing a new water heater will make the house easier to sell when I get a new job.

4 Responses to “Brick and Mortar Myth”

  1. 1 brunettekoala October 24, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Ah yes. I’m familiar with this kind of ridiculous and frustrating experience.

    It’s like banks. I hate that whole telephone/internet banking deal. What was ever wrong with dealing with an actual person, one system rather than loads which misinterpret you, miscommunicate (or don’t communicate) with each other….?


  2. 2 mudpuppy October 25, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I’m a total online shoppper myself. It’s a crying shame that they can’t (or won’t, or haven’t) merged the two entities over at Sears. Someone is way behind the ball on that one!

    I was thinking recently about doing a post on all of the different things I’ve bought online. Might have to do that soon.

  3. 3 Russ October 25, 2007 at 9:22 am

    This past year we bought some pub tables for our student facility thru with a great employee discount and everything. Predictably, the order was wrong and we needed to return the offending merchandise.

    You’d think you could run down to the Sears down the street and just handle it. But alas, Sears down the street and are totally separate entities, don’t play well together, and I’m pretty sure they actually hate each other.

    Long story short, we had to get an act of Congress passed to return the goods (bads).

  4. 4 mandythompson October 25, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    bless your heart……………………

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