posted by Mel
Two posts in one day! This one will be a little more empowered than the last. We haven’t posted a lot about the fiasco that is home remodeling. The worst part of the whole thing for me (besides not being able to bake for months) has been the countertops.
When we purchased cabinets and countertops (Vanessa did all of this research really), we opted not to go with a big box store in part because Vanessa read horror stories about working with that kind of retailer. The employees have no or little vested interest in making sure that what you get fits the dimensions of your kitchen; so either you end up with something you didn’t really want or a lot of waste, reordering, and extra time added to your project waiting around for fixes to be made– the cost of which the customer often ends up swallowing. The model with a big box store is that you do the measuring; the store employee plugs the measurements into a software package, and the software package spits out a basic cabinet/countertop configuration which can then be tweaked. Instead, we went with a smaller boutique cabinet and countertop reseller, where we felt we’d get higher grade materials and personalized customer service. We paid a premium to do this.
Someone from the company came to our house and measured. They met our contractors, talked to us at length about what we wanted. We were confident we were going to get it.
The cabinets came in pretty much as scheduled, and they were mostly what they were supposed to be after our contractors finally figured out where everything was. A few pieces were missing, and one cabinet was 3 inches smaller in both width and height than it needed to be. We got them to pony up the extra pieces and decided to live with the shorter cabinet because our contractor could at least build it up to the correct height and make it look good.
But the countertops– the countertops were a nightmare. After the cabinets came in, the company came back out and measured for laminate countertops. They should have been in 2 weeks later. Instead, they came in 4 weeks later, completely stalling the rest of the project because the plumber refused to come in until they were here. This meant no sink, no dishwasher, and no oven (we’re bringing in a gas line) for that much longer. When they finally did come in, the measurements were all wrong. Several of the backsplashes were off size. The piece for the tiny cabinet came in even TINIER than that cabinet– 9 inches instead of 12. The countertop for the bar came in 3 inches deeper than it was supposed to be on one side. The company had made an “executive decision” about the edge on half of the counters because of a weird angle; so half had a rounded edge and half had a straight edge. It looked ridiculous.
If I weren’t already frustrated enough, I called them several times this week and could get no one to call me back– no answers for why the executive decision had been made or when they’d be coming out to fix things or who was going to pay for these mistakes. I was angry and pretty sure it wasn’t going to be us. At the same time, my contractor was talking to someone in their warehouse, not a sales contact like the one we’d been talking to, and seemed to be working things out with him behind the scenes, but I wasn’t sure that the solution he came to with them was going to satisfy me. Finally I got an unfortunate salesperson on the phone and found out that our salesperson was out on vacation and her voice mail wasn’t being checked. Inconvenient for us. This is exactly what had happened the day we’d ordered the countertops. Coincidence? I think not. The unfortunate salesman passed me off to an unfortunate saleswoman who dealt with my nearing hysteria at the amount of hassle I’ve been dealing with and was treated to a rant on the damage fast food was doing to my arteries and the arteries of the baby in my belly because of these continued delays. Wednesday afternoon I wanted just one. beer. so. badly.
As of yesterday afternoon we have about 3/4 of the countertops we need, but at least the ones the plumber requires before he’ll come over are here. The plumber is due in on Monday.
The title of this post is Proud because I just spoke with the district manager for the cabinet and countertop retailer, and somehow I was able to calmly and cogently explain my disappointment in his establishment and my expectation of some remuneration for my trouble. I didn’t rant. I didn’t cry. I didn’t tell him he’s introducing my unborn child to childhood obesity, and in return I think what I heard in his voice was genuine apology and the promise of some token discount. At this point, it’s not the discount I care about. It’s the acknowlegement that this was handled poorly and the commitment to fix it as best they’re able. I also care about getting in control of my emotions around this and reducing stress, which I seem to be doing pretty well with at least today.
And the moral for everyone else who has made it this far: probably best not to take on home remodeling projects while pregnant.