Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You shop your way, I'll shop mine!

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We've all seen those kinds of shoppers - the ones with their measuring tapes stretched out over stuff at the store, burning up grey matter (and their salesperson's patience) trying to calculate whether or not something will fit the space. Me? Not so much. I like it, I buy it and whether or not it fits is an after-thing.

Besides, I think knowing whether or not a piece is going to fit takes all the fun out of the surprise when it comes and you realize it really doesn't fit at all.. Trying to make something fit always inspires me to try new things in decorating. In fact, some of my best buying mistakes are things I can't imagine not having in the house.

Such was the case tonight when I arrived home to find my Pottery Barn order was delivered. The monogrammed pillow shams, fit. The duvet, fit. The angel wing mantle piece, never in a million years...

Well, not unless there's a plan to move into one of Ludwig's castles in Germany or the Hearst estate back in California I don't know of yet. It's at least five times bigger than it looked and it dwarfs the big beveled mirror hanging above the mantle, where I intended it to stand. Wow!

And, our fireplace mantle is much bigger than most, so that's why I was so surprised that this is WAY bigger than it looked in the catalog and on-line. I mean, seriously, go to and look - they show this piece standing on what appears to be an average size mantle with lots of other things placed around it.

But fit wasn't my only problem... I spent a half hour trying to make the support poles screw into the bottom of the wing. I finally got so frustrated that I packed the whole thing up, taped the box closed, wrote DEFECTIVE on the packing slip and called Pottery Barn customer service to complain. I told the poor woman that I wanted to meet the China-man they paid $2 a week to build these things and that unless she was willing to dispatch him to my house to put it together for me, she could arrange for a pick up because it was packed and ready to go.

I told her that it even appeared that IF the support poles did screw into the wing, there was NO way they would both align to fit into the holes drilled into the base; therefore, it must be defective. I told her I did not want a replacement and demanded a full refund, including shipping for everything I bought on this order, just because of the extreme frustration this event caused me. Then, I told the woman that I felt really mislead by their depiction of the piece too since it is actually much bigger than it appears in their photos. To this she says, "we offer dimensions within all of our product descriptions to help you measure before ordering, mame." Really? Where I come from the customer's always right even when she's wrong... So I said, "You shop your way and I'll shop mine, okay?" Sensing she may have crossed a line with me, the woman apologized for the inconvenience, processed a full credit, and then to my surprise, she told me to, "just pitch the item" since there was no point in Pottery Barn paying to ship it back just so they could toss it there. Satisfied with her answer, I thanked her and then I threw the box out into the garage.

Well, a bit later, the man I love comes home, finds the box on his way to the door and decides it's something I need unpacked. And, he doesn't just unpack it, he puts it together! Then, he comes into the house and asks me where on earth I plan to put this huge angel wing-thing. Covering up any hint that I'd already unpacked it and tried to put it together myself, I told him it's a Christmas piece I thought would look nice on the mantle; however, since it clearly won't fit, (said while doing my best surprised by how big it is look) I would just return it. So he says to me, "Well, didn't you read the dimensions in the description before you ordered it?" Okay - First, after 22-years, he should know better, and my second thought was, DIMENSIONS? Maybe he's the one man on the planet that actually does read the articles.

Yes, I'm keeping the angel wing - and, No, the good Catholic-girl in me couldn't keep an angel wing without confessing to Pottery Barn that it wasn't actually defective. So without admitting any wrong-doing (or incompetence) on my part I phoned customer service back to ask that they reverse the credit processed by the representative I spoke to earlier. Well, either it's my lucky day or Pottery Barn really just wants to keep me as their customer, because I was told to enjoy the piece with their compliments. And all that without another word about those silly dimensions!

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