In the sprite of this season I often write letters that reflects greeting and celebration but this letter is a reflection of pain and grief. This letter is the chronicle of an end, the end of respect, customer service, that Ashley Furniture gives to its customer during the season of greeting.
It all started when a friend recommended Ashley. On sunny afternoon of Friday after Thanksgiving 11/25/2011 we went to the Ashley Furniture Homestore, in 7378 Stream Walk Lane, Manassas, VA 20109. As soon as I saw this chocolate sectional I knew I found the right piece. I still wanted my mother to see this beautiful furniture so I went back home, plug her Oxygen pump, dressed her in layers and took her to the store. She sat in one side then on the other side and asked me if it is the
right fit for our living room. I told her this L shape of this piece the display model is the perfect fit for our living room. I drew our living rooms sketch on a sheet of paper; I marked where the windows and TV were and showed it to salesperson. We both agreed that this L shape is the right one. The salesperson made the invoice; we initialed, paid and went home. After 2 week I got rid of our old furniture
and the new furniture got delivered on Friday, Dec 16th, 2011. I got a call from my mother who said that new furniture is very pretty but they tried to set it up however, it faces the wall not the TV. I immediately knew that they delivered the wrong piece. I went home and saw that they brought the wrong L shape sectional, in other words the opposite shape of what I told the salesperson. After taking a picture of this furniture I went to the store and fortunately the salesman was working that night. After showing her the picture he agreed that it was the wrong piece. After a few minutes he discovered that the display model in the floor has the wrong label. By label I mean the sheet with a picture that you can normally find in front of display models, it has a picture and some codes about the product and the price that store employee use for ordering and making invoice. Apparently he used that codes from that label and made the invoice. Instead of writing the code for Right Face Arm he put the code for Left Face Arm and vise-versa and of course we initialed it.
The salesman asked me to wait so he can discuss this with the general manger. The general manager Mike Ernst came and told me that he can reorder the furniture but it will cost me another 30% restocking fee as well as delivery charges. When I told him that I did not ask the wrong piece, in fact I even sketched my living room for his salesman to make sure I get the right piece but he showed me the original invoice where with our initials. Yes, we initiated in front of few line/codes such as EA 6840417 RAF COR. With that initial he asserted we ordered the wrong pieces. I turned and asked his salesman that which piece I wanted, he said you liked that piece I asked him No which piece and shape I told you that I want to buy since it will fit my living room. I noticed the sweat was coming down from his forehead to his nose while his eyes \ nervously moving between his manager and me, this time his consciences spoke. He said you wanted to buy that piece in that shape, pointing the display model.
The manager could not wait anymore, he intervened and told me that I put his salesman in an awkward situation and he will excuse him. He asked the salesperson to leave. Mike also asked me to leave and told me if I start making noise he will call the police to escort me. Excuse me; I said I have not done anything uncivil, I have not said anything even in a loud tone. I told him I am in his store to complain about my purchase but he is threatening me for no obvious reason.
I never felt this small, I have never been warned by a store staff in my life that police will be called for crime that has even not been committed. I am
not sure if I can call that a crime or whatever but I was completely taken
I asked Mike if I can a picture of display model and he granted the permission. As I was leaving the store the salesperson met me outside, visibly embarrassed, he offered to pay 50% of the restocking fee out of his pocket since he knew that he made the mistake. I declined the offer but appreciated his honestly.
The furniture is my living room while it is not sectional anymore since we had to take it apart and placed it in different corners of our room but whenever I sit or look at them the pieces talk back to me. I see Mike Ernsts face in these pieces that tells me if I start making noise he will call the police.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to us as society, does the economic recession seize our human values? Sometimes I think how many people will visit our home throughout the course of this furniture lifecycle and to how many people I will tell and retell this story.
I still believe that customer service is not dead in America, there are still stores and organizations who value their consumers but Ashley Furniture Homestore is not one of them.