Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Window Dressing

I'm ready to talk about it now. Mainly because I just got a packet in the mail from Williams & Sherrill about how incredibly right they are about how the curtains were produced and billed and that I still owe them money.

And I just feel so ticked off about the whole thing and taken advantage of, but lesson learned about working with their decorators - especially the new one who isn't really sure what she's doing. It's a shame, too, because I really liked her style.

The owner is all up to speed on what happened and couldn't so much as pick up the phone to call me (though I was welcome to come in and wait for him to have time to see me) so my goal (and this will be tough, because I really do love what is in the store) is to avoid giving them any business at all.

OK. So. Here's how not to run a fabric store:

I wanted some curtains for our dining and living rooms - the more formal rooms that are cordoned off from baby and puppy shenanigans by a baby gate and some doors. Williams & Sherrill is this quite large, somewhat swanky fabric/wallpaper/furniture/design store here in Richmond. They make sure to let you know when you go in that you need them a heck of a lot more then they need you. It's that kinda place.

They have a fabric sale every February. In January I called and asked for some help from one of the decorators to select fabrics and order some curtains. In other words: help me spend money in your store Williams & Sherrill.

They gave me a designer who I thought had some great ideas. She helped me pick some things out. My only complaint was that every visit with her was sooooo loooooong. And had to be in person. Brad kept saying, you have to go AGAIN?? Mainly because that meant leaving him alone for hours on end with a teething baby.

I had to go in once to meet her, another time to show her swatches and pictures, another time to 'finalize' the order, another time to pay and again to pick everything up. Fortunately, I used their in-house curtain installer guy or I would have had to make four more visits to return things and pick up replacements. And they wanted me to come in again to discuss all the problems with the order.

Up until the end, though, I was fairly happy and positive about it all. So happy that I actually went back for another appointment I set up with this designer to talk about buying some furniture during their furniture sale. But she stood me up. I sat in the lobby waiting while she met with another client and ignored the announcement that she had a client waiting.

Later she leaves me a voicemail that if I want to meet with her I should let her know what time. Um, we set up the time together two days ago when I was there to pay for my curtains. Nice.

Anyways, the curtains come in and I pick them up and pay the balance. The curtain installer comes a couple of weeks later and while he's there we both start realizing how messed up the order was.

I won't bore you with the details but things had to go back, be reordered, etc. Will be a few more weeks and another couple of work at home days so I can meet the installer again. Oh, and there are 4 roman shades instead of 2.

All of these things were mistakes on their end. And I was fine with it when I found out - I was still rolling with it. That was until I called to let them know. Even though they (the designer, the person who approves orders and the seamstress) messed up, all they have to say when I call is that I now owe [$$$] for labor on the shades and when am I going to pay. They magically discovered they never charged me for labor while trying to determine how four got made instead of two.

And they are all about getting their money now. I've taken several calls about coming in to pay, when am I coming, do I want to talk to the manager, etc. Um, you guys screwed up and I'm busy and my order isn't even here and installed correctly. Not really my top priority right now to kill more of my weekend time getting this sorted out. Now I'm getting packets in the mail. If someone knocks on my door this week it will probably be a collections agent. Not really. I hope.

I can't get an answer to any of my questions on the order as I try and sift through these confusing invoices. There's just this magical amount that they say I owe, even though I've paid everything I got an estimate for. I feel ripped off and like this is yet another mistake, just one that involves my money this time. They aren't budging though - or answering my questions.

In addition to the money, the whole thing has been one big hassle since January. I value my time and will pay extra not to have it wasted. In this case, I paid extra and it continues to be wasted. I work full time and take care of Charlie by myself during the week. My 2 weekend days are my only days to spend with my little family. That time is precious so I don't give it up lightly.

At the end of the day, if I knew what a black hole of time suckage these curtains were going to become I probably would have put them off or ordered pre-made or something. I can safely say that these will be the only custom ordered curtains to ever hang in my house. And the last items from Williams & Sherrill. The whole thing has left me with a bad taste in my mouth about that store, decorators and curtains. Just a big headache.

So there you go. Middle class white girl curtain drama. Mad consumer trying to achieve justice through blogging.

Aaaaaaand now I'm over it. Blogging is so therapeutic!

Hope it was worth the wait Kirsti!


Kirsti said...

Wow, I even got mentioned in the blog!! :-) I love reading your blog, and couldn't wait to hear what happened. My day is complete. :-) I hope it all works out for you!

Meredith said...

What a total ripoff! This is like that time Uhaul wanted to charge me for that storage facility I didn't want because mine was still occupied- remember that? I theorize that I caused such a stink they settled with me just to shut me up. That is totally ridiculous.