Monday, January 22, 2007

I Miss The Nickel & Diming

Today I made a large purchase from DEA Bath for some shiny nickel plated bathroom things. It’s all the exposed plumbing and some assorted toilet parts. It’s going to come to over $1,100 once shipping and taxes are factored in. Ouch! I know it’s very un-American but I hate spending money and I hate having debt.

The debt is very minor at this point. I sort of got a little behind when I was doing the kitchen and the idea was to pay it off when I was painting the exterior, which was relatively affordable. I’m not sure what happened, but I finished painting the house and I still had the debt. Now it’s growing. It’s a home equity loan, and I’m investing it in the home, so it’s not the end of the world. I just like to complain about it. Now that I’ve done the complaining we can move on.

At the beginning of December I called DEA Bath about selling them some vintage toilets and sinks that I didn’t need. I was going to get store credit for some of the plumbing parts I wanted. The biggest item was going to be a marble vanity. Because the vanity has exposed plumbing, I needed to get that item nailed down before I could rough in plumbing and electrical. I spoke with a guy named Tim Daley and he was about as unhelpful as anyone could possibly be.

This is not run-of-the-mill, garden verity stuff I’m dealing with. I’m rebuilding a 100 year old toilet, sink and tub. I had a few questions and he was unable to answer them. At first it was fine because I know that not everybody is an expert. I would give him a few things to follow up on and I would call back in a few days and he had not followed up on them. He wasn’t able to get me pictures of the vanities I asked for, and he seemed not to know the inventory well. He would email me work orders to review and he would have part numbers and pricing wrong. It was annoying but I tried to be patient.

Finally, after about three weeks in to this I started to get very impatient with him. I told him I was going to be driving down with the vintage plumbing parts and I needed to make arrangements. I asked him when he thought he would have all the parts I ordered ready for me. The idea was that I would pick up everything I ordered at the same time, and save money on shipping. Tim’s answer was, “It’ll be ready, when it’s ready”.

That was pretty much the end of it. I told Tim I was taking my plumbing parts else where. I would buy the vanity else where, and maybe if he had time in a month or two I would call back for some of the other parts. A lot of this was done via email and after I emailed them saying I was taking my business else where I got a call from the owner. I was so disappointed at this point that I did return his call.

I’ve dealt with DEA Bath in the past and my last experience was exactly the opposite as this. I didn’t handle this well at all. The first time I felt that Tim was dropping the ball I should have asked to speak to the manager. Eventually my short fuse ran out and as a matter of principle I couldn’t go back. The trouble is, there are some things DEA Bath has that I can’t get other places. So today I called them and placed an order.

I got a guy named Jim this time. He was very knowledgeable and very helpful. He knew the inventory and what parts go with what parts. I gave him a wrong part number at one point – I transposed two numbers - and he immediately stopped me and questioned it. I told him the part name and he knew exactly what I was talking about. I asked him if all the parts were in stock and with out putting down the phone he assured me they were and it would ship tomorrow. I really wished I had gotten Jim the first time.

If you have vintage plumbing in your house and someone tells you it can’t be repaired because the parts aren’t available, call DEA Bath first. They really are good people and know their shit. However, if a guy named Tim answers the phone either ask for someone else, or hang up and call back later.


Richard said...

Greg, I've been reading your blog for a while now (almost daily) and have finally gotten around to adding my own house to Check it out at I can't believe the level of detail that you are putting into everything, it makes me feel like a real slacker.

Greg said...

I'll be sure to check out your blog. As for my home, yea, it's a bit of an obsession.