Friday, February 02, 2007

You know the old saying….

You can’t uncut wood. Well, it turns out you can’t undrill it either. It also turns out I didn’t need to drill out the hole on the high-tank toilet tank. I did that yesterday and it was a complete waste of time. The problem was I got the wrong part.

Ultimately the responsibility is mine to ask the questions and make sure I’m getting what I need. However, some responsibility should lie with the person who is supplying the part. They know their product better than I do. I give an explanation of what I’m trying to accomplish and there are two parts that might be able to achieve the goal. The person who is supplying me the part should try and make sure I got the right one. This is often referred to as “Customer Service”. This didn’t happen.

The person in question was Jim from DEA Bath. I sincerely think he is very knowledgeable about the product he sells. They sell two flush valves for toilets. That’s it, just two. I had two to chose from. When I called up to order parts a few weeks back, at the top of my list were the part numbers for the two flush valves. I wasn’t sure which one I needed so I wanted to ask about this first. Two pieces of information were all that was needed by Jim to determine which was the right part: The diameter of the hole and the thickness of the tank. I only supplied him the diameter of the hole and not the thickness of the tank. Did I know that was an issue? No, I didn’t.

When he told me I would have to drill out the hole with the flush valve I was getting that seemed fine because with the upstairs toilet I also had to widen the hole just a little. Not as much as this time, but I did have to widen it. After I drilled out the hole yesterday I dry fitted the flush valve and it was fine. However, when the valve is fitted with the thick washer they supply not enough threads stick out the other side. I think I can get a thinner washer, so that is not an issue. I also noticed I didn’t get the slip nut. I thought this was included with the valve. It was for the last flush valve I bought a few years ago for the other high-tank.

I called today and talked to Jim again and he told me the nut was not supplied with the flush valve I ordered, it was only supplied with the other flush valve. The one I didn’t order. This was information that would have been helpful a few weeks back when I ordered. I probably would have mentioned it at the time and it may have lead to me getting the right part. He then told me it didn’t matter because the flush tube I ordered would need a spud reducer to work with the flush valve I ordered. Again, this would have been helpful information when I ordered.

Did it seem odd to Jim that I wasn’t ordering all the parts I needed. I ordered a flush valve and a flush tube, but no spud reducer. Did I know that I need a spud reducer: No. Did Jim know that I needed a spud reducer: Yes. If Jim had told me I needed a spud reducer I would have said, “That’s funny. I didn’t get one last time”.

At this point I started to figure out what went wrong. I realized I got the wrong part and I didn’t need to drill out the hole. I asked him again about the difference between the two flush valves and this time he explained it in perfect clarity. Unfortunately it’s too late. It’s not the end of the world, but it really bugs me when I have to pry information out people. Where the hell is the customer service? Just ask a few questions and try and help people out. The worst thing is, the part I needed was more expensive. They could have made more money off me and I would be a happier customer.

Here’s how it should have gone:

Greg: I need one of the two flush valves you sell for my old oak high-tank. What is the difference between them?

Jim: The threaded part of the flush valve is longer and narrower on one of them. What is the diameter of the hole and the thickness of the tank?

Boom! That’s it. The problem is solved and I get the correct part. Why didn’t that happen? I don’t know.

The other thing that is one of my customer service pet peeves is people who ask questions they know they can’t answer. Last night I called DEA Bath after Jim went home. A woman answered the phone and asked for Jim and she told me he went home. I asked if there was someone else there besides Jim who was familiar with the flush valves. She said, “Well, maybe I can help you. What’s the problem”. I launched in to the problem with the washer and the missing nut and told her everything. When I was done she said, “No, I wouldn’t know anything about that. I’d better have Jim call you”. Gee thanks. There’s 5 wasted minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

EDIT: I posted the above text about an hour ago and the more I think about the madder I get. It is so obvious that I was ordering the wrong part now and I’m kicking myself for trying to install it. I really should have paid more attention to it. One thing is for sure, if I sold this stuff for a living IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUS TO ME THAT I WAS ORDERING THE WRONG PART IN THE FIRST PLACE. It is so irritating.

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