Close but no cigar…

Yesterday I spotted a deal on Lowes.com. To avoid shipping charges, I arranged for pick-up at a local store. Paid with my Debit card and everything was hunky-dory.

So far so good.

About an hour later my cellphone rang; it was a nice chap from the store letting me know that my order had been “pulled”.

As Darth Vader would say “Impressive“.

On the way home I decided to stop in and pick the item up. Even though, for once I was on a tight deadline, as I had ordered some food to take home for the posse.

In retrospect, this was a bad idea.

When I approached the customer service desk the chap nearest me was walking away. Initially I thought that this was rude, but I found out that he was the telephone-answering dude and was returning to his post.

About fifteen seconds later he noticed me and asked “Do you have a question?” (personally I prefer “How may I help you?”, but I suppose that I should be grateful that he acknowledged my existence). I told him that I was here to pick up an Internet order. He asked for my phone number and checked it his computer. Since he was seated about twenty feet away I had to shout. I don’t really mind but a little discretion would have been nice. The next customer could be your teenaged daughter…

Anyway, he called out on the PA system and a couple of minutes later a young dude showed up, got his instructions and headed, to my surprise, towards the back of the store…

I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally after what seemed like an age he showed up with a bunch of keys, walked over to a wall-mounted cage at the front of the store and pulled out my order. A couple of minutes later I was on my way, incandescent with fury…

Why so angry? Simple, I placed my order on the Internet because it was fast and convenient. So why on Earth did it take 22 minutes to fulfill a single-item order?

By far the greatest delay was the young dude’s odyssey in search of the keys. Looking at the process from a time-and-motion perspective, the keys to the “internet cage” should be kept at the front desk. If they were elsewhere, they should have been called to the front desk instead of dispatching a runner and wasting fifteen minutes.

Lowes, if you are listening, your ordering process is first-rate, and the follow-up phone call is a brilliant idea, but the in-store execution leaves much to be desired. I get the impression that the stores have not yet caught up with this Internet thingy.

To quote Yoda, “Much training you still need

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