This is one of those times when I want to comment on when people do things right in customer service.

When he heard about my Maytag issues, Chris Anderson suggested that I just return it to Home Depot. A simple, direct solution to the problem. (Who would have thought that an architect would think of the simple solution. :-)) I replied that they'd never take it back -- it wasn't broken yet, plus it was a special order item, plus it's been more than 30 days since I bought it. But, figuring I was an idiot if I didn't at least ask*, I stopped by Home Depot today after work.

My experience with Home Depot tonight, though inconclusive, was incredibly positive and it reminded me of three things about all my interactions with Home Depot:

  1. I generally go to Home Depot during the weekend rush, and generally I've found that it's busy. Really busy. Like, "if you have any questions, wait for 10 minutes" busy. Yet somehow the folks always manage to get around to answering my questions.
  2. I generally am dealing with the folks on the floor who are expected to cover 15 departments and know about all the products and I really shouldn't expect them to be able to answer an arcane question about silver solder vs. lead solder, yet they always seem to either have the answer or to be able to quickly get the person who has the answer.
  3. When I've had any problems with anything I've bought at Home Depot, they've taken it back if I had the receipt, no questions asked.

So in all, my experiences at Home Depot have been pretty positive when I've had problems.

With that context in place, I shouldn't have been surprised that Steve in the appliances department remembered me from when I had come in previously and asked about the Maytag problem. Nor should I have been surprised that he'd actually gone to a nearby Maytag store and asked about the problem after I told him about it and had gotten himself educated. Nor should I have been surprised that he was sympathetic to my plight.

And I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Andrea, the assistant manager, quickly came when Steve phoned her and immediately said that Steve'd previously told her about the problem (I was introduced as the person who'd "opened the Maytag can of worms," which cheered me for some reason) and that she'd call Maytag tomorrow to see if they'd credit her for the units if I returned them and call me back tomorrow. Granted, she didn't say right then and there that she'd take them back, but I guess I can't really expect her to commit for Home Depot to swallowing over $1,000 of washer and dryer costs just because I'm worried about a potential problem in the future.

Anyway, I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. Pleasantly. The idea that an employee of this huge company would take the time to try to do right by me really made me feel good. So, thank you to Andrea and Steve, who made my evening.

* I may still be an idiot, but not having asked would have proven it.