Got a technology grant through Perkins (don’t worry if you don’t get this part; vocational educators will get it!). We didn’t want to make the committment… yet… of a CNC router system, so I convinced my Administrators to go with the least comment denominator… the Carvewright. I know, I know… I have read the reviews… talked to owners, etc. But with my amazing mechanical abilities, I figured I could keep it up and running for a couple of years until our State gets its’ budget woes corrected, and then line myself up for the CNC setup.
So… I write the grant (with help from my Vice Princiipal; I think he wants to use one at school before he buys one at home. He is a pretty decent lumberjockey in his own right). It gets approved. I get the the purchase order… and I wait. I figure if I wait a month or so after Christmas and the cooling economy cools down even more, I’ll get it cheaper. I call Lowe’s today (Friday, after Parent Teacher conferences, which is a day without students for me!), and low(e) and behold, the price is $200 cheaper than it was in November! I tell ‘em I am on my way, and I get into Lowe’s at about 1:30 this afternoon with my purchase order and my tax exempt certificate in hand.
I swagger over to the customer service desk, and get “Julio’s” attention. Julio is hip to my situation. He takes my tax exempt certificate, calls “Dean” in tools, and directs me to tools so I can order the Carvewright, software, reader, bits, probes and other fixin’s to make the beasty a productive member of the woodshop.
Well… Dean isn’t the guy I had spoken with last week at Lowe’s about the Carvewright. In fact, he wasn’t even the guy that I had spoken with THAT day! Dean didn’t know where nor how to find the information that I had laid down in front or him for ordering purposes.
So… he struggles with the computer for about 15 minutes, and then I am ready to punt for the day! I tell him that I’ll come back when the guy I had spoken with last week, “Paul,” is in. “Don’t know when Paul’ll be back,” Dean explains. “Maybe we can look at a schedule or something,” I suggest. “No… we’ll have to go find the schedule, and that’ll take too long,” Dean informs me.
Mind you, by now I have been biting my lip, and it wouldn’t take as long to go Pauls house, or the bar he is hanging out at, drag him back to Lowe’s and have him wave his knowledge stick over this guys head, as it would be for him to figure out what the heck he needed to do to get this done. Just when I am ready to pick up my paperwork and give him the good try and I’ll try again later speel, up walks Paul himself! With the red Lowe’s vest on and everything!
So… Dean asks Paul about his recent predicament. Paul turns around and pulls the Carvewright ordering book out of a stack of manuals, and says “here it is.” Dean suggests that maybe Paul should field this one, but, much to my chagrin, Paul abdicates, and says “you go right on ahead.” So…. Dean takes his best WAG at the process.
But wait… to call Carvewright, he needs a long distance code. His isn’t working, so he badgers Paul into coming back to the phone and try his. Pauls doesn’t work either! Apparently, it is much more efficient for Lowe’s to change this every so often so their employees don’t ring up long distance bills trying to help custromers (I am guessing here; it could be to keep their employees from ordering Enzyte for all I know).
So Dean, instead of calling the service desk, disappears for about 5 minutes and comes back with a code written on his hand. He dials it, and presto! He is talking to Carvewright! Things are looking up!
After about 10 minutes of hmming and okaying on the phone, he hangs up and says “good news! The prices are $200 less than on your purchase order. And this is cheaper and that is cheaper blah blah blah blah!” I supressed my giggles and told him how wonderful it all was. Then the real problems started.
You see… when you apply for an account at Lowe’s, it is all digital and on their computers (not unusual). And when you apply for an account at Lowe’s, you must give them a home and work phone number (not unusual). But, when you apply for an account at Lowe’s, this work phone number carries the same weight as the home number. It appears that the school district I work at, several employees have Lowe’s accounts (not unusual), and have put down a district number as their work number (not unusual). Now Dean, instead of setting up the order under a business name (which already exists; my district has an accout at Lowe’s), or the business address, he instead uses the school phone number that I gave him.
You guessed it; it pulled up a woman who also has a farming partnership with her sons, who used to teach at my High School and retired a couple of years ago. Dean doesn’t pay any attention to this little detail, and goes ahead and types in the order. The guy obviously hasn’t taken a typing class; I watched him hunt, peck and backspace for a good 5 minutes before he looks up at me and says “is that going to do it today?”
I point out that the business name, address, and point of contact isn’t my school district, and because the money has more than a couple of strings attached, it really needs to be billed to the school. No problem, Dean says, and starts changing the fields on the account! “No” I tell him. “You can’t do that!” He finally sees the error of his attempt, and then says “is there another phone number that your district uses?” I say “well yeah…. but we should try an account NAME maybe.”
Nope…. not Dean. He burrows on. The phone number written on the purchase order is the school district central office business number, so he types that in. Presto! It pulls up the account for the director of facility services for our school districts’ home account. Complete with his home address, home phone, dogs name, etc. Heck, they even had his home town misspelled, whcih I pointed out to Dean.
“Nope Dean… we aren’t doing that, eiither. I’ve got an idea Dean. When I came it, I handed my tax exempt certificate to Julio at the service desk. How about we go see Julio and get this done.” I reach down, grab the P.O. from the side of the computer that Dean had been furiously pecking on, and, without waiting for Dean, turn and walk to the service desk.
Now Dean figures he has screwed up plenty, at this point, and while I have already spent 55 minutes in the Lowe’s Idiocracy, he realizes he might be in for a poor performance report from a customer, and BEATS me to the service desk. He explains the problem to Julio, what with the phone numbers, and the long distance codes, and the inability to find the information, and the inability to find Paul, etc., and now Julio jumps in with both feet, uses his very best 60 wpm typing skills, and low and behold, finds my school district account in the computer system!
He then turns the system over to Dean, who feverishly pecks the catalog numbers and prices into the terminal. Next thing I know, there is a ticket for me to sign, a copy of the purchase order, and the tax exempt certificate back safely in my possession. I sign the ticket, and I am told that they’ll call me when the product comes in. About this time, Dean is nowhere to be seen. Paul is behind the service desk, and Julio apologizes for the problems encountered. I shake his hand, wave at Paul, and tell them both it is all good.
1 Hour Fifteen Minutes. From the time I hit the door, until I signed the ticket. If I hadn’t turned 100 years old and gone senile while I was waiting and hadn’t forgotten why I was there, I sure would’ve been mad.
Did I mention that it had been snowing all day, and Lowe’s was very slow today?