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Did He Just Say He Went to Harbor Freight?!? I know … I know what you’re all thinking: “You get what you pay for.” – Actually I was thinking, “What a cheapskate.” The old HF – great now he thinks he’s one of the kids using acronyms – gets a lot of excrement for low-quality products. I’m definitely not being a commercial here, but if you look at their consumable goods (no, I stopped eating glue in first grade) or the basics such as screw drivers, hammers, drill bits, etc., you can’t beat the price for what you’re getting. I think when most people associate Harbor Freight with poor quality it is in their power tools. In my opinion, it is the lack of quality control. Looking online I’ve seen people rave about how great their tools are and others "rage, rage against the dying of the light" (or the shotty craftsmanship). Its hit-and-miss. I bought two cordless drills from them for $15 each and both of them conked out after one battery charging. I also bought a half-dozen rachet bar clamps; one failed after a couple of uses, but the others are still going strong 6 years later. They also have a decent return policy.
Anyway … back to the story – you haven’t even started yet. Given my personal experience, I decided that if I needed something that did not have complicated internal parts or mechanics I would check out HF. I get their weekly email flyer and read it. (A philosophical inquiry: Is junk email really junk email if you actually signed-up for it and read it? Let’s toss that one to the philosophy faculty, and they will have an answer for us in 7 and a half million years.) As they often do, they were running a big sale at the beginning of March (Insert funny joke about Spring Cleaning … or not.) One of the items was the “4 Piece Anti-Fatigue Foam Mat Set,” and was listed as $7.49. I have spent the majority of my working life standing on hard concrete floors, the only exception was the 3 months I spent doing janitorial services at a stair building shop my freshman year of high school. (That means I know something about having lower back pain.) Here was my opportunity to alleviate the discomfort and not spend a lot of money. I splurged and ordered 10 SETS! I wait. I wait. I wait. And I wait some more – you make it sounds like decades.
I finally decided to contact them, and I call customer service. It turns out that they simply cancelled my order. A bit odd since I had received a follow-up email on behalf of the president of the company thanking me for my purchase. Naturally I asked why? – Ask him about his tone. The customer representative (I wonder if they are truly representing the customer or the corporation) said that it should not have been on the website, as it was an in-store only item. Okay … by the time all this had occurred the sale was over and the price had reverted to the presale price of $9.99. So it was going to cost me an additional $25 and 120-mile round trip to the “local” Harbor Freight store. Not a happy customer. I asked to speak with the supervisor. Put on hold. I wait. I wait. – DefCon 3 – I wait – Oh come on, it was 7 minutes. The customer representative returns and tells me that he spoke to the manager and that they were going to offer me a $10 gift card for the inconvenience. So I explained that it still left me paying $15 more for the item and a trip out-of-town. “Sorry. You weren’t charge on your credit card. Its all we are going to do.” – DefCon 2 – I asked to speak to the supervisor. I wait. I wait. I wait. (You get the picture.) The customer representative returns to the line and says that the supervisor is on another call and so I cannot talk to her, but the offer of a $10 gift card is still presented. I tried to explain again that the difference was still $15. To the customer representative, it did not matter because the item should not have been available online. Though because I refused the $10 gift card, he would forward my complaint to the HF corporate office, and I was told I would receive a response in no more than 24-hours. 48 hours passed and no response. A hotly worded post on HF’s Facebook page elicited an invitation to write an email to Jack (the official complaint department of Harbor Freight).
After a few emails and phone calls with someone in the corporate office. I was offered the 10 sets of anti-fatigue mats at $6.49 a set, free shipping, and a $10 gift card for use at a HF store. In the end they did what was right, but boy was it hard to get them there. – It probably didn’t help that they had a stubborn German/Irish/Scotsman arguing against them. (Yeah, you already made that joke before!)
Oh … and the anti-fatigue mats are back on sale again via their website. (So much for them not being able to be purchased anywhere else but at the store.)
-- Fr. Thomas, http://www.monkwerks.org