Monday, June 30, 2008

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes and This Sequel Doesn't Star George Clooney*

You know what really cracks my claws? Lousy customer service, that's what. When you're out buying a product all the salespeople can talk about is how good their item is. If you ask about problems or issues, they act appalled, as though you somehow insulted their mother. I can't begin to count the number of times I've been told about the "Lifetime Warranty" or 24/7 Help Lines.

Of course, sooner or later, something does go wrong. Whether it's a car or a computer or a tomato tree stand. Suddenly your best friend, the salesman, he doesn't remember you. If you have a problem, well call the 800 number.

These days when you call the 800 number, you have to live through a twenty minute recitation of your push button options. "Listen carefully as our phone options have changed". Ha! The phone options never change! It's always, "press 1 for sales, press 2 to tell us how great we are, press 3 to buy a 1000 more and all other inquiries press 8 to be dumped to a call center in West Youdoofustan, where one of our English-as-a-never-had-language operators are standing by to help you. You are number 487 in queue".

WOW! Crabby's hot!

Youbetcha. As we all know Crabby has received mail warning him about the imminent collapse of his Tomato Tree Stand. Well on June 16th, the date of my last update, Crabby got a second letter informing him that the Tree Stands were now on full recall. Please disassemble the stand, cut out a 4"x4" portion of the Gro-bag, package it all up and ship it back for a full refund.


What about my tomatoes? Just what am I supposed to do about them?

So Crabby called the 865 number (no toll free number for Felknor Ventures LLC - you buy our defective product, you pay for your own phone calls). Guess what happened? After listening to the phone options, because they've changed you know, nobody answered the phone! I called the next day, wanna guess again? You're right, no answer. Wow!!! what great product support. Or do I mean to say, What great customer support?

Crabby then took another approach, contacting frank@felknorventures who was to be of further assistance. Now Frank got back to me in a day apologizing profusely for people not answering the phone. Frank even offered to refund me the cost of my tomato seedlings. In my email back to Frank I pointed out the $15 for tomato seedlings in the middle of June didn't solve the impending problem of no fresh tomatoes come August.

I told Frank that I was going to risk grave bodily harm and keep the Stand hoping it would survive this growing season. I also asked him if I could return the stand at the end of the summer and get my replacement then. Guess what? Eleven days and no answer from Frank.

Now maybe Frank is the President of Felknor and is just too busy to get back to me. Maybe Frank is just some drone in sector 7G who's had all the complainers dumped in his lap. Regardless, it would be nice to get an answer.

At any rate, the tomatoes seem to be growing just fine. The Better Boys are far ahead of the Brandywines. I'm hoping to make it to September, wish me luck.

Now if I could just get rid of this recurring nightmare: an old lady, pinned by her Tomato Tree Stand, unable to reach her Lifeline, her Tree Stands' fallen and she can't get up. The horror, the horror.

* George Clooney's first movie credit was for his appearance in Return of The Killer Tomatoes


Anonymous said...

This doesnt go with tomatoes or ketchup or spaghetti sauce, but tonight my mother turned 75 and the family went to a BYOW Vietnamese restaurant. The Graham Beck Brut Rose bubbly had the entire family agog. I know I mentioned this bubbly before, but when my family asks me "How much does this cost?" I know I have a hit.
Back to the cave.


Thinking About Food said...

Excellent post, Crabby, I laughed all the way through as I sympathised, you are certainly not alone, it happens EVERYWHERE! Our 800 call centres are almost always somewhere in the Phillipines or India!