Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fireplace Dreams Dashed

Fireplaces cause higher home owner's insurance. I never knew this until we got home owner's insurance and they asked if our new home had a fireplace. That makes sense, though. A fireplace offers a higher risk of burning your own house down. However, an electric fireplace does not (well, I suppose there could be an electrical fire, but that's not where I'm going with this).

I got a little obsessed with getting a media stand that includes a fireplace. Our living room tends to get chilly and our tv currently rests on a hope chest that I can't use for storage because, as aforementioned, the television stands on top of it. With one unit, I could have it all.

We found one at the Home Depot, the Home Decorator's Collection. It comes in two colors: medium brown and espresso. The espresso was available. The medium brown was not. I wanted the medium brown. So I put my email on the list that would alert me if it ever came back into stock.

I waited.

A few weeks later, I got an alert. It was in stock. I ordered it on the spot. I jumped for joy.

A little over a week later, I opened the side door to my house to find a huge box standing in front of it. It had tape around it that said Caution: Over 70 Lbs.

"Hon, there's a box, it's large....."
I texted Eddie to ask for advice--how do I get the very heavy box into the house? I tipped it over and got it stuck on the door saddle so I couldn't push it. His answer: A hammer. The two of us would make a stellar home improvement show. The hammer worked; I was able to use the claw to drag it over the hump. I pushed it into the house. Our fireplace had arrived!

We hemmed and hawed about putting it together. Would we be able to? Our putting-things-together skills are not at the expert level. I've put lots of things together, but nothing that had this many parts. We read the instructions and one step called for wood glue. We don't own wood glue. We got wood glue. Then we found that it comes with wood glue. After finding the glue, we figured we could put it together.

We took out all the pieces, putting them across the living room on blankets and sheets. There was Styrofoam everywhere. Styrofoam sheds. I vacuumed all the pieces. In vacuuming, we found that the bottom piece had a crack in the surface.
There was no way we were going to be able to get that back in the box to send it back. I realized the crack was superficial and in the back. We could live with it. Super!

We went through the rest of the pieces. We found a broken and cracked piece. This was not superficial. It was a piece that attaches the top shelf where the tv sits to the rest of the unit on one side. We would definitely need this piece. BUT we could put the rest together right then and I could call the next day and tell them about the broken piece.

Then I realized something. In pieces, I didn't notice. However, as I started to see it growing as a whole unit, I noticed. The color. This was medium brown? Umm, no. It was not. It was dark brown. It did not match.
Darker than the original picture
Not convinced? How about a side-by-side?
Light on the left. Dark on the right.
Seeing that there was again no way we could get the parts back in the boxes, we continued with my being dismayed. I figured I could stain the bookshelf in the living room to match this dark brown so that we would have only two shades of wood in the room. Ugh.

We put the unit together up to the broken piece. Then we put the top shelf pieces together. So we have the large unit and the back pieces pushed up against one side of the living room in front of a cabinet, and we have the top pieces on the floor in the bedroom. Maybe we should do a home design show instead.

I tweeted the above picture at Home Depot asking if the colors matched. They responded:
Figuring they were giving me helpful instructions, I did so immediately. I have yet to hear back from them.

I called the number on the assembly manual the next day. The customer service rep was fantastic. He took all the info--the model number, my contact info, when I'd ordered it, everything else he needed. He called the warehouse for me. He told me it was shipping out that day and that I'd have it in 3 to 5 business days. That meant in 3-5 business days, I'd have my fireplace. Yeay! Back on track.

I asked him if I had to send the broken piece back. No, he said, I could throw it out. I then double-checked--the unit comes in two colors and the color I have (supposedly) is the medium brown. He said that the color coincides with the model number I'd given him. Then to reassure me, he read back the number and the entire name of the product: Rinehart 59 inch Media Console Infrared Electric Fireplace in Medium Brown. Yes, that's it.

The piece arrived in five business days, which meant seven total days because there was the weekend. Happy to hear the FedEx guy at the door, I jumped up, grabbed the box, and tore it open.

If I had a working fireplace, like a real one, I would've thrown the piece directly into the fire because it was the wrong color. Seeing that I don't even have my electric fireplace up and running, I stomped my feet and pouted for a minute instead. Then I went a little nutty, turning on and off lights, opening and closing curtains, wondering if I was simply seeing things. But no, this piece was even darker than the unit I'd put together. It wasn't the medium brown in the original photo online. It wasn't the fake medium brown that matches the unit. It was almost black.

I called the number on the manual again. The service rep asked if I had a case number. No, I wasn't given one. She took my information. I explained that not only was the piece the incorrect color, but the entire unit was incorrect, so I was completely puzzled as to how the warehouse would ever send me the correct color considering their color selection seems to be whatever-seems-close-enough. She said that while she couldn't do anything about the overall color of the unit, she could certainly get me a piece that matches. She then said that she would put a rush on it since I'd been waiting for a while now. I thanked her for that as she went to contact the warehouse.

Five minutes later, she came back on the line to tell me that no one in the warehouse was picking up. It looked like they had sent the wrong color because of the model number.

The first rep I'd spoken to had the right number and even repeated back it was supposed to be medium brown. So this made no sense. I said this to her. She said that someone mixed up the numbers somewhere along the way.

Then she said she'd continue to follow up and that either she or the first rep would call me back by Wednesday to let me know when the piece would arrive.

Today is Thursday. I gave them until five-ish last night to call me. They didn't. I called the number on the manual again. I was on hold for over twenty minutes. Then I hung up.

At this point, I would like for someone from Home Depot/Home Decorators Collection to do one of the following:

A) Come to my house, take the unit apart, pack it up in boxes, and take it away, refunding me my money.

B) Send me boxes to pack it up after I take it apart myself and then pick it up, refunding me my money.

C) Come to my house, take this unit away, and replace it with a full unit with no broken parts in the RIGHT  COLOR.

Those are the only options. I'm pretty sure that they will have a different option like, I'll send you the right part by October because who really needs a fireplace this time of year anyway? I'll tell you who, Home Depot. I do. That's right. Me.

Say it with me, everyone: FOR SHAME, HOME DEPOT! FOR SHAME.

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