Friday, August 15, 2014

A Salute to Lowe's of Mountain Home, Arkansas

by Pa Rock

My father was a big Home Depot fan, but somehow I became a Lowe's shopper.  During my time in Arizona I always lived within a short drive of one of their stores, and visited often - particularly in the garden section.  A few years back when I had a little money accumulated, I even bought some of their stock.  So I guess I am a committed Lowe's customer.

Sadly, my new community, West Plains, Missouri - population 12,000, does not have a Lowe's, a situation which causes me to have to drive fifty miles to Mountain Home, Arkansas - population also 12,000, when I am in a home improvement mood.  This spring, being in a new home, I needed several big items - and drove to Lowe's to make those purchases - where, in addition to low prices, I also receive a 10% military discount.

One of my first purchases at that store was paint.  I needed assistance in finding the right product, and stopped a person whom I assumed was a store clerk.  The lady was extremely helpful and found my product.  She then passed me off to a different clerk to show me the other items that were on my list.  That fellow walked with me and helped me find every item on my shopping list.  He also told me that the first sales "clerk" who has assisted me was actually the store manager.

One of the things I bought was an r.d.e. (really damned expensive) riding lawnmower.  I also bought a push mower and weed eater in an attempt to get my sprawling yard under control.   I purchased extended warranties on both of the mowers.  The second time I used the push mower I it something that was hidden in the grass - and bent the mower shaft.  Thinking my expensive warranty was supposed to cover any issue, I took the mower back to the store for repairs - where they accepted it and said that they would call me when it was finished.

Three weeks later, after hearing nothing, I called the store and found out that it was back from the repair shop.  After driving the fifty miles to pick it up, I found my mower was still broken.  The warranty company had declined to fix it because I had caused the damage.  I wasn't happy with that response, and an assistant manager came out to discuss the matter.   After an extended discussion in which I remained remarkably civil, I was preparing to leave the store with no intention of returning - ever.   The assistant manager, however, wanted to resolve the matter in a manner that wouldn't cost the store a good customer.  He showed me a used mower exactly like mine - priced a little under the cost of a new one.  He then said that he was going to refund my entire purchase price, and I could buy the used one if I wanted it.

The assistant manager made the refund, and I bought the used mower - and left the store satisfied.

Today, while on a drive from West Plains to my sister's home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I stopped in for a quick purchase at the garden section of the Lowe's in Mountain Home.  I made my purchase and was out in ten minutes - when I discovered that I didn't have my key ring - with car and house keys.  I keep a spare car key in a magnetic box beneath the car, but after getting it out and gaining access to  my vehicle, I found that my keys were not in the car.  I retraced my steps through the store and visited the service center to see if a set of keys had been turned in - with no luck.   The location of the missing keys remained a mystery as I drove away.

Forty miles down the road I had an epiphany.   Suddenly I remembered that I had thrown some trash away as I walked into the garden center from the parking lot.  I pulled over and telephoned the store.  A very sweet telephone operator at the Lowe's store, I'll call her J.M. because those are her actual initials, listened to my story and said, "You stay on the line.  I'll go out and check that trash can." A few minutes later she came back on the line and said that she had my keys.

She dug through the trash and found my keys!

When I go back to the Lowe's at Mountain Home, Arkansas, tomorrow afternoon to reclaim my keys, I am also going to buy a new microwave oven.  Those are good people, and they will always  have my business!

Customer service matters, and it is appreciated!

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