Thursday, July 10, 2008

They Put the “Hard” in Hardware

If you have an older home, or just like older accents, you’re probably familiar with VanDyke’s Restorers. We’ve bought a variety of stuff from them over the years. Most recently, I bought some spandrels from them to make some shelves and have been on their mailing list again ever since.

Their catalogs, in fact, have prompted Carole on to the next project. (Not that she needs much prompting. My mother has never been the sort of person to do just one or two things at a time, finish those, and go on to the next. No. Let’s do 80 simultaneously instead. Long-term chaos is so much more preferable. Don’t misunderstand. It all gets done and turns out in the end. We just have very polar work approaches. But I digress).

She has already planned what she wants to do for the kitchen and bathroom. (As if outside and the two bedrooms weren’t enough for this year.) Enter the VanDyke catalog.

I’ll admit, they have a good sale going on right now for the cabinet hardware and the plumbing fixtures she wants, so I’ll cut her some major slack. (That’s the new kitchen fixtures she has picked out in the photo.) The big box places want twice as much and then some. And you know me. It’s online shopping. It’s sale prices. I’m there. That’s where the problem comes in.

I guess I’m spoiled. In today’s technology-driven world, I think of a catalog as a “companion piece” for a shopper. Simply a marketing tool to drive traffic to a Web site. Do tons of people really even use the enclosed order forms anymore? Do throngs flock to the 800-number except when they have trouble with the Web site? I don’t think so. I think they’re like me. They look at the catalog. But when the sale is made, it’s done online. Because if you want to buy fixtures at midnight, that’s the way to do it.

That’s why you’d think that their Web site would make this a seamless process. But it doesn’t. In fact, when I keyed in the product codes from the catalog, the search engine found nothing. Nada. Zip. Bupkiss. Zilch. Zero. Silly me. How dare I expect this to be easy? Same thing on two of the three product descriptions. Only through diligence (read: pissed off determination) did I find the items online that I wanted to buy. Or at least, I hope they’re the right ones. I can’t be sure.

Since hello! Once I actually found the items, they had a product number completely different from the catalog, even though the pictures, item description, and prices were the same. Awesome. Let’s confuse the process just a little more.

I guess that’s why they call it “hard”ware.


Kristy said...

I know exactly what you mean. I tried last night to view further details on some of the items in the Discount Den and everytime I clicked, it took me to the homepage.

You would think somebody would check their links too; but obviously they are too worried about other matters...although customer service and an easy to use website would be on the top of my list.

Liz said...

I love your definition for diligence: "pissed off determination." I agree - in this day and age, every business should have a web site that is 100% user friendly.

NV said...

Thanks for backin' me up, ladies! While their Web site has issues, I will say that they have their act together on processing. My order is already on its way!!! Let's hope when it gets here it is, in fact, the right stuff! :-)

Anonymous said...

I tried to leave the following comment the other day, but my computer wasn't cooperating:

Great looking "hard"ware. I hate having to work to buy something (especially online). If it weren't for the specific look and price I'd ditch them and go somewhere else.

Your words: online and sale made me want to go buy them too. Then I remembered we're renting. Humph. But we are going to blow insulation in the attic over the garage. It's hotter in there than it is outside. So, I'll let you know when that DIY project gets underway.

Anonymous said...