Almost exactly three years ago, I was putting laminate down in the livingroom and diningroom. The mother and I had spent forever picking out a kind we liked and then, because it was special order, we had to wait almost 10 days to get it.
We had company coming in from out of town on Memorial Day so there was a very clear deadline in place.
I carefully built in the two days that the flooring would need to just sit inside the house to acclimate when determining when to start my vacation. As it turned out, it didn’t matter.
The flooring manufacturer had changed locking styles – and Home Depot had sold me both kinds. Mind you, these two kinds would NOT lock to each other. Sadly, I discovered this as my project wound down – and on a Saturday. “You’ll have to call someone on Monday,” the clerk told me on the phone.
Great. The rest of Saturday and now Sunday wasted. On Monday, the news wasn’t much better. “You’ll have to wait 10 days,” the flooring guy told me, denying repeatedly that the manufacturer had changed locking styles. In 10 days, my guests would be gone, my vacation long over.
I called the manufacturer after a Google search turned up a flooring trade mag article about the locking style change. “Why yes,” said the manufacturer. “We did that in February.” February. A full two months before I even BOUGHT my floor! And, if someone had told me this, I would have opted for the other contender – a Pergo from Lowe’s.
But no one told me. In fact, they were acting like the change hadn’t even happened. That was three years ago.
So, it was with some trepidation that I went with my godmother to Home Depot last week – and special-ordered flooring. Flooring for the great holiday weekend double bathroom redo marathon.
The 2007 incident remained clear in my mind. So clear, that when the flooring guy said it would be in “in about 10 days” I called him on it. “The sign says 7-day delivery,” I said.
“Well, give or take,” he said. With this project, there is no room for give or take. This is why I had cautioned my godmother (whom I love dearly but who is the absolute queen of procrastinators) NOT to wait until less than two weeks out to attempt this. She didn’t heed my warning.
“Oh, it will be here,” floorman insisted. Really? Forgive me if I don’t believe you. So I pushed back.
We patiently sat for 10-15 minutes through a series of calls which ended with him saying that the warehouse “had plenty in stock,” and that it usually goes out “within a day or two of the order” and so it “should arrive by Tuesday.” Tuesday. That was yesterday.
And in the words of the great Yogi Berra, it was “deju vu all over again.”
When I talked to my godmother last night she was awaiting a call-back from Home Depot. “They said my flooring won’t be in until June 1,” she said. “I told them that was NOT acceptable.” June 1. As in NEXT TUESDAY! Next Tuesday, when the floor is already supposed to be installed and the restaurant reopens.
Though it inconvenienced me greatly, in 2007 I was able to get my needed flooring within a matter of days and get it down within hours of my guests’ arrival. It really didn’t have to be that way.
To their credit, the manufacturer gave me a rebate – about 15 percent – of which Home Depot promptly deducted their commission! I’ve still never forgiven them for that. And this experience isn’t exactly doing anything to fix that.
I don’t know yet how this is all going to shake out or what impact it will ultimately have on this weekend’s plans. But, the moral of the story is this:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy special-order flooring – not at Home Depot -- unless you have at least a month before you plan to have it down. And even then, I’d still advise buying “in stock” if you can.