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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Melissa beats up Kindergarteners

Ok, Melissa feels really bad about this.  It might not have been one of her finer moments.  I will leave it to you to decide whether she should repent or not.

It all started two weeks ago when we tried to order some parts from a marine store in Prince Rupert called SeaSport.  We needed an anchor chain attached to some rode, a spare winch handle, and a lifesling.  Knowing we will be in Prince Rupert a couple of weeks hence, we figured ordering there would give them enough time to get the parts in before we come back through on our way back south.  Our first series of frustrations was the fact that they told us they would call back with price and availability but didn’t.  So we called them back a few days later.  They told us that they couldn’t get the lifesling, but the other parts would be here when we got here.  If only it were that simple.

We pulled into Prince Rupert Sunday night.  And yesterday Melissa went to SeaSport to get the parts.  They vaguely remember the chain and rode order.  So quickly they pull that together and have the shop splice the rope onto the chain.  Melissa reminds them that they need to deliver it because she is not strong enough to carry 200 feet of chain down the street to the marina.  (Sorry Tiffany, but even Dave can’t carry that much chain!)  They look about as if in a bit of a dilemma.  The guy at the counter says “the shop truck is MIA!”.  Um.  Ok, what does that mean?  It was stolen?  They tell Melissa that they will figure it out and call when they have a way to deliver it.  She says this is no problem as Dave will be at the boat all afternoon as he is working remotely today from the boat.  She gives them Dave’s cell phone number.

Meanwhile, Melissa asks about the winch handle.  The blonde blue eyed gal helping her blinks twice, “a what?”  Melissa replies, “You know, a winch handle.  For a sailboat. It’s made by Lewmar.”  She says, “we don’t carry those I don’t think.”  Trying not to roll her eyes Melissa says, “Yes, it was a special order that should be in by now.”  So the shop gal pulls out a giant paper binder that contains all their orders to suppliers with pages and pages of hand written scribbles of part numbers crossed out by highlighter pen.  Melissa’s PM instincts go on alert.  She want to leap over the counter and create a real system for tracking orders.  But she resists.  The shop gal is in a near panic now because she can’t find the order.  Another guy comes over to help.  Neither of them can find the order.  Melissa, trying to be helpful, says, “If you give me the marine part catalog I will find you the Lewmar part number.”  So they find the catalog, and Melissa locates the part number.  They search again for the order, alas in vein.  They tell Melissa that they will call first thing in the morning with an update.  They promise.

Meanwhile they have located a truck to deliver the chain.  Apparently the blue eyed blond haired gal’s Dad has agreed to let them use his truck.  Melissa says, “Great, just call Dave when you get to the marina”.  The guy says, “Oh no, I can’t do that.  I don’t have a cell phone.”  Melissa, “Ok, well just call him from here when you are pulling out then”.  Realize the marina is two blocks from the store.  Clearly irritated he says, “can’t you call him?”  Great customer service so far huh?

Ok, so later that evening after the anchor chain was installed Melissa mentions to Dave that she had no idea chain was so expensive.  Dave asks how expensive.  Melissa says they charged $5/foot for 200 feet – so it was $1000.  Dave says that isn’t what he was quoted.  They told him $3/foot.  And in fact he had planned to get 150 feet until he found such a great price.  Groan.  But Dave looks it up on the internet and sure enough the going price is more like $5/foot.  None the less, we feel like we got a bit suckered into buying more than we would have if they had quoted the right price.

So that leads us to today.  Want to bet on whether they called as promised with an update on the winch handle?  So Melissa heads into the store late in the day – just before closing.  The guy at the counter says somewhat snottily, “the reason they didn’t call you is because they can’t find it.  It’s on an invoice indicating we have it here somewhere, but we can’t find what box it’s in.”  Melissa says, “ok then plan on keeping it because we leave first thing in the morning”.  Well all of a sudden everyone in the back room is tearing apart boxes.  She is told that they had 40 boxes and it was “in the last one”. 

While the box hunt was underway, Melissa goes hunting for a crab pot.  Since we’ve decided the ring we have – while easier to store – is useless (see post on fishing).  She finds this really cool net pot that collapses for easy storage.  Very cool.

So arriving back at the counter she now has to pay for the crab pot and winch handle, but before she begins that transaction she takes up the topic of having been overcharged for the chain.  She says that Dave was quoted $3/foot but we were charged $5/foot.  By now there is a cluster of most of the store employees behind the counter looking at her with big eyes (presumably they were the ones tearing apart boxes looking for the winch handle only moments ago), and some start to argue over whether Dave specified the type chain when he got the quote.  Did he specify high test?  Did he say what size?  Did he say it was for a windlass (the thing that pulls up the anchor)?  Melissa points out that not only did he tell them it was for a windlass, he also asked that it be spliced to the rope – which doesn’t make sense unless it’s for a windlass.  She goes into silence mode.  Next move is theirs.  She will stare them down.  Various store employees begin to scurry off.  She continues to remain silent and give them her best evil eye.  Finally the store manager gives up in disgust, “Give her the $3/foot price”.

Ok, so Melissa figures she should feel good about this.  It was a “win”, right?  All she did was make them honor the quoted price.  Alas, she fears she pulled out the big city girl negotiation tactic – made famous by the Japanese – silence – on a bunch of kind small town folk only trying to make a living.  That was a $400 credit.  She would have been happy with a $100 credit.  She only wanted to negotiate.  All they had to do was make a small concession and she would have taken it.  Crap.  Now she feels like she has beat up a bunch of kindergarteners.  Dang.

Alas the story does not end here.  After having left the shop with the crab trap and winch handle, Melissa realizes the crab trap isn’t a crab trap.  It’s a shrimp trap that had been put in a bin labeled crab traps (the store is fairly disorganized).  Dang it.  So she runs top speed back up the hill to the store as it was now well past closing time.  Fortunately there was still one guy in the store who managed to reboot the checkout stand computers and do the exchange. 

In the morning she went back for one last part we need.  The guy at the counter – same one she begged to reopen the register to do the exchange on the shrimp pot last night says “aren’t you supposed to be gone?”  Melissa says, “Yep, and we would be but for the fact that I forgot to buy this part yesterday.”

Melissa is sure they now hate her.  She can never go back.  Ug.  Dave says that it’s a good thing we left town as there might have been a lynch mob.

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