Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Little Victories

All my life I've felt like a pushover. It never seemed like a personal thing; I honestly believed that it was a trait that came with being Asian. I know that sounds incredibly racist considering I know many Asians who aren't pushovers at all, but that's the way I generally feel.

I've told the following story so many times already, in a venting fashion, so I don't even really want to take the time and energy to type this out. But in order to historically document this event for the future race of living beings in the year 2362, I have to suck it up and put fingers to keyboard.

Leading up to the completion of our house, we found that our cabinet drawers (all of them save for one or two) were damaged. The upper right corner of each drawer face was dented in or pounded in or something; they didn't have a point as all the other corners did.

So we complained. And the following week, the drawers seemed to be fixed. However, upon closer inspection, we noticed that all they did was remove the wooden face, turn it around, and reattach it. So now the bottom left corner was the damaged one. Pretty brilliant lazinism. But it gets better. Knowing we would immediately see the damaged corner relocated, they tried to cover it up with some cheap wood putty; a nice gray-green wood putty creating a rounded point.

We cried foul. Unacceptable!, we submitted. And we waited another week till our initial "final" walkthrough.

During this walkthrough with the Field Manager, he pointed to the "fixed" drawers and said that they had spent a lot of time working on the corners to make them right. "They're not flawed," he claimed. Admittedly, the corners did look better, matching the stain of the original wood.

After raising issues twice, I could see that this was all he was going to do about them and we would have to live with it. Mother Routes agreed to accept them, but Timotei did not.

While talking over this entire story with co-workers, they agreed with Timotei. The claimed that the wood putty is a laughable solution; that we're paying for a brand new house and should get shiny new fixtures; that the wood putty has really nothing to adhere to and will fall off after a couple years of drawer slamming use.

Now convinced that the drawers were unacceptable, we were told that we have all the bargaining power to get what we want. The time was coming to sign our loan papers. So we held that hostage.

Timotei and I conference called the sales office and told them that the cabinets need to be replaced. "This is a deal breaker for us if they are not switched out," we threatened.

Later that day, the Field Manager called back and left me a voicemail. He said that he had his boss come out to take a look and that they were looking real good and so there's nothing they could do about it. And then that magical, horse-shitty excuse again: it's not like they're flawed.

But we weren't going to take that. We called back the next day to the sales office and told them, "The Field Manager and his boss say the drawers aren't flawed, but we obviously disagree. They would not need wood putty if they weren't flawed. Bottom line is, we will not sign any loan documents nor off on the house until these cabinet drawers are replaced."

The next day came and we received a call from our Loan Officer wondering about the status of the loan signing. We told her that we weren't signing anything until our cabinet drawers are resolved.

Here's what I believe happened. Our Loan Officer made a call out to our Sales Agent and told her the situation. Our Sales Agent then pressured the Field Manager or his boss to do as we demanded because they did not want to lose this sale.

Our Sales Agent had called me the following day and said that she went out to our house and saw what we were talking about and agreed with us that their fix "was crap." She was going to either demand that they be replaced or that we get some sort of compensation for the damages. But then she tried to bargain that a fix might take a while so can we sign the loan documents in the meantime. I told her I would think about it, but never intended to do anything of the sort. A couple hours later, she called back with good news.

Apparently the Field Manager's boss had a change of heart the previous day; inspected the drawers and agreed that they needed to be replaced. He counted twenty-seven (!) damaged and placed an order for replacements. The same day she gave me the good news, the Field Manager called me and said that they had been working on replacing the drawer facades all day. Apparently they took the stock from another worksite. Supposedly the ones ordered for our house would go to that worksite, but who knows.

But anyway, his real reason for calling was to say that they couldn't find two of the drawers that were identified to be replaced and to see if we could come out and locate them. Fuckin' lackadaisical bitches. We went out there and not only found two drawers that needed replacing, but a whole slew of stuff that needed to be patched up.

The moral of this story is to stand your ground; never back down; and never buy a new home. It's a pain in the arse. And also, enjoy those little victories that get you through your day. Ain't that quaint?

If all goes as planned, we sign off on the house soon and the loan docs and stuff and by the end of the week, we'll be homeowners! Broke homeowners! Is there any other?

No money : (