Raiders of the Lost Stool

     No, this isn’t a tale of missing samples from an absent-minded Gastro-Intestinal M.D’s office. This is the saga of a nerd in search of a soft place to plant his posterior.

     I mentioned awhile back my decision to turn our exterior storage room into a hobby workshop.  Well, a few weeks later and I’ve made some good progress on it (though still not photo-ready yet).

     I’ve managed to get most of the junk out of the room and I’ve got some nice Stack-On brand organizers waiting for me to fill them with bits of this and that. I picked up a nice bulletin board from Wal-Mart for hanging inspiration photos, instruction sheets, and other hobby-related stuff.

    Let me ask you this: What would I have a better chance of finding in town? Bigfoot, The Moth Man, or a Sears Craftsman Hydraulic Stool?  If  you guessed Bigfoot, you’re the big winner because Crafstman stools are apparently rare, rare, rare.

     I had one of these at the last house and loved it.  Comfortable, durable and nicely priced.  I jumped on to grab a couple (one for me and one for my son).  Who knew what a fiasco I was in for?

     Sears has a pretty nice website.  You can order your stuff online and pick it up at the store, thus bypassing the whole “waiting to check out” thing. And when I pulled up the stool, BAM! they are on sale with an “online only” price of $49.99, down from the regular price of $79.99.  Hey, the day was getting better and better. Until it came to a screeching halt when I find that my local store didn’t have any in stock.  If I wanted my stools, I’d have to make a 90 minute round-trip drive to another Sears.  And that ain’t happening.

     But wait, has a live-chat function with Customer Service. So I jump on and quickly connect to a C.S. rep named “Dennis.”  And I STILL have no idea if “Dennis” was a real human being or HAL 9000’s learning disabled little brother.

     I asked a simple question: Can I order the stools and have them shipped to my local Sears for pick-up when they come in?  I didn’t ask this guy to calculate Pi out to the 1000th place.  I have money.  I wish to give it to you.  Let’s make that happen.

     Well, “Dennis” was having none of that.  He informed me that the stools were in stock at the store 45 minutes away.  I reiterated my question, acknowledging again that I was aware that the store in B.F.E. had my stools.  What I wanted, was to drive 5 minutes from my office and insert two Craftsman Hydraulic Stools into the trunk of my car.  After about a minute pause, “Dennis” hit me back with “the stools are in stock at the B.F.E. store.  Would you like me to place the order.”

     Cue the big left click on the “end chat” button.

     But I’m not a nerd who’s easily deterred.  I need something to sit my butt on while I get my nerd on.  So I let my fingers do the walking and dialed up the local Sears.  I explain my dilemna…A stool.  A stool.  My kingdom for a stool!”

     The guy I talked to tells me “No problem.  Come in and we’ll order up the stools at the online price, have them shipped here and we’ll call you when they come in.” Alright! I thought.  I was back on track.  Sitting at my workbench was in my immediate future.


     This all occurred on Thursday.  Last night, Saturday, my lovely wife and I had a babysitter and decided to do some shopping before dinner.  I rolled into the local Sears all ready to order me up some seating.

     The sales clerk was really helpful, pulled the stool right up on their system and ordered me up two.  The computer…SEARS’ own computer mind you…even offered to ship the things to my door for FREE!  Cool.  “Let’s do it” I said.  In two minutes he had the order done and the computer…Again, this is Sears’ computer…tells him to take me to a register to pay.  Then it crashed.  Kicked him off the website with no questions asked.  We entered the order again with the same result.

     He tells me he needs to call the Sears Custome Service line to sort it out.  OK, cool I think and proceed to browse the tool aisle checking off stuff on my mental “I need that” list.

     I ease up to the counter and my man hands me the phone telling me that “He wants to talk to you.”  Uhhhh…OK.  Next thing I know, I’m on the line with…the name escapes me…but it wasn’t “Dennis.”

     OK, I can’t even begin to write an Indian accent (as in India, not Apache) but if you know who Apu is from the Simpsons, then you get my point.  I proceeded to have the exact same conversation I had with “Dennis.”  Do I know the store 45 minutes away? Yup.  Long pause.  Do I want him to place the order? Nope.  I explain again my problem (by this time, I can spout this spiel like my own address and phone number).  My man then asked “where did I see the promotion for free shipping.”  It took all my self-control not to yell “ON YOUR FRICKIN COMPUTER!” But berating a dude half a planet away just seemed like a waste of time so I ended the call.

     The sales clerk seemed as frustrated as I was.  He looked up the stool on his system to see if any were on back order. Remember, says they are totally out of stock, hence their obsession with sending me to B.F.E.  Lo and behold, it tells him they have one in stock.  He walks 20 feet away, turns a corner and emerges with the elusive stool in his hands.

     I look at him.  He looks at me.  And I say “you know the magic question here right?” He looks at me with a gleam in his eye as I say “fifty bucks right?”  Don’t forget, that sales price was “online only” and clearly, neither he nor I were online. No MCP cone or light cycles anywhere to be seen.  I could see the wheels turning in his head.  By this time, I think he just wanted me out of his life.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Fifty bucks.”

     So in the end, I got one when I wanted two but hey, after all that drama, I can’t really complain.  And now I can sit my butt in padded comfort while I work on getting Workshop West ready for business.

Copyright 2012 It Came From The Nerd Cave