How can I help? Should I?


Hey Steve,

One of my long time customers just had new carpet installed and not only was it badly installed I have some serious questions about the carpet quality from the mill too. What should I do to help her resolve this problem?

Wanting to Help in Phoenix

Not to be cynical, Wanting, but in the majority of homeowner/ carpet mill/ distributor/ retailer cases I was involved in the scenario went something like this in this imaginary letter:

Dear carpet buying consumer,

The “facts” are these:

1. We have your money.

2. You have our carpet. (All nicely cut up and stapled down in your home.)

3. We are a big company with on-staff lawyers that can and will cut you to shreds if you try any “funny stuff” legally.

4. You have a busy life and while we know you will bleat out some “protesting noises” we can safely ignore them until you get tired and then life will proceed as normal.

5. Did we mention that we have your money?

The Carpet Selling Community

P.S. Even if in the unlikely event that we were inclined to go to the hassle/expense of satisfying your trivial complaints we realize from a financial standpoint you will not buy carpet again for a number of years and in the meantime you might die. So where is our financial return on investment?

Now to be fair, Wanting, the carpet sales community is not alone in this attitude. Airlines (especially), banks, car manufacturers, just about any segment of corporate America is guilty. As carpet cleaners we just suffer more with carpets because we have to clean them.

Sorry to be so honest!


P.S. OK, now that I got my rant off my chest, Wanting, what should you do? First, while I know you want to be helpful, I would encourage the homeowner to take the lead on this. They are the ones that have legal standing in this situation. So they first should give the carpet store a chance to address it. Then the homeowner can work their way up the corporate ladder with the mill. The odds are against them but still you never know!

By the way, one caution. I know you sincerely want to help. But be careful on making the customer’s problem your problem. You may have to work with this retailer and/or mill in the future. There is little upside in you ticking off these potential referral sources.

PPS To be fair, many consumers are their own worst enemy and love to stick the carpet manufacturer with problems the homeowner has caused or imagined. And sorry to be negative. Just my realistic two cents.

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