Monday, March 31, 2014

Kids Bee suits

We got a package today from the Pigeon Mountain Trading Company.  We ordered two bee suits for the kids last week and have been eagerly awaiting their arrival.  Unfortunately the box only contained one suit.  We'll sort that out tomorrow.  Logan and Paige were really excited to try on the suit.  They were cute.  Danielle said they looked like space men.  The extra-small gloves go all the way up to their shoulders.  The suits fit pretty well though and they're bee tight!  Some gum boots and duct tape and we'll be working the hives together.  Danielle even said she needs a suit now.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Just for fun post

Garden planting 3/20/2014

With the weather finally cooperating we made it to the garden to plant some seeds.  We planted four beds of green beans, two beds of potatoes, one bed of yellow crook-neck squash and one bed of zucchini.

Lillie's almost two now and really enjoyed planting the seeds.  She actually did a pretty good job making it into the hole.

Paige is an old pro now.

Hive Check 3/30/2014

Brian's hive has swarmed 4 times this spring.  I have been trying to get into mine for a few weeks to look for swarm cells.  I checked the weaker hive first and everything looked good.  It's growing nicely this spring.  There was only a couple of queen cups on the frames that looked like they have been there for a while.  When I opened the strong hive I found quite a few swarm cells. 

We'll just have to keep an eye out for swarms and try to catch them. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

The end of the Lowes Pressure washer saga

Hello Jesse,

I’ve been working with Phillip Blocker, Store Manager, for the Albany, GA store. He will be in the store on Saturday, 3/22/14, please ask for him when you arrive. He has arranged for a replacement pressure washer and an extended warranty.

On behalf of Lowe’s Companies, I do apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused. I do want to mention that once I received your email, I contacted Phillip at the store. Due to technical difficulties, he was unaware of the issue, and never received the information. He did not hesitate to offer assistance and had offered the replacement.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will not be in the office on Saturday; however, our office will be open from 7:00 a.m., to 10:00 p.m., EST. Please contact xxx-xxx-xxxx, don’t enter any prompts, and you will be connected with the Executive Support office. I will follow up with you on Monday, 3/24/14, to confirm resolution.

Product / purchase information for your reference:

Troybilt XP Gas Pressure Washer
Date of purchase: 3/22/2012
Store # 491 - Lowe's Of Albany, GA.
Item # 375831
Model # 020489
Serial # xxxxxxx
EPP # xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
3YR EPP OPE $300-$399.99
Invoice# xxxxx

Thank you,

Lowe’s Executive Support

I drove in Saturday morning and the new Pressure washer is  now sitting at the house. Now I have a months worth of cleaning to do.  The animals will be happy to have clean feeders/waterers again. 

Cackle Hatchery Chicks

We got a call from Cackle on the 10th stating that the Ancona ducks didn't hatch well and could they replace them with a different type of duck.  Danielle agreed to the Blue Swedish.  I'm wondering if it will mate with the Ancona and have weird looking babies.

The chicks from Cackle Hatchery arrived today.  Actually, they were a day late.  They should have arrived at our house today but only made it to Albany.  They called and said that they could be picked up today or she could bring them to the house tomorrow.  Being the third day I thought it best to go get them.  Baby chicks have a belly full of yolk when they hatch so they are good for about 3 days with no food/water.  Almost like they were designed to be mailed :).  I drove to Albany and picked them up.  The post office wins because since I picked them up in Albany they count that as a third day delivery and don't have to refund any money.  I'm not sure I agree with that, but oh well. Here they are.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Meat Bird Housing

The original plan was to put the turkey hens in the freezer and clear out the hoop houses for the meat birds.  Fortunately for the hens we found someone that had a few toms for sale.  This was good to save the girls, but we now had a housing crisis.  The TSC meat birds are about ready to go out to the yard and didn't have a home.  I would have liked to build another hoop house but didn't have a way to get the required cattle panels home, they are 16ft long.  I decided to build a pen out of PVC pipe this time.  It will work out fine because the meat birds are too fat to roost anyway.  They're fat ground dwellers.
Logan was helpful in the assembly

It is pretty much just a frame of PVC wrapped in chicken wire.  A tarp will be added to the top where the pipe bows up for shade.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lillie uses the potty

Tonight Lillie comes out of the hallway with no diaper on.  I went to investigate and found that she had decided that she was ready to use the little girl potty that is in the bathroom.  Upon investigation I find that while she did indeed use the potty, there was a slight problem.
Yeah, there is supposed to be a bucket in the bottom.  Turns out Paige was using it to throw up in.  Oh well, we're getting there.  Now where did I put the Clorox wipes?........

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Email to the Lowe's CEO

A very nice lady named Julie called this morning at 8:30 from Lowe's Executive Support.  Lowe's has offered to replace the pressure washer, and address the customer service issues in the local store.  I'm happy because I do like Lowe's better.  I do hope that this is fed down to correct the customer service issues here in Albany. 

Emailed to:
Robert Niblock - Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Gregory Bridgeford - Chief Customer Officer
Rick Damron - Chief Operating Officer
Robert Gfeller - Customer Experience Executive
Cedric Coco - Senior Vice President of Learning, Organizational Effectiveness
Brent Kirby - Sales and Service Fulfillment Executive
William Edwards - Senior Vice President of Store Operations, South Division

I would like to tell you of the customer experience that I have been having at one of your stores.  The store in question is located in Albany Georgia, store #0491.

About a month ago I had been using a Troybilt pressure washer for about a ½ hour when it lost pressure.  I called the 800 number located on the side of the machine and confirmed that I had the extended warranty, it is about two years old.  The gentleman on the phone took down my information and told me to drop it off at the store.  Upon arriving at the store they had no record of the phone call and could not look up the sale.  This is when I found out that stores only have access to 6 months of sales data.  They took the pressure washer, wrote down the purchase date and sent it off for repair.

A week later I receive a phone call that the repair will be $280 because it is out of warranty.  When I tell them I purchased the extended warranty they give me another phone number to call.  I call the new number and they confirm that I have the extended warranty.  They send the information off to the repair facility.  A few days later I received a call from the repair facility stating that it is not covered under warranty because I was using it with no water and the seals in the pump were burnt up.  I’m still trying to figure that one out; how do you use it for a half hour, wash a tractor and a mower deck and start cleaning the grass off the driveway with no water?  I tell them to send it back to the store.  That weekend I drive to the store to pick it up and it is not there.  I have to wait an additional week for them to call and tell me that it is back.

When I arrive at the store I am informed that I get to pay for the diagnosis because I didn’t take the repair.  While I am upset, I can accept everything that has happened so far.  When they bring the pressure washer out I notice that Lowe’s has taken a permanent marker and written the ticket number on the top of the machine.  While it is only a pressure washer I did not expect it to be defaced when I brought it in.  (See IMG_1).

On March 6th I submitted a complaint about the writing on your Store Feedback online form.  I received an Email on the 9th stating the local store manager would be in contact within 24 hours.  Five days later I email back to let them know that I have not heard anything from the local store.  While waiting I ordered a replacement pump for the pressure washer (from a competing local store).  It came in on Monday and I brought it home to install it.  When I removed the old pump to install the new I soon discovered that the key that connects the engine shaft to the pump was missing.  I also noticed that there were metal filings in the top of the old pump.  Additionally, the sleeve that the engine shaft sits in was cracked and missing a chunk of metal.  I have included a picture of both the old pump (IMG_2,IMG_3) and the new pump (IMG_3) for your comparison.  With the missing key and broken shaft I am hesitant to believe that the seals are even burnt out. 



I received another email from Lowe’s Customer care yesterday stating that the ticket has been escalated and the store manager would be in contact within one business day.  One business day came and went and I have not heard from your store manager. 

It’s a shame because I really did prefer to shop at Lowe’s than at your competitor across the street but seeing the value that is placed upon the consumer by Lowe’s I think I may try the Home Depot again.  In actuality I haven’t seen much difference between the products that are offered at either store.  I always liked Lowes because of the people there.  They seemed friendlier, but this is also the first time that I had a problem.  While I am probably just another customer sending an email, I did look up my past purchases that I used my “mylowes” card on (Card number 481000085890844).  In total it was $4653.22 in the last 2 years.  While it isn’t really a great amount, I would imagine that if you do not address your customer service at this store there will be quite a few more customers going across the street.

My complaint isn’t even about the pressure washer anymore, I understand that the service is contracted out and you have to take their word on it.  I’ve already bought another pump.  I would have liked to received it back without the writing on it and with the key.  What really just kills it for me is the lack of care from your company.  I thought more of Lowe’s than this.

My co-workers though I should take Lowe’s to small claims court but honestly a $400 pressure washer isn’t worth the time.  The amount of time it would take would outweigh any benefit I would achieve and it would cost me more to take the time off work than the pressure washer is worth.  Being Lowes executives I know you can understand that time is valuable and I will not take any more of yours.

Jesse R Corray

Feel free to forward this email as you feel appropriate.  It may be a good training aid on how to lose a customer.

I'll post any follow up they actually send.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TSC Chicken Update

When I bought the chickens from TSC I thought we would be able to cancel the Cackle order.  They have a "restocking fee" so we decided to just let them send them and we would just add them to the freezer as well.  This meant that we would finally have to get a better brooder.  The old home-made wood box I've been using was already full of meat birds.  Yes, those are 9 day old Frankenchickens.
We went back to TSC and picked up a water trough to use as the new brooder.  The frame on top is one of the light holders I use in the spring for starting the garden plants, but it worked here too.  Now we just need some chicks to arrive.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Value of a Lowe's Extended Warranty

With spring coming I decided it was time to do some maintenance work around the yard.  I pulled the tractor up to the house and took the mowing deck off of it.  It was pretty nasty so I pulled out the pressure washer.  I had bought some new O-Rings for the pressure washer the week before so I replaced the old O-rings, hooked up the hoses and started washing the tractor.  After I had cleaned the tractor and the deck the driveway was looking pretty bad.  I started blowing all the grass and mud off the driveway and I lost all pressure.  I tried restarting the pressure washer but couldn't get any pressure out of the wand.  Ah, this is why we bought the extended warranty.  The pressure washer was almost 2 years old so I wasn't too concerned about something failing.

I called the Lowes service number on the sticker and he took down all my information telling me to go drop it off at Lowes and I should have it back in a week.  When I get to Lowes their customer service has no idea what's going on so I have to give all the information again.  It turns out that local Lowes stores can only look up sales from the last 6 months.  She asks when it was purchased, writes all the information down, and it's off for repair.

A few days later "Lowe's Service" calls and says it will be $280 for the repair because it is out of warranty.  I tell them that it is in warranty and am told to call their corporate customer service to have that verified and sent to "Lowe's Service"  So I do, and they do.  Then I get a call back from "Lowe's Service" stating that the warranty is void because I was "running the pressure washer with no water".  I find that funny, I suppose it was fairies and rainbows coming out of the pressure washer for the 1/2 hour before it failed.  I tell them to send it back to the store.

I went to the store today to pick up the pressure washer and they charged me $58 to get the machine back.  Because I didn't take their "service" I was charged a "diagnostic fee".  Oh, and they want to charge $280 to "replace the seals on the pump".  I can buy a whole new pump for retail cost of $125-140.  I asked to speak with the manager and am informed that "Lowe's Service" isn't even Lowe's, it's contracted out.  Whatever they say goes, he offers to split the bill with me.  Oh how nice, then I only have to pay $198 (140+58) for the $125 bolt on part, how nice.

The machine finally comes up from the warehouse and it's soaking wet.  They had it sitting outside, in the rain.  It's been raining here for 2 days.  The plastic bag that the paperwork was hanging from is filled with water.  It's a pressure washer though so it's not really a big deal.  What really made me mad was the fact that they decided to take a permanent marker to the top of it and write the ticket number on the plastic.  See picture:
So the value of a Lowe's Extended Warranty is less than zero.  Zero would be getting it back in the same broken state that I dropped it off.  Now, is it not only broken it's been tagged by Lowe's.  Guess where I won't be buying power tools EVER again?  We have a new lumber/hardware store opening in Leesburg soon.  I'd imagine they will have a new customer soon.

Oh, and Troy-Bilt, the great power tools of days gone by doesn't exist anymore.  Researching this thing I leaned that it is a Honda engine on top of a Briggs and Stratton pump.  Troy-bilt is now owned by MTD.  It's nothing but a name of a company that used to make nice things.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chickens from Tractor Supply

I went to tractor supply today to pick up some bird feed.  While there I noticed that they had live chicks in this year.  We asked them last year and were told that they no longer did live chicks at our store.  Turns out they changed their minds.  I wish we hadn't already ordered from Cackle.  While Cackle is cheap the cost of shipping is killer. 
I drove home and told Danielle about the birds they had and she sent me back to the store to get a dozen meat birds.  Logan and Paige went with.  They only had 14 so we took the lot, I didn't want to leave 2 all alone.
On the way out of the store Logan and Paige each were carrying a chick box with birds in it.  An older gentleman stopped us in the parking lot and and called over to his wife that was sitting in her mercedes waiting on him.  "Look honey they got chicks"  His wife gives a nice "awwww- you'll have a lot of fun with those"  Logan looks at her and says "YEAH! Our freezer is almost empty!"  She had this confused look for a minute and then a look of terror/shock swept across her face as we turned, jumped in the van and went home.