Thursday, February 28, 2013

My quest for Customer Service

One of the things I'm regreting is selling my five horse power, twin lung compressor with  60 gallon tank. The mere fact that it put out a continuous 12 CFM of air at 90 PSI was overlooked in my zeal to close down the shop.
I do have a compressor in my shop now but it's only a 1 hp on a 20 gallon tank and struggles to put out 4 CFM at 40 PSI.
Last week I found myself picking up one of my favorite spray guns and attempting to lay down a decent coat of water-based lacquer.
It became rapidly evident that wasn't going to happen and instead I ended up with runs and orange peel.
Thus began my search over the Internet to find a low-volume low-pressure (LVLP) gravity fed cup gun that I could use to finish my wood projects.
These guns are reported to put out a decent spray at as low as 4 pounds per square inch at 30 psi albeit slower than the HVLP style guns.
I located one in California that seemed like a good start

I found it listed at Amazon  and proceeded to go through the maze of instructions, blockades password instructions, wrong passwords, new passwords and finally to the order page where I was once again interrupted by an offer from Amazon to sign up for one of their credit cards for an additional $10 discount.
At that moment I wasn't in the mood to sign up for discount or for that matter try to jam another credit card in my wallet.
I just wanted the damn gun!

After several attempts to appease the computer “robot God” by filling in the order form I finally got to the place where I could actually submit the form for approval when the robot informed me that this particular gun could not be shipped to my area.

Yippee!  I cried, I get to search all over again!

The next merchant I found carrying the product was called Wayfair.  The advert clearly showed it would ship to Canada without filling in the whole data template first like Amazon. That robot seemed to take my information without pause after only two attempts I was ready to place the order. A screen popped up and asked me if everything was okay I said yes and the screen closed.

The next morning when I looked in my mailbox I had mail!
A letter informing that I had not completed the transaction now I have to return to the website and okay the transaction again.
 I did that momentarily and have now received a confirmation that the product I ordered will be shipped tomorrow with the usual transaction fees and charges that bringing the cost of delivering the product to almost 75% of the selling price.  Gawd, I luv Free trade!

Just for the record, I feel you all should know that I did first try to make this purchase locally.

The first stop I made was to one of the quieter retailers in the area that rarely has any customers, at least when I visit.
I had no trouble grabbing a clerk as I knew both of them that run the floor so I took one over to the spray guns and popped the question.
"Do you have, or can you obtain, LVLP spray guns?"

 His reply was "Don't you mean HVLP?"

 I told him no that's not what I meant and he told me no he didn't have them.

While we were standing there I picked up a spray gun/turbine that was on display and priced at $349.
(My next stop was to be KMS tools where they had advertised the same machine for $329.00

(Nothing like checking your prices when a competitors flyer comes out!)

 The clerk made no motion when I fumbled with the gun except to say maybe I should get that one. He never asked me what I was going to do with the gun for that matter he didn't seem that interested in finding out so I put it down an excused myself to the front of the store and proceeded to leave.

I should mention that on my way back to the front of the store I looked at a digital readout gauge that was packaged (perhaps in China or Taiwan) with a poor picture and no instructions on the cover.
 I asked the other clerk who is the manager of the store if he had one open so could see what it did. He said no. (INSERT AWKWARD PAUSE HERE)
I said okay, what does it do?
He picks up a package and wanders over to one of the table saws and holds the package in front of a table saw fence and tells me "it could go on here". Then he says "or maybe here".
I say where does the readout page go? He waves his hand over the tabletop and tells me “anywhere up here”.
I decided against pursuing the device any further as it was obvious that this man had no intention of opening the package and letting me see what I was purchasing nor did he have even a remote clue of how exactly it would be mounted and what, if any advantage, it would offer me.

The long and the short of it is, these people are not trained, have no interest in being trained, and are simply minding the store for hourly wages.

I really believe that as the Internet matures and local warehousing becomes more frequent in Canada that retail stores such as this are going to find it difficult making ends meet.

Right now I'm looking forward to having my new low-volume low-pressure spray gun in my hands in the next two days. It's being delivered via Federal Express and they're awfully good.
 last Friday the gun arrived I was able to put it through its paces .
 I had a bit of trouble setting spray pattern  because I was used to using a lot more air pressure to fan the paint and essentially more air to propel it .
 I also found with the new acrylic formulation I'm using that I had to use roughly about 10% of the extender product  to level out the acrylic lacquer at the new lower pressure. I think I'm close to hitting the sweet spot with this gun and I attach here a couple of postings of my first attempt.

 I have scarcely 20 minutes on this new toy but I feel confident that this is my new go to tool for applying all my clear finishes and stain.
  The cost of the gun was quite reasonable ( under 50 bucks ) so if need be I will purchase another one for stain and keep one just for clear coats.

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