Do you ever have moments when you recognize the universe folding in on itself allowing you to sense for one nano-second the end from the beginning? Think: Interstellar.
It happened to me when I returned a vessel sink to Home Depot halfway through this Powder Room renovation. The clerk at the return desk asked me if there was anything wrong with the product. As I indicated no, she proceeded to check that the box contained what it claimed. It did, as well as an empty cloth sac. I explained that sac had housed the faucet I purchased elsewhere and I had obviously just tossed it in the box without thinking. Satisfied she handed the sac to me, closed up the box, and refunded my purchase.
Sometime during this quick exchange I had the thought … “How likely it is that something else is hiding under the sink?” Setting that premonition aside I walked out of the store and on to my next errand.
Flash forward two weeks. The washstand is stained and finished. I have ordered and picked up the stone counter. I have even repurchased the same model sink from Home Depot (gotta love indecision). The plan was to make some modifications to the existing plumbing and have my sink and vanity installed by day’s end. As I gathered my supplies I was struck by a sudden realization: I don’t know where the hoses are that attach the water shut off valves to the faucet!
There is no proof, but I am near certain they were returned with the original sink to Home Depot. Arghhh!
I ripped the house apart knowing I would not find them. I called the store. They searched their shelves—Nothing. None of the local building centres stock these specialty parts so I went back online to LightInTheBox, the company from which I ordered the faucet. I tried to remain optimistic despite the painfully slow communication process of one – email – exchange – per – day. Finally, I convinced them to send the hoses I had misplaced.
Ten days later the replacement hoses arrived, but did not fit. Again I went to my local building centre with the hope of finding and adaptor of some sort. None to be had. I then went to my local plumbing supplier. Nothing. I had no recourse except to ask LightInTheBox to send me parts compatible with North American fittings. They apologized and promised to send the parts as soon as they arrived in their warehouse.
Another twenty days later I post a selfie on Instagram #whatoncewaslost. I can hardly contain my excitement in seeing the parcel on my front step. We had become so accustomed to using the kitchen sink to wash our hands I almost forgot what it would be like to wash in the same room as the toilet. I expected to have water running by the end of the day.
Later that evening when I discovered the parcel contained hoses with a 5/8” fitting rather than the 3/8” that I had requested I was crestfallen. I had been patient and remained optimistic throughout the wait, but this was getting ridiculous. I was not prepared to suffer another frustrating email exchange with LightInThe Box. And the prospects that I would be sent another batch of mismatched parts.
I headed back to my local plumbing supplier. Deep in my heart I knew they wouldn’t be able to help. But I hoped they could direct me to someone that could. I was instructed to try the Plumbing & Parts Home Centre in Whitby as they deal with a great deal of foreign products. Luck was with me this time. I showed the fellows at the counter the hoses that were delivered to me and they knew exactly how to hook me up. What a relief.
In retrospect the odds are pretty high that the hoses supplied with faucet never actually fit. Fortunately, all I have lost is time. LightInTheBox was good to ship the subsequent items at there own expense. My greatest frustration with this company was that I couldn’t live chat with someone. Would I purchased through them again? Yes, quite possibly, but much more cautiously. Here are some of the lessons I learned for future online purchases:
- Check, double check, and then check again that the product specs are compatible with local building specs. They are usually hiding under the product description. Be sure to scroll down and read carefully.
- Be polite, but firm and persistent when dealing with online costumer service. I finally got their attention when I mentioned the quality of their customer service would be a key factor in my future shopping decisions (I haven’t told them about the latest mishap. I will post a review on their site).
- Keep all parts in the original packaging until you are ready to use them. In truth, most of the frustration around this delay was due to my carelessness in regards to keeping an organized work space.