Saturday, April 21, 2012

OOPS Steam Cleaning Made an Oops...

...and how they fixed it!

When we decided to decorate our living room, I knew I was going to hire someone to steam clean my carpets. I normally clean the carpets myself with a rental, so it had to be real steam cleaning to go above and beyond what I myself could do. I researched opinions and got references...and nearly everywhere I turned, the answer was Oops Steamcleaning. So, that's who I hired.

The guy who came was very informative, making sure the kiddoes knew to stay away from the hot machines and letting us know that what they used was safe and non-toxic. We watched with great interest as he worked on our dingy carpet. The kid's (and me) were amazed to see years of grime disappear right in front of us.



The night before they came, we had all the guys come over and remove all furniture from our living room. It would've been $10 a pop to have them do it and I wasn't going to pay that when there were strong guys right down the street who were perfectly willing. The only thing we didn't remove was the dining room table. It was light, but it wouldn't fit through any of the inside doorways. We were a little worried about it being on the porch (the only door it would easily go through) because it was an antique and would be out in the weather.

I made sure my sis-in-law was there to help move it out of the way as he worked, so she was standing by watching right along with the kids. The guy made sure we put foil under the legs so that they wouldn't get wet--very much appreciated since I didn't even think to do this!

Then it happened. He got close to the table and I asked him to wait just a minute so I could pass off the baby to someone else and help Aunt Leah move the table. Apparently, he wasn't thinking about the table and it's narrow legging, but instead about two ladies, one with a baby and one tiny teen, about to move the table. He took it upon himself to shove it over as he said, "That's alright, I got it."

CrrrrrAck! Leah and I looked on in wide-eyed amazement as the opposite legs from where the guy was pushing (instead of pulling) the table bent under about a foot and snapped the frame by that leg. I was stunned and just stood there wondering what to do. Should I get on the wet carpet to check? I knew it had cracked...it was as loud as a branch breaking off from a large tree. How bad was it? Would the table be okay? It was my antique! And...it had been entrusted to my care by the family who sold us this house. That table was the only thing left that the family might return for later.

As soon as he left the room, acting as if he hadn't done a thing, I scrambled under the table to check. It had cracked the frame about three inches from the leg all the way through and had left a gap. The gap, I pushed back in place easily but the damage was done like a hairline fracture in a leg. What was he thinking?! Even I knew to never push a table that light. I was upset!

I held my composure, but I had him note on the receipt that he had cracked my table. He noted it, I paid, and he left. Then I sat stunned wondering what I should do.

Giving them a Call:

Two days later, after thinking it over, I gave them a call. I had never been unsatisfied with someone's service before and was a little nervous. I should've eaten first. I was shaky and irritable and probably sounded like a lunatic. On the other hand, they sounded unsympathetic and didn't want to admit that the problem was theirs. They didn't want to take responsibility because I hadn't paid to move the furniture. I was mad. I couldn't get them to understand that I didn't pay to have them move the furniture because I didn't WANT them to move it! I got off the phone and cried.

Then I ate. Probably would've been better to eat first! After I called them back with a clearer mind I was able to explain what had happened. They hadn't understood me and were more understanding this time. Low blood sugar brain has been a cause for several misunderstandings in my family, so I slapped the proverbial "In the past" label on the former conversation and hoped they would do the same.

This time, communicating clearly that we had fully intended to move that furniture ourselves and that it wasn't our fault that the guy took it upon himself to do so, they offered to fix it. The first offer was to have an antique restoration guy come out and fix the table.

I'm not by nature a trusting person, so I could just imagine some ill-trained guy who worked for an actual antique restoration company slapping some wood glue on it and calling it a day. So, Oops Steamcleaning was going to pay a few hundred dollars to have someone rub a little wood glue on a hairline fracture in my table.

I thought about this for a split second. I wanted the table fixed, but I had a choice. My husband, who's a pricing analyst (take off the y, s, and t and you'll have a clue how much he researches even the littlest of projects before taking them on), could fix it himself. Or, some guy I don't know and have never seen a bit of work they've done, could work on my antique Thomasville dining room table. No question. I trusted Josh more for that job. But, they still needed to do something about their mistake. It's not like they painted a wall the wrong color. They cracked my antique!

A little more split second thinking. You know how that goes when it happens in your head between a question, a pause and an answer, but takes two whole paragraphs to explain? Sheesh. My second thought was to ask myself what would be reasonable to ask. It was, after all a small crack. They were going to hire a guy to come fix it, so they would be forking over a couple/few hundred dollars for the work. Wouldn't it be easier on them to just make up for it by doing some more work? They had already cleaned every carpet that needed cleaning. I'm not even sure I'm going to keep my drapes. That left my entryway floor and my enormous kitchen floor. The entryway was smaller. Okay, I'll ask for that.

So, I did. I told them I would rather them just come clean my Entryway stone work then to send a guy out to fix the table and they agreed. We set the day. I found out later that this was a very pricey job.

I hadn't expected much change. I had scrubbed this floor down before on hands and knees with disappointing results. Cleaning with expensive machines might get the edges cleaner and give me peace of mind about old grime, but really that's the extent of my expectation. But...take a look!!

First of all, they sent their top guy. He may be wearing grungies, but he spoke like a Suit. This was either the owner or management. They weren't taking any chances! I bet they had never broken an antique before and most likely hadn't made a mistake anywhere near as big in the past. They were serious about fixing things.
And, what an After!! I had no clue the color was this light. Look at the swirls in the stone!They're visible!! Did you catch the painting behind Mr. Fixit? The stone is the same floor painted almost three decades before by an immaculate housekeeper. It's not even this light. Amazing!

So, would I use them again??

Well, only if I can get over my low blood sugar, ogre-lady phone call embarrassment!
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