Monday, August 28, 2006

The Things I Do for My Theater (or "Scrolling for Cable")

While hanging lights for The Last 5 Years on Friday, we came up one cable short. Seems four 25' cables just aren't enough, particularly when two of them have to be joined just to bridge the distance from one side of the theater to the other. So we called our intrepid supplier, and asked for a cable to be sent overnight. We needed to have it delivered on Saturday so that we would have it installed before the Sunday cue-to-cue. And I had it delivered to my house because we can't bank on someone being at the theater to receive a package.

There was no problem with the order. I received an email confirmation with a FedEx tracking number. Then Saturday came ... and the 3 o'clock hour passed ... and I had no cable.

I jumped online and tracked the package. Uh oh ... someone did checked for overnight, but it was standard and not Saturday delivery. Overnight on a Friday defaults to a ... Monday delivery!

I sprang into action -- er, at least, I sprang for my phone and started calling customer service. At first, there was no joy to be had. The CS rep just calmly told me there was nothing to be done because the shipper (our supplier in this case) would have to initiate a change in delivery. Unfortunately, no one would be in the office at my supplier until Monday morning!

I escalated the issue up the supervisor chain until I came to someone who was willing to go outside the box a bit. She was willing to find the package at her location. And then she was willing to wait for me to drive to Bethlehem, PA, and retrieve it myself. That's the best she could do because all the drivers were gone for the day. Her office would be closing in less than an hour, but she would wait up to one extra for me to arrive.

I got directions via Google Maps ... grabbed my crutches (yes, I am still on crutches!) and cell phone, and hit the road. Traffic slowed appreciably around the 378/412 junction, and I watched time slipping away. Oh, and I passed a FedEx Home delivery truck while driving through Bethlehem. Unless this particular driver takes his truck home, and he lives relatively close to the FedEx building, then there was at least one more driver making routes well after the supervisor told me otherwise.

Finally, I was in the home stretch. I found the FedEx building and pulled into the lot, just as my cell phone rang again. It was the FedEx supervisor, wondering how much longer I would be. "I'm just parked in your lot," I replied. She said, "Oh, I'll be right out with your item."

I signed for the item. And drove home. After I arrived back at my house, I fired up the laptop and sent an email to the supplier, informing him of my impromptu trip. The reply? Very positive.

Our supplier not only apologized for the mistake, but offered to let us keep the cable if we pay the invoice as is. That means, we end up with a 40+ dollar cable for the price of $26.49 (the rental fee plus a shipping fee). As long as I don't think about what I spent in gas on Saturday, I think we got a pretty good deal.

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