Heather’s Slightly Less Helpful Coworker

Dillon Sconce A little bit more about my Restoration Hardware sconce replacement shade project.  The friendly Heather sent me an email, providing the part number for the replacement and told me to call customer service at my convenience and any of the representatives could help.

So I called the toll-free number – which connects to a call center in Tracy, California – and got off to a bad start with the lady who answered.

After explaining what I wanted to do, the lady asked for my original order number.  What?  That was two years ago and 9,000 miles away.  I don’t remember my order number.  Instead of giving me a constructive response like, “Well, sir, why don’t I search for the order in the system… do you recall the address the order was shipped to?”

Instead of saying something like that, she told me that she couldn’t place a replacement parts order without the original order number and then left us hanging in silence.  “What should I do next?” I thought.  My exasperation started to show when I explained the two years and 9,000 miles situation, and she finally remembered her customer service training and asked for my address so she could search for the order.

From that point out, she was actually helpful and friendly enough.  But in the end, even though the part number that Heather gave me is in the system, it shows a zero quantity in inventory, so this lady couldn’t place the order.  After 24 minutes on the phone, the conclusion was that she has filled out some sort of a request for replacement parts that goes to up the decision-making chain.  Supposedly someone will get back to me.

This is kind of an up-and-down saga.  At first, RH was doing a pretty good job in customer service.  Now it has taken a turn for the worse.  We’ll see how it concludes.


Heather from Restoration Hardware

I am getting a message that the photo module is unavailable right now, so I guess this will be a picture-less entry!  As a pleasant break in our rainy season weather, the nights have been cool and breezy.  I woke up very early this morning – about 4:30 – thanks to noise from the rubbish collectors outside.  Despite the breezy, 80-degree weather (which is what I mean by “cool”), they were banging rubbish bin lids, sorting glass bottles into sacks, and generally making too much noise.

A few minutes later, just as I had rolled over and started to fall asleep again, my phone rang, a forwarded call from my US number. 

“Hello, this is Heather from Restoration Hardware…”

When we did the remodel of this unit two years ago, we couldn’t find sconces that we liked for a reasonable price here in Thailand.  Restoration Hardware in the U.S. was having a sale so we bought some Dillon single sconces and packed them back.  This ended up being a long and complicated process and we wound up spending as much on shipping costs as we saved by buying in the U.S.

To top it off, the frosted glass shades that come with the sconces are a bit fragile.  We’ve broken two so far, although the first one was damaged in transit.  The last time I contacted Restoration Hardware to order a replacement shade, the one I ended up receiving was the wrong color.  I called again this week and the friendly agent took down my information and said someone would contact me and let me know the status within 48 hours.

True to his word, I did receive a call within 48 hours.  Despite my asking that he include a note that I prefer to be contacted by email since I’m overseas on business, I still received Heather’s perky call at 4:45 or so.

Heather asked for some more information and said the search for the spare shades was still on.  She also promised to make multiple notes on the form so that I wouldn’t receive a call again in the middle of the night.

I appreciate that they are following up as promised, though.


Edit: Just checked my email and there is a message from Heather.  She’s located the spare part number for the shades.  I also realized that my blurry memory was wrong, as I had initially referred to her in this entry as Katie.


The last few pieces before the work really begins


Above: A handyman uses a scrap piece of marble (from a bathroom shelf that was improperly installed) to make a beautiful entry to the condo.

Yesterday, a friend who works with our designer told Tawn to brace himself: if he thinks the remodel has been a challenge thus far, wait until the last few days and the follow-up after we move in.  This, Eddy assures us, is much more work because the contractor already has his mind on the next project and will drag his feet on getting the details finished.

Certainly, we’ve found that to be the case already.  Light fixtures installed in the wrong places, small bits of tile along the edges of counters being left out and just filled in with grout, incorrect door handles installed.


Some of it is just the normal stuff one encounters when hiring people to work in your home.  But some of it is sheer… Thainess.  Tawn specifically explained to the electricians which fixtures went where, but we come in later and things are just put up wherever – and some fixtures have been installed in places where no instruction has been given.


Above: The master electrician hangs one of our lighting fixtures for Tawn to evaluate.  We originally were going to do recessed lighting, but there is only 6 cm (2.5 inches) of space above the ceiling.

Below: Tawn measures the height of the chandelier in the living room.  With the extension on, it is way too low.  Our designer is working with a supplier to cut the extension bar and put new threads in it.


It looks like we’ll have minimal access to the condo this weekend and will probably not be moving anything in, as originally planned.  However, since Tawn’s parents are out of town in Germany this week, we can go ahead and move boxes of things for which there will be no immediate storage at the new condo, over to store at their place.

This works out pretty well, because we won’t have bookshelves built yet, for example.  Tawn has also decided that all the decorating items need to be out of the condo at first and then he can evaluate them and bring them in, piece by piece.

Below: All the closet doors have been removed and fabric panels are being installed in the fronts of them to soften the room.  You can see that we’ll have a good amount of storage.  Still some question about what to do with that air conditioning screen, which doesn’t really screen the air con at all!



Above: The marble bathroom countertop has been cut and is ready to be installed.  Below: The day before, this door had a second lock – a deadbolt – installed in it.  This is one of those “Thai things” as bedrooms here usually have a full deadbolt.  It seemed impractical and ugly so I raised a fuss.  They were able to fill the hole pretty nicely and instead installed this handle that has an unobtrusive privacy lock.