Toilets for Wally

“Wally needs toilets” Jeff tells me.  “The plumber is at the job right now and needs toilets to install.”  By the way he phrases it, I know it’s going to be my job to procure them.  Oh dear.  “And they need to be elongated.”  Elongated?  What the heck does that mean?  This, I realize, will not be a simple trip to Home Depot.

Wally is one of our very last rebuild homeowners.  He is probably one of the most resourceful people I’ve ever met.  Half of his house has been rebuilt with what I call “Wally Bartering”.  He has literally bartered he way through this rebuild process getting deals on everything from his windows to his cabinets.  Apparently, though, toilets are now in my department.

I have talked Jeff into calling Home Depot ahead of time and having the Pro Desk pull my needed toilets, as I’m still unsure what ‘elongated’ is referring to.  He has assured me that the said elongated toilets will be ready and waiting for me to pick up.  They will probably already be charged to our account.  Simple.  I’m not convinced.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about New Orleans culture, it’s that customer service is not a goal many establishments strive to achieve.  I once stood in the mini blinds isle at Home Depot for 40 minutes, pushing the customer service call button every 5 minutes before I was assisted only to be told they didn’t have what I needed.  No matter, off to Home Depot I go for my toilets… Wally and Wally’s plumber cannot be kept waiting.

I pull up to our local Home Depot and park under the customer pickup awning fully expecting someone to yell “hey, you can’t park there!”  I’m in luck, either nobody cares or nobody sees my parking location and I make my way to the Pro Desk.

Jeff has spoken to a Mr. Charlie on the phone who has taken our toilet order.  Charlie however has just left for lunch.  Drat.  I’m now left dealing with Charlie’s coworker who has not a clue about my toilet order.  “Eh?  Toilets?  What’s the name?  I don’t have an order for any toilets.”  I knew it.  I give him Jeff’s name, the churches name and finally a phone number.  Nothing.  Coworker makes a call.  The person at the other end of the line doesn’t know anything about my toilets either.

It’s at this point that Mr. Coworker decides to take a scan of the items awaiting pick-up.  There, standing proudly to the left, are my toilets.  However there seems to be a small problem.  Instead of pulling just two toilets, someone has pulled two pallets of toilets.  That’s a lot of toilets… like 16.  “This is what I ordered,” I tell Coworker, “but I only needed two, not two pallets.”  Heaven forbid he just pull two off for me, that would be too simple; it’s back behind the desk to make a phone call to Charlie.  Charlie doesn’t answer.

Beep…beep…beep.  A fork lift is coming down the side isle with a flag man walking in front of it waving his little orange flags, a process I’ve always found comical.  Do you really need a flag man to notify you that a beeping forklift is coming your way and you need to move?  I recognize the driver as Santos, a higher up at the Pro Desk that knows Jeff.  “Hey Santos, know anything about toilets for the Vineyard?” Coworker yells above the din.  Santos toodles by on the fork lift yelling out to just take two off the pallets.  Brilliant.  Apparently, Santos is in the loop on the toilets.  “Jeff sending you to do his dirty work now?  Heheh.”  Yeah.  Funny.

After twenty minutes, I have paid for my toilets.  Coworker is looking at me with a look of ‘what are you waiting for’ on his face.  “Could someone help me load those up?” I have to ask.  Like I look like the type of girl that can sling a toilet around.  Geez.  Coworker #2, who looks less than thrilled to be toting my toilets, is recruited to assist me.  Off we go.  Customer service at it’s finest.

Toilets are now loaded into the truck and I’m off to Wally’s.  Hopefully the plumber is thankful for the elongated toilets he is about to have the pleasure of installing on this fine day.

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