LowesOther, smarter people were aware of all the little things that come up when moving from an apartment to your first home. I knew about most of the big things ahead of time and could budget for them. But hundreds of dollars can be spent on just small things. Numbers for the front post. Those little coasters that go under furniture legs so they don’t scratch the floor. A new wrench to put our showerheads on securely. A new showerhead to replace the one I over-tightened with the new wrench.

But here’s a doozy of a story about my experience with Lowe’s trying to buy a new refrigerator.

For those who don’t know, I recently moved from Missouri to Indiana. SURPRISE if you didn’t. While looking for a bank to use, I found all the local Indiana banks to be woefully insufficient. So I stuck with my bank in Missouri, despite some basic disadvantages to doing so.

After going to 4 different stores, we finally settled on the fridge we wanted. It had the right bells and whistles. It came in the color we wanted, it could be delivered in a timely manner, and it was the best priced of the models we saw. So we headed up to Lowe’s to purchase our awesome refrigerator about an hour before closing time.

Everything seemed fine as the guy in Appliances entered our information into the computer for the order. He sent us up front believing all would go well and the world was sunshine and lollipops. But it wasn’t.

I handed the cashier my debit card for this $1,200+ purchase. *ERR* Not accepted.

I’m confused by this, but I came prepared. I hand him a credit card with a maximum balance that should be able to handle this bulky purchase. *ERR* Declined.

This is not going how I thought, but no matter. I came with all three of my regular options available. For I was wielding the checkbook. That magical little book that is taken most anywhere and it matters little for how much. So I write out the check, provide my driver’s license and out-of-state phone number…. You guessed it *ERR* it’s rejected with a special error code and a phone number I can call if I feel like wasting half an hour of my time and still not having a fridge ordered.

So I return to the hotel in which I was lodging at this time. I contemplate my poor luck, and start trying to think of ways I can resolve this. I could withdraw cash from an ATM for the amount. No, that fails. There are limits to how much can be withdrawn in a day. I don’t know if most machines even have that much money in them regularly.

Or maybe I could ask a huge favor of my dad, he could go buy the fridge, have it delivered to my house 2 states away, and I could mail him the check. Nope, the store shot that down. You can’t have a fridge delivered out of the state you placed the order.

Or maybe I could write a kind coworker a check, he could cash it at his local bank, give me the cash, and I could buy it that way. Oh but he lives 20 minutes away and probably has plans of his own.

Well some of you more learned in the ways of the world have probably already figured out one or two of my problems. Fact 1: most debit cards have limits on them, preventing purchases over a certain amount in a single day. Fact 2: my hotel bill was pending on my credit card, and the maximum couldn’t handle the week-long hotel stay AND the super-awesome fridge. Fact 3: Some consumers (Lowe’s being one) have a partnership with companies who provide them advice on when to accept checks and when not to. Apparently my out-of-state check, out-of-state driver’s license, and out-of-state phone number combined into a trifecta of screwed-ness. When I called the check validating company, they informed me they could provide me with some tips that might prevent my check from getting declined next time. All I would have to do is sign up for their special program. My response: *ERR* Error code stating you can bite me.

lowes_giftcard_1So the next morning the fridge situation got resolved after I called my bank and had the debit card limit raised. But the fun doesn’t end there. A few days later I get a call saying that the fridge went on sale, and they can credit me for the difference. W00t on spending $100ish less. I go to their store, and the first question I get from the Customer Service girl (who recognized me from before) was, “You got the receipt?” Of course I didn’t. I wasn’t told I would need it and I didn’t think to bring it with me. Go back home. Go back to store. Next question from the same Customer Service girl, “Has it been delivered yet?” Well no, does that matter? Oh. “If we back out the purchase, it may cancel the delivery of the fridge tomorrow.” Wow, maybe something that could’ve been said before I drove up here again. *Sigh*. So after delivery, I went back up there, got my $100ish put on a gift card, and promptly spent most of it on little things I didn’t expect would add up to near that much.

So to recap:
Trip 1 to buy fridge: nothing happened
Trip 2 to buy fridge: success
Trip 1 to get refund: nothing happened
Trip 2 to get refund: nothing happened
Trip 3 to get refund: success

I’m currently batting less than 50% for useful trips to Lowe’s.