I don’t want to start rumors about other people, but the guy who runs the Minneapolis PODS Storage Facility is a goat-screwing douchebag who left us dangling in the wind on the weekend we were set to move.
It started like this…
My lovely and vivacious wife reserved a PODS storage unit for January 23, 2010. Because the unit would need to be parked on the street, PODS said they would get a permit from the city. The night before the POD was scheduled to arrive, we received both a telephone call and email confirming our unit would arrive at approximately 9:00 the following morning. So far so good.
The next morning the PODS delivery driver called and said the city had denied the company’s permit request, and that he could not deliver our unit. We asked if there was anything we could do, and were told he would check with the office and get back to us. At this point, concern sets in.
30 minutes later and the driver had not called back. I called the 1-800 number, which connected me to PODS headquarters in Florida. They confirmed that the city denied the permit request, and that no pod could be delivered until Monday. Panic rises.
While on the phone, the driver called back to say that with no permit he could not deliver a pod. I asked for his supervisor’s name, but the driver refused, stating that “you wouldn’t know the supervisor.” I acknowledged the truth of that statement, but explained that the supervisor might be in a better position to rectify this situation. The driver was adamant in his refusal, and stated my only recourse was through the 800-number. Annoyance rears its ugly head.
I again contacted the Florida office. While speaking with them, I demanded to see both the permit application and the city’s denial documentation. It was then that PODS admitted that the city hadn’t denied the permit request; rather, no attempt had been made to get a permit until that very morning. I informed the operator that, although I was unaware of the procedure in Florida, in Minnesota the city offices tended to be closed on Saturdays. Moreover, they were at a loss to explain why, if the permit was denied, were we given two confirmations.
I then asked for the telephone number for the local PODS warehouse. Florida informs me that they can’t give that information to me, and that all communication must go through them. Anger simmers.
Although contrary to what we were originally told, I was now informed the unit could be delivered to our driveway. “Oh,” said the woman, “only if your driveway is clear of snow and ice. Do you have snow and ice on your driveway?” Using strategically placed 4-letter words, I admitted that during January in Minnesota, this was generally the case. Rage begins to boil.
However, realizing that my alternatives were few, I requested the driver return with the unit between 11:30 and 12:30, and promised that the driveway would be suitably free of snow and ice. I also explained that I would be expecting a hefty discount. Armed with shovels, ice-picks, and approximately 300 lbs. of salt, my lovely and vivacious wife and I, along with my in-laws, set to work on the driveway. As I pound the ice into chunks, I feel the tension leave my body. Calmness creeps back in on little cat feet.
Our movers were arriving at 1:30, and shortly after 11:00 the driver arrived with the unit. Our hope faded quickly, however, when the driver leaned out of his cab window and, rolling his eyes, said we hadn’t cleared enough snow from the driveway. My father-in-law said that this was no problem, and that if the driver would simply tell us how much wider he needed the space, we would quickly have it cleared off. I mention how it would be easier if the driver just placed the POD in the street, as originally planned (and contracted, and confirmed. Twice). “I can’t do that without a permit,” the driver said. “I was told that we had a permit,” I explained. (I was remarkably comfortable with this lie). “Well, I’ll have to check with my office” replied the driver.
Then he shut his truck door in our faces. Then he drove away. My father-in-law and I watched as the driver drove up the block and turned a corner. Foolishly, we assumed that the driver had simply felt that he was blocking the street, and was going to go around the block and return. We were young, and naïve. He never returned. Hatred erupts.
I again contacted the main office, who seemed equally as confused with the driver’s behavior as we were. It slowly became apparent, however, that PODS had breached their contract with us and was incapable (or unwilling) to cure the breach. We were not going to get our storage unit.
Make no mistake—there was a Unit waiting for us. It’s just that the driver refused to deliver it to our house. Instead, we were told to rent a U-Haul and drive our possessions to the PODS Warehouse, where the unit would be waiting. If we could locate and rent a U-Haul, load our entire possessions, drive to the warehouse, and unload the truck into the unit, we would be fine. However, the warehouse closed at 5:00.
Of course it did.
We hurriedly rented a U-haul, and our friends and family set to work loading it. But it quickly became apparent that there was no way we could possibly finish by 5:00. I again called Florida and explained my situation to yet another poor customer service person on the other end. Now I was told that I would be able to deliver the truck to the PODS warehouse tomorrow, but that because the warehouse was closed, the unit would sit out on the street until Monday, when it would be put back into secure storage. “Of course,” I was told, “PODS would not be liable for any damage that occurred during that time.”
Dropping as many colorful metaphors as I could, I informed them that in no way and under no circumstance was that acceptable. In fact, I explained, I was of the mind that liability began to run with PODS the minute they breached the contract that morning. Sensing my dissatisfaction, the customer representative stated his belief that
a) The Minnesota owner was a good and nice man; and
b) This whole problem would be solved if the two of us could just talk to each other, rather than going through the Corporate Office. To this end, we should talk on the phone to resolve this problem.
Of course, I disagreed vehemently with a). As far as b), I was convinced that it wouldn’t work, but I would try it if they gave me the local owner’s telephone number. Of course, they wouldn’t do that, but said that they would send him a message asking him to contact me.
“Okay,” I agreed, “But he’s not going to call me. And when he doesn’t call me, I’m calling you back, and I’m going to be angrier than I am now, and we’re still going to need to figure something out.”
“Of course, of course…call back, and ask for me, and I will help you then. But I know this will work.” By this point, I’m too exhausted to argue.
An hour later, and no call had come. I contacted the main office, but was told that the person to whom I had been speaking was gone for the day. I asked the new person to contact the local owner and have him call me, but was told that the office was closed, and the owner now unreachable.
“You know,” I said, “I think I’d like my money back.”
So we went with U-Haul instead.