Buying a dishwasher

<warning, very long post, grab a glass of wine and settle in>

As we’ve mentioned before, buying a dishwasher in Puerto Rico is not something you can run to a store and walk out with. Puerto Ricans, as a general rule, do not use dishwashers. To buy a dishwasher you need to order them and the turn around is about 4 weeks.

Also, you can’t order things from most major retailers online either. You have to go to the store to place the order. Sadly this rule applies, at least for Home Depot (HD), to AK, HI, GU, USVI, and PR. I don’t know why this is, but I’m stuck with it.

Now that we’ve been forced to remodel the kitchen we need a dishwasher. We’ve settled on a date for our next trip and the 4 week turnaround is going to be cutting it close so I’ve started the process of purchasing one. The first one we wanted went off sale the day I started to purchase so I’ve chosen a slight lesser model.

I tried to work HD’s website to see if there was a way around the block and couldn’t find one, so I used their chat system to talk to a rep to see if my options had changed any. They had not. I googled the Punto Mio service I was referred to last year and learned it’s not an HD service but a separate entity all together. I used their online calculator to estimate the cost of using them to get the dishwasher. Turns out it was going to cost about $1000 to ship it. I laughed and choked. Yeah, no.

That meant I was left with trying to call the HD in Carolina and deal with the language barrier. I knew from personal experience that it was going to be very difficult since it’s hard enough to do in person. I was right. I was transferred 7 times and each time the conversation went along the the lines of:

“Olah. No enteindo espaniol. Habla usted Englese?” (Hello, I dont understand Spanish. Do you speak English)
“Yes, how can I help you”
“I need some help ordering a dishwasher”
“Ok hold on”
<hold music while being transferred>

7 Times.

7th person barely spoke English. I told her the model number. She couldn’t find it but offered a cheaper model and a much more expensive one. Between her very thick accent and the phone picking up ALL of the noise around her I could barely make out the letters/numbers she was trying to give me for the units she could find. I said I would call back.

Talk about an absolutely inefficient way of doing business! On HD’s website, I can choose my local Carolina store, I can be shown all kinds of merchandise, but I cant buy it without going to the store and talking to a sales associate who’s going to look it up on her computer to order it. Ridiculous.

So, I go back to the website again trying anything to find a way to order this dishwasher. I get on Chat support again and this time I get a rep who gets it. When it’s over my hopes are high. Here’s the transcript.

Chat Transcript
info: You are now chatting with ‘Samantha’
info: Thank you for shopping with The Home Depot. Welcome to live chat!
Samantha: Welcome to The Home Depot. My name is Sam, how can I help you today?
Dean: I’m very frustrated right now.
Samantha: Well that’s never fun. How can I help you?
Dean: I live in New Jersey. I bought a condo in Puerto Rico. I need to order a dishwasher for the condo. I know it takes about 4 weeks for it to arrive in Puerto Rico, but I can’t order it online. I’ve tried calling the store but the language barrier was insurmountable. I cant go to the store to order it now. And I wont be there to receive it if I order it on my next visit.
Samantha: Well let me see what I can do to help you. Do you have the model/internet number for the dishwasher?
Dean: it’s ridiculous that I can choose the store, and be show things but can not actually buy them online
Samantha: I understand that. Can I please have the zip code?
Dean: zip code for delivery is 00738
Samantha: Thank you! Give me just a moment while I try to find out what the issue with delivering to Puerto Rico is.
Samantha: Are we looking at the Los Colobos store?
Dean: my closest store is Carolina #6402
Samantha: Perfect, thank you. I will need about 3-5 minutes to research this for you. Are you ok with standing by while I do this?
Dean: absolutely. I’ve been banging my head against walls all morning.
Samantha: Oh no! Careful! You could dent something! I will work on getting this resolved for you so that there won’t be any more head banging.
Samantha: I will be right back in 3-5 minutes with an update.
Dean: thank you. I will appreciate it!
Samantha: Thank you for waiting! I am currently going to call the store and attempt to find someone who is more fluent in english because we have to have the order placed in the store for a Puerto Rico purchase. I am going to do my very best to find a representative that will be a bit more equipped to help.
Dean: good luck. that was my problem too.
Samantha: I’ll try my best.
Samantha: I may be 5-7 minutes. I will periodically check in with you to give you updates.
Dean: ok. there is one other detail. that might make this all moot.
Samantha: What is that?
Dean: my window for delivery is Feb 26-march 7
Dean: I hope that’s enough time, but if it isnt’ then i’ll have to fall back on other solutions or reschedule the order.
Samantha: We will see what we can do. If I cannot solve this, I may have a different solution.
Dean: ok. thank you so much.
Samantha: Not a problem. I’m happy to help.
Dean: ok
Samantha: I have a solution for the language barrier if you are available later today.
Dean: I am.
Samantha: I actually have two solutions. The first, is we have an international shipping department that would allow you to place the order (it would take longer because we have to work with customs) and we would then be able to send it to Puerto Rico, I don’t know how long that would take though.
Samantha: The second option I have may be easier on you.
Samantha: You can call our online contact center at 800-430-3376 and request to speak with a specific representative by the name of <Dad>. He is my Dad. He comes in at 5 PM your time and speaks fluent Puerto Rican. He served a mission there and would be able to solve the language barrier problem for you and help get the order placed.
Dean: if the first one is Punto Mio, I used their online calculator to find out it would cost $1000 more to ship it to PR.
Dean: WOW. that 2nd option sounds terrific!
Samantha: That might be what it is, I’m not entirely sure.
Samantha: If that will work for you, I can guarantee you will receive the most amazing customer service you have ever had. He is phenomenal.
Dean: I can’t thank you enough!
Samantha: I will even notify him of the situation when he gets into work today so that he can expect you!
Dean: <hugs>
Samantha: I’m smiling. I would hug you too if I were able to! Now here is what you will need to do. When you call our online contact center, you need to provide them with his first and last name so that they can send him a message and let him know you would like to speak with him.
Dean: ok, will do.
Samantha: I will send him an email right now so that he knows. I will send him the store number and the item number for the dishwasher as well as your name. He will provide you with everything he can because that’s just what he does for his customers and we will do everything we can to get your order placed and try for the right delivery date.
Samantha: Does that sound alright?
Dean: That sounds great, just to eliminate typos can I give you the shipping address to put in the email?
Samantha: Of course.
Dean: one second.I’m looking for the email.
Dean: It’s <redacted>
Dean: My name is Dean Sorensen
Samantha: Thank you! I’m writing the email as we speak. Now to be safe, wait until 5:15 to make sure that you can get through to him. If he cannot take the call right away, he can call you back.
Samantha: All done!
Dean: will do. You are simply the best. I hope I get to rate your service!
Samantha: Why thank you! You are so sweet! We love to take care of everyone we can if there is a way to do it. Can I help you with anything else today?
Dean: nope. this was the most hope I’ve had all day. Thank you!
Samantha: Not a problem! It was my pleasure!
Samantha: Thank you for shopping with The Home Depot. Please take a moment to complete a brief survey after clicking on the “End Chat” button. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at 1-800-430-3376. Have a great day!
info: Your chat transcript will be sent to <redacted> at the end of your chat.


5:15 comes around and I make that phone call. It’s a menu system. Crap! I choose the options that make sense for what I’m doing and get a rep. I ask to speak to <Dad>. She has no idea who he is but looks for him. She doesn’t find him and asks if she can help. I tell her that he’s expecting my call, and has the “unique” ability to speak fluent Puerto Rican and English. She cant do that, but transfers me to the Spanish language line. It rings for 5 minutes.

I hang up and dial again. This time I choose a less specific option and get hold of a Rep who is actually able to IM <Dad> but <Dad> is offline and did so after he was IM’d that I was ready to talk to him. Not good. This rep said he could then transfer me to the Spanish language people. I told him I’d done that route and all it did was ring. He said he’d hang on till I was actually connected. It Rang, then went into Spanish language hold for several minutes till someone picked up and spoke a long greeting in Spanish. I reply in Spanish my usual line, and she says asks in broken English if I understand Spanish, and I said no. She then said she was going to transfer me to the English support. I almost hung up then, but instead I asked if <Dad> was available. She’d never heard of him since he wasn’t in her call center. I asked if she could look him up and she replied that unless I could give her more information she wouldn’t be able to help me, in a tone that really set me off. I hung up on her as I was swearing out loud.

I dialed one more time hoping I might get the same call center again and <Dad> would be available. Got a rep who didn’t know <Dad> and he tried to explain that there are multiple call centers and I’m trying to tell him that I know that and I just want him to send <Dad>an IM. This made him stumble a little as he tried to do just that with no success because he wasn’t in the same call center. I explained to him what I wanted to do, he wanted to transfer me to spanish support. I hung up.

I went to HD’s contact us page and sent this:

I want to buy this for my condo in PR:
Model # GDT550HSDSS
I Live in New Jersey. I know it takes around 4 weeks. I can not go to
Carolina #6402 to order it. I’ve tried calling Carolina #6402 but the language barrier is too great. I need to have it delivered during my visit a month from now and I’m getting very frustrated by your policy of not being able to buy things online in PR.
I chatted with a rep today who arranged for me to call her Dad, <Dad> , a CS rep who speaks fluent Puerto Rican. But no one can find him. I got transferred instead  to the spanish line where they
DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH, so they transferred me back to english support who couldn’t find <Dad>.

I want to give you money. I want to buy a dishwasher. Why is this so
freaking difficult.

An hour later I got a phone call from an HD rep who said that the store manager would call me tomorrow in English and make sure my order was placed and that she would follow up on Saturday, her day off, to make sure he had helped me get the dishwasher.

Waited all day Saturday and no call. Just before 5, the HD rep called and asked if he’d called. I said no. We discussed if the order even had to come from that store, as one closer to San Juan might have more luck with English. She was going to give that a try. 20 minutes later I got a call from the Carolina store from a woman whos’ english was pretty good and the accent wasn’t unbearable. She said that they didn’t have that specific model on the island but on Monday she would look deeper for it and if other similar models might be available. We could also maybe special order that model. We arranged for her to call me Monday around 12-1PM.

In thinking about this last conversation my head wants to explode. We were told at HD that ALL dishwashers were special orders. Why is she implying that’s not true? Anyway, waiting for my call.

I got my call earlier than expected. I was given 3 options. A slightly cheaper model and a way more expensive model that were already available on the island, or special order the exact model I wanted. Turns out it’s 4-6 weeks on the delivery and it’s not because HD doesn’t know when it’ll arrive, it’s when Customs gets around to releasing it which can be anywhere from 2-21 days. She even offered to hold it in the store for months if it didn’t make it while we were there. She gave me lots of contact details and an email address. Finally no more language/phone barriers. I sent a test email to make sure I got the email address correct and actually got a follow up email from them. Well done!

After speaking with Robert and discussing how we use the dishwasher we have now (delayed start to run in the middle of the night) the slightly noisier, cheaper model will do. We’ll never hear it running anyway since we’ll be asleep. Plus, we know it’ll be delivered on time.  So I’ve just sent the email to place the order.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my adventures in shopping for a dishwasher for Puerto Rico. I’m going to post this now and if there’s any more drama I’ll create a new post.

P.S. This is the model we’re going with.
Model # GDT530PSDSS
way too much drama for a cheap dishwasher.

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