Archive for the 'Customer Service' Category


The Holiday Pickins at Sullivan Hardware

Wildflower Home
(Dave, doing his best “discrminating shopper.”)

A few years back Sullivan Hardware, an old Indy standard, opened a store at Keystone and 71st. Their new place features Wildflower Home, a stand alone cottage which carries their home dec stuff and product that Dave and Ken really like. I’ve been pretty ambiguous about the place. They have a few nice things, sort of pricey. I would normally put it into the “lots of potential” category, but this time around I liked more of what I saw.

I still think I may have to make this wreath work somewhere in our house. Kitchen maybe?

Wildflower Home Wreath

And for some reason I love this metal deer head. Dave suggested it might look good on our back porch. I think it could look equally great in an all white modern space or a cabin. How about a kid’s treehouse?

Metal Deer Head

There’s typically plenty of real greenery around here, but actual berries can be hard to find. These Winterberry branches were really nice.


And I loved the painted branches, too. Would be worth the five or so bucks not to have to choke on the fumes.

Painted Branches

This train is the kind of thing kids will remember when they are older.Train Station

The only sour note was when it was my turn to check out at the hardware store. A random couple from Brownsburg (for some reason they announced their origins when they waltzed through the door) approached my guy and said they wanted their Christmas tree. And instead of calling someone or smiling and saying, “you’re welcome to get in line” or “I’ll be with you in a moment” he just walked away to help them, leaving me standing there. After watching him futz around with them for a few minutes and waiting longer than I should have, I finally put my stuff down and left. Dave told me I should have said something, but sometimes (admittedly, not often) I just don’t feel up to arguing.So if you aren’t in a hurry and need some greenery (or red-ery), a free bag of popcorn, or a few interesting holiday things, you may want to stop into Sullivan.


Holiday Hoopla on Mass Ave

John and I stayed in our ‘hood Friday night and strolled through Holiday Hoopla on our favorite street in Indy– Massachusetts Avenue.

Fire Pit at Holiday Hoopla

With fire pits set up along the street, no one had to worry about staying warm. I’ve never seen fire this close to art before. All those years in art museums had me feeling a little nervous about it, but I’m sure the sculpture was perfectly safe.

We’re really happy with the way upper Mass Ave is shaping up.

Patrick Wasson

We got to pop in for the opening of our friend Patrick’s winter show, which is really nice. Patrick was an intern at the IMA when I was there, and I enjoy following his career.

Patrick and Kirs

Here he is with Kris, his sweet partner and manager of our favorite store on Mass Ave – Home in the City (at Silver in the City). Totally fun, cool, and beautiful home goods and jewelry. If I ever need any kind of gift, I stop there first. It’s a special place to John and me because we got our wedding rings there.

Best Chocolate In Town

Just a few doors down we stopped in to visit with Elizabeth, owner of The Best Chocolate in Town (or BCT as we call it).

Seriously, how cute is she?Best Chocolate in Town

And her shop’s name ain’t no lie. John got a Champagne and a Lemon Chiffon truffle. I got one of the awesome chocolaty, pepperminty, crunchy, crackly cookie thingies she’s showing here. It was crazy tasty. 

We popped down to Chatham Tap Pub for dinner (great drinks, meh fish and chips, downright decent seafood bisque) and got caroled while we ate. Yummm…tuba.

Chatham Tap Pub

We’re going to tap the Tap again some Sunday night, the only night they serve Yorkshire pudding (yum).On the way back to our car we stopped in at Jill Ditmire’s Mass Avenue Wine Shoppe for a bottle of organic port I’d spotted earlier.

Mass Ave Wine Shoppe

The selection at Jill’s place is great. Boxed dinners are coming soon, and they sound awesome! John and I were surprised, however, to see that they made a point of advertising that they serve Atkins Cheesecake. Jeanne Atkins, owner of Atkins Elegant Desserts went on record that she would prefer to see her comatose gay son never recover than return to life with his partner of 25 years.

Obviously, Atkins is anathema to most Indy gay folks. I let the very nice woman who waited on us know that they may want to reconsider carrying her products. She seemed surprised to hear that their cheesecake was controversial. As much of a local celebrity as Jill is, I would be surprised if she missed the media coverage of the Atkins story, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt for now. 

Art, fire pits, carolers, good food, friendly faces, ice sculptures, and an awesome honey to see it all with! The bleak midwinter isn’t so bleak after all.


The Letter I Didn’t Send to Calico Corners

Probably should have. I changed the actual names of people in the letter to Helpful and Buzzkill.

I came into the store this morning with a friend who was helping me select fabric for two chairs. As we shopped I noticed a sofa that I liked by the entrance. Helpful, who was helping us with fabric selection, also gave me information about the sofa. I mentioned that I might like to buy it if my partner, John who was not with us at the time, also approved. Helpful told me to call her if I needed her to put a hold on it.

After I described the sofa to John he said he wanted to see it. So I called Helpful and asked her to put it on hold. She said she would, so we drove back to the store from downtown Indianapolis where we live.

Not long after we arrived and sat on the sofa to try it, a woman whom I recognized from the sign next to the store entrance as Buzzkill, the in-store designer, approached us.

With something of a sneer Buzzkill said, “That sofa is sold.” I thought she might be referring to the hold that was placed on it and explained that I was actually the person Helpful was holding it for and pointed to the tag pinned to the sofa that had my name and contact information on it. Buzzkill said something to the effect that her customer had held it at noon. Then she asked me when I had asked Helpful to hold it. I told her that when I called Helpful at about 2:00 she said it was still available. I also mentioned that if it were not available when I called I would have appreciated knowing because that information would have saved me another 25-minute drive to the store that day. There was no hold tag on the sofa other than mine.

Annoyed, I went to look for Helpful to let her know that there was a problem, something Buzzkill should have done first rather than arguing with me over when the hold was placed. Helpful was unaware of any other hold and said so, at which point, Buzzkill said she was holding it for her daughter and that she could let me know Monday whether or not it was still available. Disappointed and unbelievably angry, John and I left.

Later, I called Helpful again to say that I was not happy with the way Buzzkill had treated us and that we were interested in the sofa but only if we could purchase it today. Helpful called back to say that she had just been told holds were not allowed on sale items after all and that I could purchase the sofa today if I wanted. I gave her my credit card information and let her know we would pick it up shortly, which we did. Helpful was, as she always is, friendly and accommodating. A third associate was also helpful and even kind enough to deliver the sofa to our home, which we very much appreciated.

Miscommunications understandably happen, but I must say, Buzzkill seemed to go out of her way to make my partner and I feel like trespassers in your store. I will not speculate on the reason for her behavior, but her tone was accusatory and condescending until I approached Helpful to discuss the matter. Even then, I found it insulting to be told by Buzzkill that a mind-noted hold for her family member was priortized over a customer hold that was actually recorded and tagged.

By the time the purchase was complete I felt like an inconvenience rather than a paying customer.

I appreciate the quality of your product and have been very satisfied with past purchases. As I mentioned, other members of your staff are very helpful. Today’s transaction, however, has me feeling ambivalent about a future trip to your store.

Believe it or not, the sofa is worth the mess we went through to get it. (Picture to come.)