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What a difference a company makes! March 29, 2011

Posted by Judy in Musings.
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Three years ago we had the moving experience from the deep, thanks to Reebie Moving and Storage.  We had moved ourselves MANY, MANY in the past, without any major damage or problems.  This move was being paid for by DH’s company, and they chose Reebie.  Wow, do I wish things would have been different.  It was awful!  First off, the packers were a joke!  Having not had professionals move us in the past, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t about to be the person trying to tell them how to do their job.  As it turns out, that’s exactly what I should have done.  While they were there, I got a little bit of a bad vibe from them, but still didn’t think too much of it.  I DID have to ask them to individually wrap the glass Christmas ornaments.  (They tried to tell me that they would be fine in their ornament box, an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come.)  We didn’t realize the extent of the stupidity and awfulness until we arrived at our new place and started unpacking.  It seriously looked like many of the boxes had been packed using the “open-a-box-sweep-contents-of-the-drawer/counter/shelf-into-box” method.  I felt so offended that my belongings weren’t treated with even a modicum of respect.  Imagine my disgust at discovering that a trash can had been packed in the same box as the pots and pans!  Ewww!  And how about the original artwork that was packed (unwrapped) in a 100lb dish barrel?  (A dish barrel is a sturdy, double walled box that is used to pack heavy breakables from the kitchen.)  Clearly, that didn’t make it unscathed.  So yes, the packing was abysmal.

If we thought the packing was bad, the loading/unloading was even WORSE!  The driver was not at all a kind human being.  Prickly is an apt description of him.  The people helping him load seemed to be involved in their own little “let’s see how fast we can do this” race.  When we got to the other end, the “prickly” comes in and says “We have a labor issue, the people I hired to help unload just left.”  As it turned out, “old prickly” was, well, prickly.  The guys got pissed and so they left.  That meant that there was only this 50-something guy left to unload our stuff, all by himself.  (His wife was there, but she was really in charge of paperwork and administrative stuff.)  “Prickly” did end up getting another guy to come help.  That little man was STRONG!

So 10 hours later, out stuff  was finally unloaded.  But that’s not all, during the process, they’d managed to track red mud all over the new carpet.  (Yes, it DID rain all day, but they are professionals, they should’ve had a way to deal with that.)  Mud and other marks were on the ceiling.  Someone managed to leave a big, muddy footprint on a mattress.  “The wife” was clearly not with it because she was using furniture cleaner to clean the mess on the carpet, and she kept asking us if we had more paper towels.  “Uh, lady, get your own paper towels!”  During the unloading, I’d also noticed that some of our larger furniture items were damaged.  “The wife” tried to tell me that the damage was already there.  Happily, she had taken inventory of the damage before loading, so I was able to prove that they had messed things up.  She also tried to leave even though several of the boxes were unaccounted for.  “Well, I’m sure they are here, there’s nothing left in the truck.”  Yeah, well, given how things had gone, that just wasn’t good enough for me.  We evenutally found them, they had been double labeled.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy is the only way to describe the service we received from Reebie.  They kept saying, “we want to get all 5’s in the customer service survey.”  Funny thing, after DH’s company got in touch with them about the horrid move, we never got the survey phone call.  I guess they knew they’d flunk!

As we unpacked more of our things, we discovered more and more damage.  The most shocking was the damage done to the garage shelves.  They WERE very sturdy, able to hold 200lbs each shelf and 750lb total.  Somehow, all three of the shelves we had were damaged, to the point of being useless for anything heavy.  The supports were all bent, shelves were bent, ridiculous, really.

Anyway, enough about Reebie.  As we were preparing for the current move, we were going to do it ourselves, given that between DH and I, we’d moved our things at least 20 times in our lives and had only broken or damaged a handful of items.  Well, we have alot of stuff, so we cautiously contemplated hiring movers.  (I know, playing with fire.)  We had two companies come to give estimates, and DH regaled them with tales of horror.  They were both shocked and horrified when they saw the garage shelves.  One guy actually said, “Wow!  Sounds like you had the worse possible move experience!”  How lovely for us, right?  Well, we finally chose Hampden Moving. All I can say is, what a HUGE difference a company makes.  From beginning to end, this experience was LEAGUES better!  The packers, loaders and unloaders were all the same people, who had been working together as a team for 40 years.  After giving them my “we had a terrible experience so you’ll excuse me if I hover” speech, they got to work.  They used WAAAYYYY more packing paper and were so much more thorough.  They were very patient with the kiddies, answering their questions as to why they did things a certain way, and letting them crumple up packing paper into the bottom of boxes.

On move day, it DID take them about 10 hours to load, but like I’ve said before, we have STUFF.  And, there were only two guys since their other team member was sick that day.  In any case, they managed to load everything up with only a teeny bit of space left over.  On the other end, the unloading took about 4-5 hours.  These guys had clearly been setting up furniture for a long time.  I would tell them, “okay, the bookcase, piano and short bookcase are going to go on this wall.”  I’d come back a while later and those things were set up, nicely spaced, with car taken to not place them over or in front of air vents.  Definitely not something that would have happened with the Reebie folks.

I’m guessing we’ll probably go with professional movers in the future, although I can’t imagine having a better experience than the most recent.  But, now we are armed with info, know what to expect, and know how to make sure we have a good experience!

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