Do research which will give you better results
Have you had that sinking feeling that tells you that you’ve been had? You went to the store for groceries only to realize on your arrival home that you’re short of the pack of sugar you paid for! Or the favorite cookies you depend on when reading a book! And you’re sure you bought three pairs of leggings at the sale but you have only two when you get home! And you’re wondering, “Maybe I didn’t pay for it”, but when you go through the bill, you know that’s BS, in the rush, the sales girl or boy must’ve slyly put it away! And what if it were one of those shops run by a friend or a family member?! The sinking feeling becomes a stone at the bottom of your stomach, right?
But in the instances cited above, we’re just talking about a few dollars here and there. It really hurts when we get duped on bigger things. Recently, a friend of mine moved into a handsome condo in Hyde Park, Windy City – she and her husband both worked at the University of Chicago, so it was the ideal neighborhood. I live in the loop, so it wasn’t a long commute for weekend get-togethers. The couple wasn’t looking to make a big splash, as home was in Indiana. They wanted to live in a decent area, so this condo (for which they paid $154,500), was quite the ideal pad from which the University was a walking distance. They’re really excited at being here, just waiting to soak in the culture – the art galleries, the music shows, the famed summer Ribfest of Roscoe Village, and the awesome cookouts!
A sunny condo, with ochre walls, white trimmings and window frames, and mahogany flooring, there really wasn’t much to redo, except the 70’s looking vinyl kitchen flooring in blue and yellow, the only sore thumb! And, of course, they had to cover the excellent wide bay windows that did let in too much light – I had to wear my shades in there! So, being the DIY folks they are (they claim its’ a necessity as they have limited budgets with their University salaries!) they systematically ripped out the kitchen flooring and had it re-laid with floorboards stained to a dark color to match the rest of the flooring.
But not before they’d ordered the dark 2⅟2 inch Norman Performance faux wood blinds that they’d decided upon, from a small time window dressing dealer (a family friend owns it). In a dark color called Old Teak, they thought it would look magnificent as it matched the flooring to a T. For the bedroom and the study, they decided on all the same features except that the blinds would be enabled with the additional SmartPrivacy feature that does away with the regular route holes, cutting down on the ambient light that comes through. And for better privacy, duh! They enthusiastically took measurements as recommended – the average from three vertical and horizontal points and two diagonal measurements, all from the insides of the window frames as they wanted them mounted inside. They made no deductions to the measurements as they trusted that the dealers would take care of it for them. They opted for the regular corded version with cord cleats for all, and as the windows were larger than the standard, they planned to suspend two blinds on a common headrail, covered with a 3⅟4 inch valance.
Having awaited the arrival of the blinds with bated breath, they tore open the packages and went about installing them as per the instructions provided by the manufacturer, and a video guide they’d found. Armed with power drills, screwdrivers, a measuring tape and a level, they went through the whole apartment in no time at all.
Beware of dealer shortcuts.
Testing the light control the next morning, turning the vanes to every position possible to figure out the best option for daytime, they noticed that too much light came through the sides of the blinds in when the slats were closed shut. They measured the blinds to see if they had given the wrong measurements to their friend. But no, checking back with the original measurements they found that the dealer had short changed them – charged for the measurements given but delivered fractionally smaller widths (something like ⅝ inch on either side of each blind). When they checked back with the dealer, they were told it was part of the standard deductions. Something just wasn’t right, so when they called Norman they were told to check the packing list for the measurements and found out the local custom blind store had duped them – apparently, this is a common trick they use to pocket the difference this small deduction would make but at what cost to the customer! They felt so helplessly suckered! They felt their hands were tied in terms of confronting the dealer as the guy was a family friend, and it would wreak all sorts of havoc between their families. But one thing was sure – they wouldn’t be making any recommendations for him!
So, this is a rule of thumb to follow for those future customers:
Suppose your window measures 48 inch by 48 inch the same 2 inch faux wood blinds would cost you $96.96. But careful now, if your window measures 48⅛ inch by 48⅛ inch your price goes up to $105.60. This minuscule difference costs $8.65! So the dealer charges you for the extra fraction but delivers the conveniently rounded off measurements in order to make a quick buck!
Be aware that the pricing follows a grid that says that for a width of up to 48 inch by 48 inch the cost would be $96 and change. Even an eighth of an inch would raise the cost to the next slot in the grid, which is $105 and change, and up to 54 inch by 54 inch there’s no difference in cost till the next slot (60 inch) in the grid. And so it goes. And if the difference is minuscule and you could do with the saving, you could opt for the smallest deduction possible, so you are not catapulted into the next slot in the grid. This way, the custom window coverings stores dealer doesn’t get to benefit off you! When you buy online, the measurements are recorded and included in the packing list. Once you receive the shipment, cross-check the measurements on the acknowledgment order with those on the packing list. To be doubly sure, whip out your measuring tape and measure your Windows again to verify that the measurements all match!
In rare instances, manufacturers also go wrong, so if you do ever receive a shipment where the size of the window covering seems a little under or over-sized, please report it to ZebraBlinds customer service; the window coverings will be replaced completely free of cost.