I got a great idea a few weeks ago. I will buy the love of my life a new mattress. For Christmas.
So it is that I walk into a Casper store like a partner. I plunk down almost $3,500 for a top of the line King-sized beauty. Yes, I overpay, but love, right? All I ask is that it be delivered while she is away with family. Oh, and take the old mattress away.
Casper began a decade ago as an online store. They sponsored podcasts and promised to mail air foam mattresses that would expand when opened, as if by magic. They do that, taking in air and getting heavier as they do it.
When business slowed, Casper decided an in-store strategy would juice sales. They just failed to consider what that meant.
It’s more than rent and a couple of order-takers in front of a display. It’s also people who will support the sale.
Casper Ghosts Customer Service
Casper decided to offload this key service onto contractors, and charge people extra for it.
There are people who deliver big things like mattresses, and people who haul junk away. Turns out, these are not the same people.
Trouble begins with a phone call. My mattress can be delivered a week early. Sure enough, a hand truck brings a huge box into my living room. I call Casper. This is great, when are you going to take the old mattress away and put this new one on my bed frame?
Oh, no. There must be a mistake. A different vendor does that. We will e-mail you a UPS code and get that mattress from you.
Why can’t you just leave it and bring some people to put it on the bed? It must be coordinated.
I put the sticker on the mattress and call the number provided. It’s a thrift store. They appreciate the donation. Casper threw away my new $3,500 mattress because their systems couldn’t handle a return.
The mattress will come a week from Monday, they say. Saturday comes. Another phone call. Can we deliver your mattress now? Uh, OK, but what about the set-up? We don’t do that. Uh-uh, won’t get fooled again.
They come anyway. I’m in the middle of stuff. My old neighbors are visiting. They will be replacing their roof on Monday, they say. Meanwhile, a Kia sits in my driveway, with two guys who insist the mattress in the trunk needs to go into my house.
I call the store. “There must be some mistake.” Fix it, I say .
The Kia drives away.
The Big Day
Come Monday. The big day. I know things now. The people who deliver and those who set up mattresses are different people. I strip the old mattress and wait. I listen to the sounds of progress next door. All day long I’m getting texts, from the delivery company, from the haul away company. Love our service, take our survey, how are we doing? You’re not, I think.
The new mattress arrives at 11. This is the third set of delivery guys, but it’s same as before, a small car with a box in the back. They set it in the living room. I wait.
The service, called a haul away (which should set off my spidey senses) is scheduled for a “window” between 8 am and 8 pm. That’s a big window, an entire glass house. I’m trapped until they get here.
At 3, one of my kids calls. He needs a ride home. I would love to. But, I say, the mattress.
At 4 I recall scheduling a meeting months ago, three miles from my home. I call the guy I’m supposed to meet, I apologize profusely. He says he’ll come over to my place.
Meanwhile, there’s a truck towing a trailer, blocking my driveway. The haul away guys are here. Come in, I say, and take away the old mattress. They do so. Please set up my new mattress, I say.
We don’t do that, they say. We just haul things. OK, then. At least put the boxed mattress on the box springs, I don’t have time to argue. The gentleman I’m meeting with, the first true contact with my alma mater in 45 years, has just pulled up. The haul away guys go out. We drive off, have our meeting in the car. (The alumni guy will have a tale to tell.)
I’m left with a huge box where my bed should be. It takes an hour to open it with scissors, to watch it expand, and to flip it over because I opened it wrong side up.
Casper could have avoided this by just hiring two guys and a truck who would deliver mattresses from storage, set them up, and take away the old mattresses. Give them nice uniforms and train them in customer service.
Instead, they lost at least one customer, and a lot of credibility.
I get a call as I am writing this. “When can we deliver your new Casper mattress?” I’m asked. You can’t make this stuff up.