One reason why competition is good

Two days before Thanksgiving my washer broke. I went to Lowe’s to purchase another one.

It was to be delivered the day after Thanksgiving.

Lowe’s called us that day to let us know they didn’t have it in stock and wasn’t sure when they would get it.

On Monday, I followed up to see if they knew when it would be delivered. They still couldn’t give me a firm date.

I called another place. They had it in stock and could deliver on Wednesday. After it was delivered I went to Lowe’s to get a refund.

I clicked the link on my email receipt from Lowe’s to let them know about their service break. “Sorry, it has been more than 7 days since your purchase so this survey is no longer active.”

I had to laugh.

A few days after receiving the washer from the other place, I received a follow-up call from them to see how everything went.

I never heard from Lowe’s.

The Lowe’s service break was cascading errors that were four deep. Had any of those been caught and corrected on the spot, the experience could have been saved.

It’s with experiences like this that I’m thankful for competition.

It’s easy to get lured into the efficiency argument of a single provider for anything — just think how much overhead and redundancy that saves.

But, it also means you are at the mercy of that single provider when things don’t go well and you can’t just pick up the phone or visiting a competitor’s website to solve it, like I did.

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