Going by a Tradition of Customer Service
Remember the times you’ve waited with such anticipation to get something you’ve always dreamed of, only to realize that its magnificence was only in your head? And then you beat yourself up because it was a lot of hard earned money that could have gone elsewhere, something more important? I imagine this happens to people sometimes. It’s the only way I can forgive myself for my stupidity. You know how people blindly go by brands? Chances are, the reputation was earned a long time ago, and the brand floats on that comfort, rather than having studiously worked towards maintaining its reputation. I do so admire a brand that puts its money where its mouth is – like BMW! Only, I can’t afford one. But good old Honda or Skoda is enough. They’re good for their word, too!
I live in a condo block in Yaletown, Vancouver. I’m terribly house proud. I keep a great looking home for a single person – I love that my sofas are angled right and equidistant from each other, with the foot stools for my lounger positioned at just the correct point, plants all from the same family, upholstery, though of different textures, all with a white base, my bathroom towels complementing the foot mats and my bedspreads with every change, the magazines fanned out just right…. I could go on forever! The floors gleaming, windows sparkling, not a speck of dust or cobweb anywhere! It’s a passion with me. I hate it when someone splashes water on my kitchen counter, or water rings stain my table tops, or a dish towel is carelessly tossed to one side. There’s a place for everything, for Pete’s sake! I like getting nice things for the house, once in a while, a change of scene. After the grueling winter of 2014, I decided I wanted to get rid of my fussy drapes that tended to collect a lot of lint, as I liked to keep my French doors open. The kitchen and bathroom have inoperable windows, but, as the condo is equipped with an HRV system, it doesn’t bother me much, but I do know that glass is a source of heat gain and heat loss, and boy did I have to turn up the heating this past winter, even at night with three quilts over me!
Opting for Cellular Shades in Canada
My research showed that among modern window coverings, cellular shades offer the best insulative values for both winter and summer. Also, on a quiet winter evening, sounds can be explosive, even with all the doors and windows closed tight, and cellular shades are said to provide a significant barrier against ambient sounds, over and above which they are reputed to have an anti-static finish that repels dust. This is a critical factor for me. And they look neat and refined! There seem no negatives to this product.
I first had my windows assessed for air leakage, and due to the extreme winter, contractions had left some amount of seepage, which I then had stripped and caulked. I then had the cellular shades that trapped insulating layers of air between the glass and the room, fitted on all the French doors, altogether 12 panels – I had attractive wooden molding around the doors that could uplift my window decor, so I had them fitted into the recesses of the door frames. I ordered cellular shades from a mighty brand that offered a limited lifetime guarantee. They seemed pricey, but they were the best on the market, so I couldn’t possibly do wrong, right? Wrong!
I ordered a lovely shade of white, double celled for extra insulation, and ordered side rails even for the shades that weren’t blackout (blackout shades come with side rails; it is an intrinsic feature of blackout cellular shades), as I wanted no seepage of air and light around the edges of the shades. Light fabrics that slowed a view of the outside even when fully deployed – I had a great view of the city – for the living room. And blackout shades for my bedroom doors – I’m an IT geek that works all hours, and I love sleeping late into the day sometimes. Earlier, I’d had extra lining fitted to my drapes. Now, I had clean lines and fabulous looks with the cellular shades, opening out the rooms in a way I hadn’t previously imagined. I’d opted for corded shades as I thought I would ultimately pay a lesser price for so many panels.
Just the other day, one of the living room shade panels started acting up, one end catching as I lowered it. As the shades were still under warranty, the panel was replaced. It’s only been six months, but the cords of a few of the other shade panels started to snap. This time, the dealers sent out a cord replacement kit, as now, the warranty is up. But the new cord guides were made of plastic, and as the shades were long, the weight of the shades caused the cords to saw through the cord guides, causing the shades to stick, and these cords, too, eventually broke. No more replacements were possible, according to the stipulations of the brand. I was so mad that I took the shades back to the dealer and left them there, telling them to do what they wanted with the shades. The limited lifetime guarantee was indeed LIMITED!
What I learned from this experience is that I should never go by a brand’s reputation. There are professional websites that deal with all sorts of consumer issues, and as I went through them, I was flabbergasted to see the numerous complaints about this reputed brand. And I thought, “I’m one of those suckers who got parted from my hard earned cash!”
Going by Consumer Feedback
As I surfed the net, I came across equally reputed brands, almost as old as the previous in the industry, and as I read on, I was so impressed by a subsidiary of the Spring Window Fashions group, Graber Blinds, who swear by unswerving quality standards to serve the needs of its customers. And there wasn’t a single poor bit of feedback anywhere that I could find. And guess what, the cost of similar shades was a third of what I had paid.
I was so impressed with the thermal and sound insulating qualities of the cellular shades, so I ordered from Graber’s CrystalPleat range of double cellular shades, made of a stunning luxurious mix of woven polyester, wood pulp and Spunlace, the pleats of the shades sharply creased for neat elegance – just what I was looking for! Even more so, as I opted for the virtual cord enabled automated shades with temperature sensors that I have programmed to function according to my personal requirements. Even with motorization, I didn’t pay as much as I did for the previous! And I would be incurring lowered power bills. I was also assured of prompt service by the online Canadian dealer who spoke for Graber, assuring me of replacement of any shade that showed up any manufacturing defect. Well, being a skeptic, I can only say time will tell, but I have a good feeling about this purchase, and I feel reassured by the calm and professional, yet caring service I received from Zebrablinds.ca on behalf of Graber.