My parents are senior citizens. A fact I don't like facing, but a fact, never-the-less. They worked hard their entire lives so they could go and do fun things during their retirement. In hopes of this, they bought a camper a few years ago. A really nice one, at that. They use it for trips, like the one we took to the Arkansas Diamond Mines together but they also use it to come down here to visit me, their granddaughter and now their great grandson. The camp site where they stay is close to my house. The camper affords them the luxury of being able to have their privacy and a little bit of peace from the chaos that sometimes is my home. It also gets used as a little guest house for when we have large family gatherings at their farm.
During one of our trips together, we noticed some warranty items which were beginning to fail. Once home, they took it to their local Camping World in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where it was originally purchased. A few weeks went by, my mom decided to call to check on the status. She was told they were waiting on the warranty department to approve the repairs. She called the warranty department, which told her they'd approved the repairs just a few days after it'd been dropped off. A week after that, it was waiting for the parts. A week after that, it was that the parts were in and they were fixing it "as we speak".
I won't go into the entire three month debacle of back and forth, but suffice it to say, as of last Thursday, no one (including corporate) could even give a status update on the camper or even if it was still located at the Fayetteville lot. At this point, I'd have been happy for a photo of one of the service guys standing by the camper with a daily newspaper to prove it was even still on the premises. Man, I wish I'd had suggested that earlier.... >_>
So here we have a unit that my parents are paying $360 per month on, which is basically being held hostage and no one can tell us why. When my mom reached the end of her rope in dealing with the Fayetteville location, I got involved. I figured maybe contacting the corporate office would help shed some light on this issue because let's face it... Who wants to pay $400 a month for something they can't use and no one will let you know what the hold-up is in repairing? Just seemed fishy to me. Never mind that the camper was awful new to be having these issues to begin with, but shoddy craftsmanship is another matter entirely.
So, I twittered Camping World corporate and I received an immediate response to which I was pretty impressed because you know, the Fayetteville location was no longer taking calls from my parents (thanks for nothing, Steve....). I spoke with a lovely guy at corporate named Mark, who at the time, agreed with me that (at the two month mark by this time) it was concerning to still not have the camper and more so, no communication regarding its status. He assured me he'd contact my parents first thing as well as get to the bottom of whatever was going on. Mark gave us his direct number and said we could call him anytime. 24 hours passed, he didn't contact my parents, so my mom contacted him instead, using the number he supplied. Someone else picked up and said Mark was not in. The next day he did call her back saying he'd had car troubles and hadn't been into the office the previous day when he was originally going to call her. My mom and Mark discussed at length the issues with the Fayetteville location and Mark genuinely appeared to want to help.
My mom was impressed with him as well which was pretty surprising because she isn't easily taken with anyone. Mark assured her and my father that the camper was indeed in repairs and should be ready within a matter of days. So another weeks goes by. This puts us into December. Mind you, they've had the camper now since the first week of October. Mark stops communicating suddenly as well as returning my parents phone calls. So I twitter Camping World again and get a response from someone named Ella, saying she was looking into the matter. No word ever comes back, so I twitter again and get a different person who tells me the same thing. My parents get a call that day from the service department of the Fayetteville location, telling them the parts were being delivered (after they'd already said the parts were delivered weeks ago) and they were making it a priority to get the repairs done.
That was three weeks ago. When my mom asked if they could just come pick the camper up, there was a lot of stuttering and stumbling before excuses were made and a promise of a "Let me call you back on that", was made. No call back happened. (I need a job with this company because apparently an unwillingness to do one's job is what it takes to succeed. I could work them all under the table...)
So I took to twitter again and launched a public campaign against Camping World, tagging not only the corporate office but also it's CEO, Marcus Lemonis, whose previous tweets to those complaining about this company was to tell said people that he would speak with them privately to resolve the issues. I guess I'm too much of a peon to warrant Mr. Lemonis's attention and that's OK. In my tweets, I asked for transparency and not to have any more private messages that included the platitudes of "we're looking into this matter," etc.... Because the time for platitudes had long passed. (I'm nice until I'm not)
Camping World blocked me. Why? Because I refused to be placated with the pats on the head they were giving my parents and I? Because I demanded finally after three months and four days to know what was going on with a camper that was NOT their property but located ON their property? Or because I demanded transparency? I demanded public answers since private correspondance hadn't yielded any? Because they're crybabies and couldn't handle a little public criticism? I don't know why. The reason doesn't matter, I guess, but I do think corporate was aware that something less than stellar was happening at the other location and rather than be honest about it, decided to try and shut me up by blocking me. Jokes on them... my parents have tried to shut me up for years. They'll tell you what an impossible task it is.
But, I don't mind being blocked (because I'm not a crybaby) from tagging them on Twitter because social media is as vast as the universe and between all the consumer complaint sites, facebook, blog sites.... the list goes on... Twitter is just a drop in the bucket. While they might be able to block me from tagging them in my tweets, they can't stop me from hashtagging them. #idowhatiwant #paymyinternetbill #thenwecantalk
On day 95 of what I dubbed The Great Camper Kidnapping Caper of 2017, after some thought, I decided to email the local sheriff's department regarding this matter because I'd begun to suspect (yes, suspect) that perhaps someone at the Fayetteville location made an error after the camper was repaired and maybe it had been accidentally sold (shit happens and things get moved to the wrong side of the lot), or even perchance it was stolen or vandalized while on their lot (because this also happens) and corporate was stalling in an attempt to give the local place time to either recover the camper or repair any damage it sustained. It wouldn't have been Camping World's fault if someone had done damage to that camper while it sat on their lot, that's what insurance is for. If it'd been accidently sold, that would have been human error too and no one is perfect, just admit the mistake and move on. Any time you've got human hands involved, errors happen.
But I think the important thing to note here is, to mega corporations like Camping World, consumers like my parents are disposable, insignificant and apparently not entitled to explanations. Camping World is more concerned with covering up mistakes than owning them. A smaller business that depends on its good name for its continued success might have (I hope) treated a senior couple with a little more care and honesty. I think Camping World fails to realize honesty goes a long way with most people. Admitting your mistakes does, also. My parents made mistakes, too. The most recent being buying a camper from such a dishonest company who fails completely at consumer satisfaction.
I'm sure Camping World is aware of the horribly awful reviews of their company that have been posted nationwide. I'm sure good ol' Marcus is aware of the meme circulating Facebook regarding his wish that Trump supporters not shop in his stores. I guess negative publicity is still publicity when you're as big as he and his brand are, but to him I say this... I don't care about political views. Not yours, not the people who shop in your stores, and certainly not the people who work there. I do, however care about the way you conduct your business. When 98 percent of the comments on a political post about you aren't about you at all, but rather Camping World's inability to produce a quality product at a reasonable price and provide polite, informative, educated employees to serve its customer base, along with a repair staff who seem to be rather inept and incapable of doing the tasks to which they're paid to do, in a timely manner, maybe (I'm just putting this out here) it's time for restructuring. Starting at the top with your lack of leadership. After all, leaders should lead by example. It worries me what example you've set for your employees for them to be so cavalier in their treatment of others.
You literally hold the hopes and dreams of a lot of senior citizens (not to mention other people that have invested their family vacations in your product) who have been looking forward to their "golden years" and the days when they can jump in their campers or RV's to go explore a nation they spent their youth building. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as well as to have every single employee in that company treat them as if they were dealing with their very own parents or grandparents. Instead, you allow them to be taken advantage of. You allow them to be lied to. Given the run around and left ever-questioning what's being done with property some of them have spent their lives saving to buy. That makes you a shitty human being, Marcus. It also makes Camping World, which is a reflection of the person leading it and vice versa- a shitty corporation.
Marcus posted a Tweet yesterday, criticizing Sears for its loss of 100 more stores. He says, "
Of course they are. Poor leadership destroyed a great brand and solid employees. Kill morale, assort bad product and extract every last dime and there you have it. “It’s a real estate play” yeah we see that."
Well, Marky Mark, maybe you should step back and take a look at your own business practices because that's where you and your Funky bunch are heading, too.
Incidentally, a miracle occurred a mere four or five hours after contacting Cumberland County Sheriff's Department with my questions, which included whether or not there had been any reported incidents of theft or destruction of property from that business.... My mom received a phone call from Camping World informing her the camper had been repaired and was available for pick-up.
Coincidence? Maybe... Probably. Maybe they were just super sick of me blowing up their Twitter feeds and of hearing from my family or maybe they actually decided 95 days was long enough and they needed room on their lot for another sucker's property. Whatever the reason, Camping World and I broke up. I can't say I'm sorry or that I'll miss them, though I'd love to cash in on some alimony from this dysfunctional relationship.
And to Mark, who is head of the CST up there in Corporate Colorado, I just want to say, "I ain't mad atcha... Play on, Playa."
Feel free to follow me:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lori-Ann-Robinson/e/B00866AGJK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0