If Monty Python sold industrial equipment: (But instead this is real life!)
The set up for today’s work related shenanigans – Went to the manufacturer’s website. Quickly found the exact part number and accessory part numbers needed. Added the parts to the online shopping cart, like every other online purchase. Except it’s not really a shopping cart, because you can’t actually purchase online. It’s just a bill of materials. Parts must be purchased through a distributor.
Phone call 1
Found the phone number for the local distributor on the manufacturer’s website. Called, number was disconnected. Googled for another number.
Phone call 2
Local distributor – Can’t find that part number from manufacturer’s website, found something close but not the actual thing needed, call corporate number
Phone call 3
Manufacturer’s corporate number – Can’t find that part number. Can’t help you, call tech support
Phone call 4
Manufacturer tech support – are you looking in the U.S.? Ok, that part number should start with X and not Y. The part numbers were changed with an acquisition, and now all of our documentation is wrong. Yes, that part number is correct now, no I can’t sell you the part, I am just tech support. Try your local distributor.
Phone call 5
Local distributor (same as phone call 2) – yes, that’s a valid part number, I can find that now, but no I can’t sell that to you. We can’t sell that particular model, you have to call the main corporate number.
Phone call 6
Manufacturer’s corporate number (same as phone call 3, but a different person) – Ok, yes, I can find that part number. Do you have an account with us? No? I can only sell this part to you if you have a dealer account. No, you do not buy enough to qualify for a dealer account. You have to call your local distributor. They won’t sell it you? I’m sorry, I can’t sell it to you. Try this other distributor that does not show up on the distributor finder tool on the website.
Phone call 7
Distributor #2 – this is a special made to order part, I will check into this and get back you with price and delivery.
Phone call 8
Distributor #3 – don’t really sell this type of stuff, took info, will call back
Phone call 9
Distributor #2 called back – yes, can order the part, and will take the credit card- order placed! 18 day lead time.
Phone call 10
Distributor #2 called back again to confirm item can be drop shipped to our location instead of to distributor
Phone call 11
Distributor #2 called back again to clarify info on accessories to main item ordered. Required accessories for main item to work still not ordered by end of day.
How this business model is surviving in 2016 is beyond me. We had the exact part numbers we needed, and a credit card, and it took over three hours and 11 phone calls to place a partial order. Here is the video referenced in the post title, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about: