The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent
December 11, 2008
In my last column “A Pattern of Trouble,” I was pretty hard on a carpet manufacturer. You remember, the one whose name rhymes with Scranton. I thought it was only fair to share some of the good things carpet manufacturers do.
As you know, all of the installations Jon and I do is weekend stuff. He’s a full-time student at Pitt (a senior) and I am full-time employee of Crain Cutter Co. and travel 3 to 4 weeks a month, so if we see a problem there is usually no one to call. We are faced with either fix it or don’t do the job. For example, I was cutting carpet for a job and found a piece of tape with “Un-repairable Flaw” stuck to the carpet. So what did I do? I repaired the flaw and did the job. Which begs the question, If the mill knew it was an “un-repairable flaw,” why did they send it out?
We had four-bedroom job with a Masland textured cut and loop; the job took a 12 x 78; we cut the four bedrooms and took the 23 ft balance (for fills) with us to cut on the job. Imagine my surprise on Saturday when we open up the balance to start cutting fills… Bear in mind the old carpet is already pulled up (cut into 3-foot strips, rolled, taped, and stacked by the truck to be hauled to the dump). Jon is already installing one room. And I find the last 10 feet of the roll is de-laminating. I don’t mean just a little along the edge, but the last 3 feet has no latex at all and the 7 feet before that has large areas of latex missing. “Curses, drat,” I said. Or words to that general effect. Jon heard my sighs of regret or something to that effect. He came outside and said “What’s up, Ol’ Man.” He took one look at the carpet and said, “Holy Crap!” or words to that effect. (Photos 1, 2, and 3)
So what did we do? First we took pictures. Then we got some latex and poured it on the areas of missing latex, spread it around with a 10” dry wall taping knife to get a smooth even coverage; we refigured the job to do it with 3 feet less carpet because of the areas completely de-laminated, then contacted Masland on Monday. Masland’s response? They asked me to e-mail them the pictures, send the piece of carpet that was completely de-laminated, and invoice for my material cost and extra time. I did all that. What did Masland do? They sent me a check and credited the designer for the 12 x 3 and said thank you very much for solving the problem. The mills will work with you, but you must work with them as well. We are in this together, you know.
On to the next mill to get a pat on the back, Mohawk. We had an 80-square-yard master bedroom suite with a 3’ x 3’ set match pattern. The first thing I do, as we have talked about before is measure the pattern. (Photo 4) This one turns out to be 3’ 0 1/8”. OK, no need to panic yet. The carpet measures 12’ 2 ¾” (Photo 5) with tufted selvages that have to be cut off to match the pattern. (Photos 5 and 6) Beautiful!!!!! Now that is the way it should be! Not only does Mohawk give you enough carpet to match this pattern, but also what will be the seam edges are protected.
I don’t know, is it just me? Mohawk gets it. Maybe Mohawk should follow Mercedes’ lead when they allowed some of their safety innovations to be used by all car manufacurers at no charge because it served the greater good. Perhaps Mohawk should provide the industry with a “Math for making pattern carpet 101” class. I can certainly think of a mill or two who would benefit from that information.
Around the end of August Jon and I were asked to look at a job that the installer left on 8-11-08 saying he could not make the seam because of the pattern. The carpet was wool Berber with a high-low loop textured pattern. You know the type; if you don’t get the high and low loops lined up correctly it looks like a railroad track. These can be tuff because it’s really an inch pattern repeat. If you’re off a little bit it doesn’t take long for a real problem to rear its ugly head. What had given the installer fits was a bow across the width. Not so much in the middle, but it hooked at the each edge and the bow was 1-1/2 inches in three feet. I told the lady, Jon and I are good, but, you need to contact the mill.”
The mill sent out an inspector, I have a copy of the report (9-2-08). I will quote from what the inspector said in his report: “I have eliminated installation (as a cause) as I believe the installer had done all they could to line up the rows. The major bow is within 2 feet of the edge. This is a manufacturing issue.” Seems pretty straight forward, right? Not quite, I’ll quote from the mill’s letter for claim #38167, “As per the inspection, the bowing in the carpet is no more than 1.5 inches and as such within tolerances. No manufacturing defects were found.”
The bow of 1.5 inches was in the last 3 feet not over 12 feet. A 1.5-inch bow in12 feet, that you could maybe deal with, but 1.5 inches in 3 feet that translates to a 6-inch bow in 12 feet. Like I said before Jon and I are good but we are not THAT good.
Maybe you noticed in the quote from the mill’s letter they never said in what distance a bow of 1.5 inches was in their tolerances. So you know me never one to leave well enough alone. At my urging the customer made a few phone calls to the mill to find out in what distance a bow of 1.5 inches was in their tolerances. The response was, “We do not give out that information.” Hmmm, the way this mill dealt with the problem sounds like male bovine excrement to me.
Is this mill bad? I don’t know if I would go that far, but they sure seem indifferent to product quality and customer satisfaction. And who is this mill you ask? Well, the name rhymes with a city just north of Wilkes-Barre, PA...