Tag Archives: Swing set

How To Make A Three-Year Old Happy

In case you were wondering about how to make a three-year old happy, I have two words for you: Swing Set. You can also win points with fort, slide, jungle gym, and by loudly declaring, “Who wants to be pushed on the swing?”

A swing set makes a three year old happy
How to make a three-year old happy.

Seriously, when Tiny-Small came around the corner and caught a glimpse of her fully constructed swing set it was obvious, by her spastic, I might be getting electrocuted wiggling, that she could barely contain her excitement.

Our friend came over to help us put it together. A friend Tiny-Small thinks is the bees-knees. She thinks he’s a super hero, better than sliced bread, drill-holding-genius. That’s what she thinks. That’s what I think too. If it hadn’t been for him there would be no swing set. I wish I was kidding. This swing set almost didn’t happen…multiple times.

The slide is fast!
The slide is fast!

Jim and I started putting it together, but after staring at all of the parts and screws and fancy, magical bolts we were overwhelmed pretty quickly. Plus, the directions were written by aliens or time travelers, or really smart people because we could barely make heads or tails of them. When our friend inspected the portion of the swing set construction that we had completed he just shook his head sadly and said, “I think this is backwards.” I just replied, “Well, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.” Then I went inside to make homemade pizza and cake and cookies because that’s the best way to scream THANK YOU to a single guy that puts a swing set together so you don’t have to, while simultaneously making a three-year old happy. Yes, I think baked goods are a special kind of currency. We all have our special talents, right? Mine might lead to heart disease or diabetic coma, but it’s all I’ve got to give and so I give it generously. I just write a note saying: EAT ONLY ONE PER DAY.

So, Tiny-Small is swinging like a monkey through the trees and climbing into her fort to scream, “I am king of the world! Catch me at the bottom of the slide!” It’s been really fun to watch her. She is having a blast and being a kid. It felt really good to be making some dreams come true.

Now, I just have to convince Jim to help me drag it away from the fence. It’s too close for swinging. I tried to explain that to them before they built it, but nobody listens to the baker covered in flour these days. Not that I blame them. I’m not exactly mechanically inclined and I do better with instructional videos (or pictures) than written directions, but I am pretty good at the common sense part, usually. So, actually I totally blame them for not listening, but in a thank you for building it I still adore you kind of way.

The swing set is too close to the fence.
The swing set is a little close to the fence behind it.

That’s OK, we’ll slide that swing set over a few feet and then it will be perfect! Tiny-Small will be able to swing and swing and swing and I will smile because I know exactly how to make a three-year old happy. That’s the only part that matters!

Want to read about how we almost didn’t get the swing set? Sears and Kmart: Please Let Me Buy A Swing Set.

Or, what happened next? We Buy A Swing Set From Sears (Part 2).

We Buy A Swing Set From Sears (Part 2)

Buying a swing set from Sears was difficult, but it happened. Seriously, the box is sitting in the back yard as I am typing this. If you haven’t read Part 1 of our adventure you might want to start here: Sears and Kmart: Please Let Me Buy A Swing Set.

swing set-family-life-Sears
Jim brings home the swing set.

After writing about my experience with Kmart and Sears we got a phone call from Robert, an executive from Sears who took on our case and made sure we were able to purchase a swing set. It turns out that the swing set purchase had gone through. It just didn’t seem to be connected to my account in any way. I didn’t receive any emails from them confirming the purchase. I’m still not sure why, but the good thing is, we now have a swing set. Yay!

Yesterday Jim went down to the Sears store to pick it up. An employee gave Jim a hard time about not having a confirmation email and didn’t seem to understand that we never received one. She insisted Jim needed to go online and print it out before he could take the swing set (even though we had already paid for it). Since we never received an email (and there was nothing about it in my online account) there was nothing we could print out. Jim finally concluded that he would have to cancel the order again. Luckily, a manager type took over and Jim was able to take the swing set home. He just had to let the manager make a photocopy of his driver’s license. I’m just glad the manager didn’t ask for a kidney and for our first-born child. I mean, if we had to give Tiny-Small up we wouldn’t actually even need a swing set. Just last year I bought six bookcases online from Kmart and I didn’t have any trouble at all. That purchase was way more expensive than this one. They also delivered the bookcases right to my house! So much can change in one year.

The email address linked to my online account receives email almost daily from Kmart/Sears about sales they are having and I have received email confirmations for other purchases that I have made through their website (like the bookcases). I am not sure what happened with this one. There must have been some sort of glitch. I don’t think I’ll be getting any reward points for this purchase either, but at this point I am just glad we have a swing set. I do wonder if someone else is getting my email confirmations and reward points. I mean, that stuff must be getting sent to someone, somewhere, right? Not to mention, when I go to use my rewards card at Kmart there are three different people listed on the cash register screen and they always confirm which person I am. They say, “Well, you aren’t José.” That seems strange too.

Sears-swing set
Now we just have to put it together (Cue horror music).

The manager at the store told Jim to order our big purchases through the store in the future (not to do it online), so we could avoid all of these problems. Jim told him that is exactly what we tried to do, but for some reason we still had to order the item online at the store. The manager seemed as confused as we were about the process. We’re not sure what went wrong, but we are happy we have the swing set home and ready to be put together. The only problem we have now is that we don’t have a receipt for it. Apparently, the receipt is the email we never received. We’re hoping we don’t need it for any reason. If all of the parts are in the box we should be fine. If they aren’t, maybe I can email José and ask him if he got my receipt by mistake. Otherwise, I have a feeling we’ll be at the hardware store searching for a replacement part just because it will be so much easier than trying to get the email from Sears.

It may sound like I am complaining still, but the good thing is Sears seems to be paying attention to their customers. When I wrote about our experience on my blog I had no idea an executive would contact me and offer his help. I have to say that, despite the trouble we had trying to purchase a swing set, it was nice to know that someone cared and was willing to take the steps to ensure we were able to do so. If Robert had not called the store ahead of time I have a feeling we would not have been able to pick up the swing set without the email confirmation. The manager mentioned an executive had called about our purchase. He seemed impressed that we had such an important ally (or maybe annoyed, we will never know for sure). Jim told him I had a large Twitter following (just not large in comparison to Justin Bieber as Jim likes to remind me) and that Sears pays attention to Twitter, apparently. Jim said the manager probably thinks I am an annoying trouble maker, but I don’t care too much. I just wanted to buy my daughter a swing set. I don’t think it should be harder than buying a car. I am glad the executives at Sears think it should be easier too.

We’ve been shopping at Sears for years. It’s nice to know Sears still cares about our business. I mean, Robert tracked me down through my blog post and called me to straighten it out. That is pretty impressive service. I don’t know how he got my phone number. He obviously has stalker type super powers. I’m just glad he is using them for good and not for evil. Anyway, Robert rules! I think he might be my favorite thing about Sears now. Hopefully, the online glitches and store policies will evolve and become more customer friendly. With people like Robert working at the top I have a feeling the company will be improving. At least I really hope so because we are going to need a new oven soon, but that’s a story for another day. I just hope Sears is up for the challenge, I mean purchase. Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best and thanking Robert all at the same time.


Sears and Kmart: Please Let Me Buy A Swing Set

Having her own slide and swing set does not seem to be in her future.

I’ve been trying to buy a swing set from Sears and Kmart for days now. It hasn’t been going well. I went online and purchased one through the Kmart website. It was supposed to be delivered to a store 180+ miles from my house. They wouldn’t deliver it to my home or to the store closest to my home, for some reason, but I wanted the swing set so I figured a little traveling wouldn’t be the end of the world. I was frustrated, but resigned to making the best of it. The directions said I would get a confirmation email and that I would need to print it and bring it with me in order to pick my item up at the store (the store said they had the swing set in stock). I waited and waited, but no confirmation email ever came. I checked to make sure my email was correctly spelled in my accounts profile. I checked my email account several times. I started to wonder what was going on. The money was already on hold in my bank account so I knew Sears and Kmart were aware the purchase was made.

A few hours later I got a call from Sears security. They wanted to know where I bought the swing set. Was it Sears or Kmart? I thought that was a strange question because I thought Sears and Kmart were the same company. Their website is the same. Then they wanted my birthday, my address, and some credit card information. While I was on the phone with them I was Googling this Sears security thing because it seemed weird. A random call from someone claiming to be Sears, asking for all of my personal information. Alarm bells started going off. This was the sort of thing I have been reading NOT to do. Also, my Google search was screaming “scam! Scam! SCAM!” at me. I told the lady I was uncomfortable and that I was just going to cancel my order. I hung up and called Kmart customer service.

It turns out the Sears security call was legitimate. My order had been cancelled. The customer service lady lectured me on how I should just call Sears and Kmart or Sears or Kmart and ask them to transfer me to the security department if this should ever happen again. That way I would know if the call was legitimate. I thought it was strange that I had to jump through all of these hoops just to purchase a swing set. Meanwhile, they had just lost a sale because they didn’t bother to warn me the security call would be part of the transaction. Not to mention, the security people didn’t sound all that professional so that kind of set alarm bells off as well. I wasn’t about to apologize for trying to buy something or for feeling strange about the random security call requesting personal information over the phone. I mean, a simple warning that this was going to happen would have been appropriate and then I would have expected it.

Anyway, I hung up. I still didn’t have a swing set. So, the next day we went down to our local Sears branch. We asked them to order it for us and asked if they could have it shipped to their store. Somehow, shipping it to the store 10 minutes from my home was now magically possible. I don’t know why the day before the swing set could only be shipped to a store 180 miles away. That part is a mystery. For some reason purchasing the swing set through Sears cost about $12 more than purchasing it through Kmart. Each store has its own item number for the exact same product. There is a lot of confusion about Sears and Kmart or Sears or Kmart and a lot of “Oh, yes we are the same store even though we are completely separate stores at the same time.” kind of conversations. An extra $12 seemed worth paying to avoid the 180 mile trip (one way) to pick it up. So we decided to buy it.

We had to order the swing set through the computer at the Sears store which was also weird because I had to put in my passwords and credit card information to make it all work. I also had to access my email account to change the password for my Sears and Kmart account because I couldn’t remember it off the top of my head. I had assumed I would be making the purchase through a cash register and wouldn’t need access to my Sears and Kmart online account. This was uncomfortable because the sales person was standing behind me the entire time and it was a public computer. I still feel like I probably shouldn’t have done that. After putting in all of my information I got a confirmation number. I was told I would be emailed shortly with a purchase order. It’s been almost 24 hours and I haven’t received an email. There seems to be no record of the purchase in my account on the Sears and Kmart website either. It’s like the whole spending 25 minutes at the Sears store never happened.

I still don’t have a swing set. I think I will probably be purchasing my swing set through another store. Sears and Kmart have made it pretty clear that they do not want my business.

Have you ever tried to buy something, but failed at every turn? Does customer service matter to you? Tell me some of your stories.


There is more to this story. I was contacted by an executive from Sears and he helped us purchase our swing set. You can read about that here: We Buy A Swing Set From Sears (Part 2).