The Brilliant Idea

At PEC we try to work with our vendors and identify what it is they do, what they do well, and encourage them NOT to go outside their scope to try to please random requests. For example, if a catering vendor does not cook Japanese food….don’t ask them to cook Japanese food. You will be left with a lack luster product, an un-satisfied client, and a hostile vendor! Never a good combo!

That said sometimes we (the PEC team) seem to forget this general guideline and ultimately end up re-learning a lesson that we thought we had mastered!  A couple of years ago we had an event coming up that wanted to do some cool lounge furniture and create this swanky lounge. Typically we would hire this out and manage the details. However, during this particular event we had a very good vendor that was hosting a fund-raiser and also thought it would be cool to have a lounge at their event. That’s when we had a brilliant idea! What if instead of renting the furniture from our normal vendor we purchased a bunch of furniture from Ikea, used it for our big event and then donated it to our vendor’s event? We would donate our time and set everything up for the fundraiser…it would be perfect!

Fast forward three weeks…….

All of the furniture arrived on time at our warehouse but as you know required assembly.   We put all of the furniture together at our warehouse. We allotted three hours; it took many, many, many more than that! We were dirty, disheveled, sporting box cuts, hungry and laughing about our recent endeavor. Overall we were still in good spirits and were quite pleased with our purchases.

The fundraiser came and went and was a great success! It looked beautiful and we were happy to have been able to help. However, we were a bit shocked at how much work it was to load up the furniture into the U Haul, schlep it to the event, unwrap it, set it up, re-wrap it, re-box it, re-load it, and schlep it back to the warehouse for the second time. But hey, all in the name of charity right?

Now we just had to do it one more time for the big event. Imagine our shock when a few days later we heard from our client that they wanted to cut out the lounge and would not be renting furniture….days before the event. Uh oh! We did not see that one coming! Now we had a few thousand dollars’ worth of furniture in our warehouse…assembled!  At this point it was a scramble to find out what we could return. We made arrangements for pick up and back to the warehouse we went for dis assembly!

We had to take all of the furniture apart and re package it for return. Thankfully we had some great plastic wrap from Home Depot, unfortunately for some unknown reason there was a freak pile of sawdust outside of our warehouse. There are a couple hundred warehouses in the complex yet for some reason on that day there was sawdust in front of ours…just ours!  The wind kept kicking up and it would stick to the cling wrap. It was a NIGHTMARE! 

Ikea would not pick it up at the warehouse so we had to haul it to my house for pick up. We secured another U Haul and loaded up the furniture for the fifth time.  However, this U Haul, for some reason was much larger than the previous U Hauls, and was missing the side mirrors on the right hand side….not to mention that neither of us on staff that day had ever driven anything larger than an SUV!  Here we are dirty, hostile, cursing the project and heading down the boulevard.

I have my head hanging out the window trying to see if we can move over while still keeping the truck in my lane and avoiding rear ending the vehicle in front of me. We finally decide it will be best to stay in the right hand lane and travel a path that only requires right hand turns. (Really?! We weren’t even sure this was possible.) It’s at this point when we are laughing so hard at the hilarity of the situation that we sit back and ponder how we even got into this situation in the first place.

We finished the project, ended up with a couple of furniture pieces to our name that could not be returned, poured some wine and reflected on what had gone so awry. It all circled back to the same old lesson….Don’t do what you don’t do!! Had we just said “We’re sorry, PEC is not a furniture rental company” we could have saved ourselves of hours of time, trouble, stress, and money. But hey….I guess we walked away with a hilarious memory and that’s worth something….. (I think….)

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