• Last modified 768 days ago (July 9, 2020)


Eatery is out of the kitchen and into the fire after brown-out fiasco

From brown-out to Amazon, it’s been a fiasco

Staff writer

The dining room of Wagon Wheel Express is still dark nearly a month after electrical brown-outs downtown fried her air conditioner.

Sherry Hess would love to know when she finally can reopen for good, but that depends on finally receiving an air conditioning unit she ordered a month ago.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said Hess, from her sweltering restaurant.

“The inside is hotter that it is outside,” she said. “When it gets up to that 100 degree mark or 95 and above, it’s pretty excruciating. So we’ve been closing early.”

Wagon Wheel Express has been open for takeout lunches Tuesday through Saturday since the power failure left her scrambling to replace damaged appliances.

Her air conditioner was dead after the brown-out.

“I plugged it in, and it was fried. It just wouldn’t come back on,” she said.

She immediately hopped online and ordered a new unit that day from Amazon. She paid extra for expedited shipping.

It was supposed to be delivered by June 8. It didn’t come.

“I sent one of those generic emails they let you send, and I didn’t hear anything back,” she said.

A message finally landed in her inbox informing her that the unit would be delivered June 15. By June 15, it still had not arrived.

Hess received another email telling her that the order was “criss-crossed” with another one. The air conditioner would be there around June 19.

“This time, instead of a generic email, I sent another one that a little more strongly worded,” she said.

Hess rejoiced when the unit finally arrived June 24 — until she opened the crate.

“I was so excited, and then I looked at the box,” she said. “It looked really wet. I wasn’t going to sign for it. The driver was in a hurry, but he had to wait until I unpacked it.”

The unit had been dropped, the compressor had been pulled out of the case, and everything was wet with leaking coolant.

The direct seller, Superior Home Supplies, implied she had signed off on the delivery even though she had documented the damage in pictures.

“They didn’t want to pay to have it shipped back to them damaged,” she said. “They just wanted us to dispose of it.”

She asked for a refund. The representatives at Superior Home Supplies promised to ship another unit that day – if she would not ship the damaged one back.

The replacement was supposed to be delivered July 2.

Package tracking early this week reportedly showed that the unit is supposed to be sitting in Kansas City.

“I said, ‘You know, I have off. I will just drive there and get it. If we are going to have all of these problems.’ But they didn’t want that,” Hess said.

Hess finally reached a manager, who promised the company would repay her for the fiasco.

“You can’t compensate me enough for me having to close my dining room,” Hess said. “There is not monetary way to pay that back for.”

The manager told her the company would “talk dollars” when the unit arrived. Calls to the company’s representatives were not returned by press time.

“At this point, I would take a refund and go somewhere else,” said Hess, who chose to go through Amazon on the advice of a friend. She felt Amazon was the safest way to go.

“You order everything and Amazon backs it up,” she said. “It’s not some scam out of Indonesia that is taking your money.”

As of Tuesday, the air conditioner still had not been delivered.

Until it is, the Wagon Wheel will serve takeout from 11 to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Hess has been paying staff out of her own pocket during the reduced hours because she doesn’t want to lose them.

“Sometimes we just talk about closing it and getting jobs,” she said laughing. “It’s just been one thing after the other, but we just keep it going day by day — and take care of the ones that come in each day.”

Last modified July 9, 2020