October 11, 2021

Last week Melissa and I decided it was time to install a pool cover to the pond/pool on our back patio.  This is generally part of the usual wintering process for an inground pool, but since our pool has not been operational, we have neglected installing the cover.  While the cover will keep out the leaves and debris that can be blown into the pool, it also serves as a caution for people walking on the patio.  I do not think either the frogs who take up residence in the spring nor the green heron that has come to feast on them the last two years will appreciate our gesture.  The appraiser does and as always, nature loses out to bureaucracy.

When we learned we needed to purchase a pool cover I immediately went online to see what was available and how much it cost.  As usual, there were a variety of styles and types that could be customized to fit any size pool.  I worked through the process to determine what size cover I would need and the number of water bags that would be used to hold it in place.  The obstacle came when I went to add my purchase to the cart.  The cover I had selected was “not currently available”.  I found another that was available and found the 2-3 day shipping I was guaranteed would arrive in 3-4 weeks.  No problem.  I would bite the bullet and spend more money to buy the cover locally.  That is when I found that while all the chain stores carried what I needed, none of them had it in stock.  I finally found a company who did have the cover in stock, but they were a wholesale distributor, and I was not authorized to buy from them.  I had to go through a third-party vendor.

I called a retail pool cover vendor and told them I had located the cover and just needed them to order it for me.  They took my information over the phone and processed my order.  While they would not guarantee it would be available (they were third-party all!), they assured me I could pick it up the following Tuesday.  When I never heard back from the vendor, I called on Tuesday and found the store was closed for the next 10 days.  I called several times to see if they would allow me to pick the cover up at the distributer, but never received a response.  Now I was in the timeframe where I could have had the cover shipped online.  That is, if the online order would have ever been processed.

Thoughts:  The cover arrived a week later than promised.  When I examined it, I found the mesh cover used to protect the pool has a 5-foot overlap with loops every four feet to secure the 8-foot water bags.  I took the time to read the box before I opened it and found I had been given the wrong size.  When I counted the water bags, I found they were one short.  My vendor assured me they would get the right cover and an additional bag.  I drove back into town and retrieved the items.  When I tried to fill up the water bags, the first one was split at the seam, and I had to drive back and get another.  The response I received for each of these failures was “covid has disrupted the supply chain.”  Later that night I saw a segment on the news saying the disruption will still be true when ordering toys at Christmas.  Melissa went ahead and ordered the grandkids presents to make sure they were here.  It is almost Halloween you know.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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