For the first time, I was faced with actually giving furniture away, rather than begging family and friends for their cast-offs. While I knew that small non-profit organizations local to Hartford have a difficult time arranging pick-up of furniture, I didn't think it would be so difficult to find a larger organization who would be willing to pick up two couches and a bookcase (they sure as heck weren't fitting in my Corolla!).
As much as I love Goodwill, they do not do pick-ups in Hartford County, but you can drop them off at their donation centers around Connecticut. Of course, that involves owning a large vehicle or having friends to help you out. Since I was using this experience as something to share with others, I decided against asking favors of truck driving friends, and wanted to see what someone without access to a large vehicle might have to go through.
So, I called the Salvation Army, whose trucks you see on the highways, even though I had heard some unpleasant stories from others. Unfortunately for 9-5 working me, they only had weekdays available, so it took almost a month to arrange a weekend (Saturday) delivery with a very large window between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. One convenient thing is that, upon calling, you are given a ticket number to reference in case you need to change what is being donated; I decided to donate both of my couches, instead of just one. Addng it to the "order" was just a quick phone call to 1-800-SATRUCK.
A few things to know: the SA folks coming to pick up your stuff cannot go up flights of stairs, so all furniture needs to be on the first floor. Porch steps, etc. are okay. For me, that involved getting my boyfriend to help me lug the bookcase and futon frame downstairs. Also, furniture can't have broken parts, springs protruding, etc. and should be fur free. This should be common sense--who wants their backside resting on a hard metal spring?
Yesterday, I called to see if they could possibly give me a smaller window for the truck arriving as my dog needed to head to the vet. The gentleman I spoke to informed me that I was the first one on the list, having made my arrangements so very long ago, and to expect them between 9 and 10 a.m.
At 2 p.m. today, I began to get frustrated and realized their timing window was now...well, out the window. I tried to contact the "dispatch" line I had called before, but there is no human being to be reached on a weekend. I also tried calling a local Salvation Army store, but, while the woman I spoke to was very nice, she had no method of finding out if perhaps I had been skipped, or left off the list, or maybe they were just running several hours late.
At 4:15 p.m., I received a phone call saying that the truck was full (?!) from a man who was extremely unhelpful as to what my alternatives were (rescheduling? sending another truck?). Even when I told him that I had been informed I was the first one on the list, and that I had made arrangements a month ago, he was still unable to help.
So, after essentially wasting a day waiting for the Truck that Never Came, here I sit in my living room filled with items ready to donate: a futon frame, a loveseat, a couch, a bookcase, a brand new roaster oven and some bags of clothing. Boy am I glad I wasn't having new furniture delivered today!
Stay tuned for Part 2 to see if the Salvation Army can salvage themselves and their reputation with me!