*ShadeElaine in home+decor , 19:32

blu dot: disappointed- 10.06.07


Weeks ago I ordered the Paperclip desk by Blu Dot. It has everything I want.. simple and clean design, that plywood and steel wire aesthetic, and a keyboard tray. I finally received the desk and well… I wish this post could be about me enthusiastically gushing about the desk, but sadly it’s not. And before I go any further, I just want to say that this is not something we really do on NOTCOT. As you know by now, we’re all about talking about the things we love. But it didn’t sit well with us that we had given Blu Dot’s Bonnie and Clyde sofa such a nice posting, and yet I have this pretty terrible experience with their desk… or rather, their packing methods. So I just have to share.

Full story after the jump…

The shipment came to me in two boxes via FedEx. One box was for the metal pieces, and the other for the wood panels. I opened the box with the metal pieces first, and it seemed all good, though some screws were flying around because they had escaped the little pouch they were in. No harm though. (Though now that I think about it, I wish they had wrapped the metal parts in some sort of packing material because they were just shoved in there with no other materials whatsoever and they did get minor scratches).


Then I opened the box with the wood panels… uh oh. Immediately, I was surprised by how little packing material there was. Just some rough kraft paper and a few little pieces of cardboard. And of course, because it was so poorly packed, the wood panels were totally messed up.


Scratches all over, dents along the edges, and a couple of splintered corners. I was sooo disappointed. I called up the Hive Modern, which I ordered the desk from, and they were very prompt in dealing with this problem, and assured me that Blu Dot would be sending me replacement panels. Well, long story short, the replacement panels I just received are also unacceptable. They added a little bit of padding to the corners, but the rest of it was packed in the same manner. So the corners and edges mostly survived this time, but there were still scratches all over. Sigh. So I had to go through that process of contacting the company again and hopefully the third time’s the charm. But I am so incredibly upset that they didn’t learn from past mistakes, and I’m definitely going to think twice before ordering from Blu Dot again.

*** UPDATE! - 10.16.07

After receiving an apologetic phone call and an offer of a discount on the desk from the director of sales at Blu Dot last week, I got my third desk replacement this past Friday and it was packed pretty well this time. There are still some minor scratches on the desktop and I think they must’ve come from the manufacturing process or something pre-packing. Not a huge deal so I’m keeping it. I’ve assembled the desk and it’s living happily in my room next to my new awesome Ikea Jonas secretary desk. So a bit of a happy ending finally.

And today I received this package from Blu Dot full of schwag, with a hand-written apology. I appreciate the effort but… somehow it falls short of making amends. First off, they totally got my name wrong on the note. Yikes. Also, my thinking is… if a customer is less than happy with your company, I don’t know if sending the customer a bunch of items with the company’s logo all over it, and a catalog, is the best move. So I dunno what to make of the whole situation. Yes, I am happy with the desk and it’s a shame that it’s being discontinued because I think it’s a great design. And I still think Blu Dot has a lot of other nicely designed furniture. I’m just not sure they have a great connection with their customers.

On a different note, I found their business cards kinda interesting. That orange bit is painted metal, and the info on it is just a label stuck on. I’m curious as to whether the metal part is actually something else, like a part used in furniture, or some sort of metal tag, etc. or if it was designed specifically like that as their business card.


Tags: -

25 Notes

I agree with the above poster who says these notes should be more visible. I wish I would have seen this sooner. I am going through a quality control nightmare right now with a BluDot Modu-licious dresser. Five of the six drawers that came with it were fine, but one of them apparently went straight under the quality radar and I’ve been fighting to get this situation resolved ever since.

Both the back drawer part and the front metal faceplate part were defective in one single dresser drawer. The back part, the drawer part, jammed from the very second I attempted to slide it into the dresser, and it took what seems like a divine heavenly miracle to dislodge it from said dresser and remove it.

The front part, the metal faceplate of the drawer, seems to have just been the product of a manufacturing glitch. The posts that attach it to the wooden body are about 1/4th of an inch over from where they should have been centered. Only on one drawer, the rest are fine. Both sides should have an even lip, but because of the misalignment, one side is basically nonexistant and you can see straight to the drawer slides, and the other side sticks out so much that anytime you try to close the drawer, it painfully scrapes against the (walnut) veneer.

I called the day that I received the shipment/found the problems. Since then I have exchanged emails, sent photographs and waited patiently to receive a package with only part of the problem fixed. I now have a drawer body, but still cannot attach a metal faceplate onto it, because I was not sent a replacement one.. and there is no way I’m about to scrape up the veneer of a $1800 dresser because the company won’t send a replacement part in a timely manner.. or at least I haven’t heard back, so I honestly don’t know what they’re going to do. I know if they do send it, it will be because I have called and emailed and pestered.

Right now I just want it to be over.

I want so much to love this company, and I want so much to love this dresser, but I am really REALLY starting to regret my purchase.

----- Margaret 20.12.10 21:25

I bought the folded coat rack from them, and had the same problem- gorgeous design, but the enamel on the edges was cracked and scratched by the stunningly poor packing…

----- Cat 08.05.09 11:01

I’ve had Blu Dot in our store and have sold several pieces over the years and I’ve had nothing but success with a few bumps here and there. I do have to correct one poster who said not to buy Blu Dot because its made in China / Taiwan. Actually, some product does come from Asia (where they have offices to oversee quality control). They also do a fair share from Europe and some from Minnesota. Before owning my own store I worked at IKEA for 5 years and I can tell you the quality is not even close to Blu Dot. The bumps in the road are due to them being such a small design firm but their overall concentration is on great design and good quality. I hope it helps, but I think if you’re gonna support a company that is young and growing then you’ll understand that there will be several obstacles to overcome and deal with both on a company level and a consumer level. It is still, overall, a good company and I’m proud to carry the line.

----- Dave 14.04.09 17:39

For all the remarks of discontinued, I believe this desk is still being sold on their website….

----- Twinkle 18.03.09 06:48

Someone should make these Blu Dot notes much more visible. I purchased six months ago a Series 11 lateral file. The file refuses to stand upright - without significant weight on it - when a file drawer is open. And now six months in, the flimsy supporting hardware for each drawer is broken, the top is warping and pulling away from the sides of the file and the drawer handles are both broken. It is indeed about quality control, but also selling furniture that may look nice but is badly designed if one wants to use it.

----- Ken 18.01.09 09:08

Like the above commenter said, most, but not all, blu dot products are made in china or taiwan. They probably come off containers, straight to a warehouse, and then get delivered. It seems there’s probably little QC going on with the packing. If it looks ok coming out of the container/carton, it’s ok to be shipped to a customer.

----- m 12.10.08 12:20

DONT BUY BLUDOT funrinture, they are beatiful bu tmade in china, i had a STRUT table that after splitting som coffe on it the paint changed color and it’s impossible to remove the stain…not even crappy ikea furinture is so crappy made

----- frank 06.09.08 15:09

jack calvin… if that was in july and you were still waiting in december, i can pretty much assure you that velocity has forgotten about you and your screws… send the pieces back and get a refund, or call your credit card company to do a charge-back… but call velocity first to let them know thats what you are going to do…. you will see some action then. hear me now and believe me later.

----- vladimer kerchenko 28.01.08 19:09

This sort of thing happens all the time no matter who you order from. It took Bo Concept 4 trys to get our dining chairs to us without damage. That’s after the 4 months we had to wait for them to be built. we also ordered stolls from them which took 6 months to arrive. Delivered furniture is always a toss up.

----- clay 09.01.08 14:48

Here’s my Blu Dot catastrophe story:

I really had my heart set on purchasing two Blu Dot Paperclip Bookcases. However Blu Dot had stoppped making them entirely. So I scoured the internet and found two floor models at Velocity Art & Design in Seattle, Washington. They sold them to me over the phone (I’m in Virginia), dismantled them, and shipped them to me. BUT…UPS LOST THE HARDWARE…meaning the bag of all the nuts, bolts, screws, etc.

Also, Velocity did a horrible job packaging the wood and so some of the shelves were damaged around the corners. Okay, no big deal.

But without the hardware, I obviously can’t build the suckers.

So then Velocity contacted Blu Dot to send me another set of hardware. BUT…it turns out that I had an older model of the Paperclip shelves, and at some point during the manufacturing of the line, Blu Dot redesigned/reconfigured the hardware. So none of the new hardware they sent me fit the shelves I had. And they had none of the old hardware, nor did they even have the old instructions or hardware specs. (How much of a hassle is it to save one tiny PDF file??)

At least with the old specs I could have hunted down (maybe) some replacement hardware pieces myself.

I’m still waiting for both Velocity and Blu Dot to rectify this situation. It’s December 2007, and this has been going on since July of this year. I’m still waiting, with disassembled wood and metal, and all my crap stacked in boxes.

Anyone got any ideas?

----- JackCalvin 07.12.07 17:45

Lets focus a little on FedEx.
I am pretty sure from the minute they got a hold of your(admittedly poorly packaged)table they would have had it doing flips, spins & somersaults as if it were a circus act.

I manufacture high end homewares and after 12 years of doing so and employing ever increasing layers of packaging still receive quite a few credit claims for damaged goods.

My courier pick up guy reckons the more fragile stickers you put on the box the more insulted they feel.

----- Tom 20.10.07 16:06

I’m not sure why you feel the need to be apologetic about giving an honest recap of your experience with the desk. While the design/craftsmanship of the product is am important feature of a product, so is the buying process — whether that determines whether to purchase or not, or whether to choose from a number of sellers. It’s nice to get the whole story about something.

----- Benjy 19.10.07 09:08

Sounds like you didn’t have such a good time, as regards to packaging, i think under packaging is the future. I know when you buy a nice new piece of furniture you expect a certain level finish.

When i did see the images firstly i thought they where intentional or “character” marks personally i would rather ethically packaged piece over a mound of bubble wrap that would sit in the ground for over 100 years…

Anyway i might order something from them and kick it in so i can receive one of those cool business cards.

----- steven Nicholson 19.10.07 08:02

I would’nt complement IKEA so much on their packing…… The same poor packing practices happen there too. I once ordered an effectiv shelving unit with doors. Doors came beat to !@#$ and missing hardware. They too tried to re-ship me the missing parts and new door. But the Door came beat up again. Finally I just gave up because it took them forever to re-ship….. so I have an Efectiv or whatever you call it shelf with doors and a couple of corners beat to !@#$….. just living with it

----- Chris 17.10.07 20:28

just curious, were they aware that you run this site? Simply because I was given the runaround for quite some time, with no schwag and certainly no apology.

----- chris sanger 17.10.07 16:35

Getting your name wrong on the note is kind of obscene.

----- Anonymous 17.10.07 08:49

ha ha! I had an identicle nightmare with a BLU DOT bedroom set. I went through multiple rounds of exchanges over the course of a few months until I just settled on keeping the dog eared pieces.

the packaging was the culprit for the damage in every case. not only is the packaging not well thought out, but there is a lot of it: huge pieces of cardboard, PET sheeting, and styrofoam everywhere.

BLU DOT can stand to learn a lot about packaging from IKEA. …which also engineers and designs their products specifically so that they fit tight and flat in a box.

----- hrag 10.10.07 05:37

i used to merchandise for the container store, as well as on a freelance basis, and i can tell you that of the 25+ paperclip desks i put together over the course of a year, all of them turned up like tgis. the ones we didn’t put together in the store but were sold, nearly all of them were returned because of damage.

basically, it wouldn’t matter if the delivery guy handled it with kid gloves, the packaging was so sub-par, the desk’s finish would probably still be damaged.

maybe it’s a good thing bludot discontinued them - but if that had anything to do with poor sales figures, it may have had something to do with the BS packaging they sent them out in.

----- lola 09.10.07 06:42

I also had a problem with quality and responce from blu dot. They need to check thier quality control-pieces missing, etc. too bad-it looks cool but they are disorganized

----- k tierney 09.10.07 06:25

Yep, gotta make the delivery person wait and check to make sure its ok or to refuse it if its not. Ordered a desk from izzydesign.com, it arrived in a large semi-truck and was deposited on my driveway. The driver waited , made sure that I open it to review the insides, and everything worked out.
I feel as sorry for the company as you the customer. Its a precarious series of situations that can cause this sort of thing to happen, from the management all the way down to the minimum wage worked packing it. Somewhere it got fouled up and theyve lost customers despite nice products.

----- Lone 08.10.07 16:26

I ordered nearly 30 of the Chicago rollers for a salon which I remodeled, They were back ordered, and shipped something like two months after the date which I was promised them (backorder ship date) had passed.
After I got them the color did not match the sample or the few that I had already ordered (in cherry I believe). and I was told that the wood would oxidize or some such BS, needless to say they never did and I have two sets of completely different woods. On top of all of this I too had several of the carts damaged in shipping.

They make some cool stuff, but they seriously need to get the kinks worked out and after reading your experience I doubt I will order from them again.

----- Chris Sanger 08.10.07 14:11

It’s at times like these that you really have to admire IKEA’s packaging. Say what you want about the company and its products but they’ve really gotten the whole furniture packaging and assembly art down to a science. Everything uses the least amount of packing material and yet it’s still well thought out and effective.

The Blu Dot guys are great designers but it sounds like they need to hire someone with an assembly line/packaging background to help.

----- Patrick 08.10.07 13:15

Oh no…this is so sad!! Courtney and I just ordered the the Bonnie and Clyde sofa, and Nick table. If they can’t ship a couple wooden panels, I don’t even want to think about a sofa…

----- MaSRade 08.10.07 10:55

Ick! That really sucks! Hope the third time works out!

----- Sub-Studio 08.10.07 05:34

It’s not rocket science to work out that if you ship WOOD without protecting the edges, it’s going to get damaged in transit! What were they thinking? Were they short on bubble-wrap those days?

----- minxlj 08.10.07 03:07

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