Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Case of the Vanishing Laptop

I got this all secondhand from the women in Claims on Sunday, but I don't doubt the veracity of it. It just goes to show you how truly crooked some people are. And that you should inspect every single piece of merchandise you buy before you ever leave the store.

This man came in Friday and claimed that he had purchased a laptop. When he got the laptop home, the box was empty. Uh-huh. Well, they did some checking, and the box in question did come from another store. We can tell from the serial numbers and the packing codes on the box.

So, an assistant manager ordered one of the supervisors to give the man his $728 dollars back.

This is what we figure happened. Someone bought a laptop in that particular box from another store. They took the laptop out. Then they brought the BOX up to the Customer Service desk at our store, said "My sister already got me one," or some variant thereof.

Whatever idiot we had working the returns desk that day didn't even bother to open the box. They just did the return and whoever had the balls to try that maneuver up and walked out with ANOTHER $728 for an empty BOX.

Meanwhile, the empty laptop box goes back into a locked display case in Electronics, until it gets pulled out and given to this poor schmuck. Of course, he may be running game too. But either way, someone got $728 for RETURNING AN EMPTY BOX!


Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Wal~Mart is so soft!!! I would never try that, but it does give one some ideas. :)

L said...

Loved your last few posts - read em all at one time and laughed. I can't believe some of the crap Wally World lets people get away with!

Lindsay said...

Lap Tops are heavy.. I mean seriously you can pick up the box and feel if sometihng is in there.. right??
Some People.... SHEESH!

tom said...

It isn't unheard of for someone to buy a piece of computer equipment, slip an older part into the box, and return that for full credit. That is why some electronic retailers will require the sales associate to check that the serial number on the box and the actual item match.

This scam was especially prevalent in the mid-90's, when stores like Staples and Officemax really started selling a ton of computer equipment. I know of someone who returned a box full of crushed soda cans in place of a modem and the cashier never once opened the box to see what was actually inside. But they got full credit back for it!

mike said...

I once bought an IBM hard drive at Best Buy and when I got home and opened the box, there was a big ROCK in there. It was almost the exact size and weight you'd expect the hard drive to be. I immediately called the store and they basically told me, "sure there's a rock in the box!"--they thought I put it there. I went right back and the manager admitted they had heard from IBM that someone in their facory in Malaysia was doing this and stealing the hard drives. Then when they got me another and I found it wasn't compatible with my computer, they really questioned me and checked the contents closely when I brought it back a second time. This was about 10 years ago...

Anonymous said...

Why would someone in Malaysia take just the hard drives and not the whole laptop? Actually, I know that you meant "laptop" when you said "hard drive", but I'm just an asshole and I gotta say something to stupid asses that buy $800 pieces of equipment and don't know what to call it.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this happen many times before after almost 12 years that I worked for H3ll-Mart in 4 different stores in Kansas & Texas. I myself, have a sense of touch and can judge when something does not feel right aka weight. Or when the customers do not seem honest or I get the feeling that something is amiss not on the up and up, or on the level. When a empty box, that is suppose to have something like a laptop or car stereo (since I worked in Automotive for 9 years), I checked every box I got returned, for the main product , all accessories like wires, connectors & manuals. I had "people" bring back empty boxes and say that there was no car stereo in it, or had the old used burned out stereo in it, or even bricks. That this is how they bought it. Yes old used burned out stereos and bricks, in the box and they try to bring it back to get a refund or even another new stereo or other merchandise. But hmmm..OK... Since I was the only one in Automotive that knew and understood electronics (because of going to college for an Electrical Engineering degree), I got the responsibility of creating the stereo log books and logging all the items in when they came in off the receiving trucks. (Which I unloaded for 2 years, after I left automotive, while still going to school for my degree)..... All car electronics from car stereos, amplifiers, and etc., got logged by manufacturer, model #, serial #. (Not all stores do that) And then when purchased the customers name, address & phone number was logged in to the corresponding item. I used it for security purposes. This came in handy because, I have on several occasions been able to return a stolen item to the correct purchasing owner. Or when the locked cases got broken into and I mean broken into shattered glass and all, was able to track down what was stolen. So where I could notify the other stores in the area, and to be able to take a markdown on the stolen items. So because of my engineering background and being in Automotive for so long I knew what was what. I hate to say it, I have had some stereos & other items (empty boxes and other mishaps) come from the service desk, because the personnal up there, just gave in to the customers & not follow the return policies. For 4 years I was a Support Manager for Automotive, and most of the time worked by myself left to my own devices so I ran Automotive when the Automotive manager(s) were not there, normally week nights and weekend nights, the 2-11 shift. Even though I was "technically" the person over Automotive, since the manager is not there & Automotive was a seperate division (Div 6) from the main store. I would decide not to take a return or not do anything for an uncivilized barbarian customers who is trying to bring back a questionable item, as in empty box or box of bricks or even old stereo, or had no receipt. I followed the policy, No Receipt No Refund. I did do exchanges on a case by case basis. The return policies were put in place for a reason, not to be just looked at or bent on every whim. On occasion I would get overruled by store assistant manager or store manager, just to satisfy the customer who threatens that they will never shop there again. If I got a penny for each time I heard that, I would have been a millionaire a long time ago. Or the customer service desk associate would just give a refund on the item, before even checking inside the box. This would just set me off. I would go up to the service with the questionable item, and ask who took it back. Whether they gave a refund or gift card. No one would fuse up, never would. So on occasion I would give a Check Inside Box 101 course, on what to look for inside an Automotive electronics box & etc. Some associates liked that, that I would go out of my way so to show them what to look for inside a box, but others hated me for it. Well, to those who hated me for it. I was not there to make friends, I was their to do my job since I was technically a member of management.

I am so glad I am no longer an employee of H3ll-Mart, and not having to deal with the uncivilized barbarian customers and other "questionable" associates anymore.

Ex-12 year H3ll-Mart associate/manager, now Electrical Engineer (

Anonymous said...

Actually, I know that you meant "laptop" when you said "hard drive", but I'm just an asshole and I gotta say something to stupid asses that buy $800 pieces of equipment and don't know what to call it.

Before you go calling someone a "stupid ass", sweetie, maybe you ought to get a clue yourself. I'll even give you one free to get you started: Google "ibm deskstar". And try not to assume other people are as stupid or rude as you are.

Beverly said...

Why would someone in Malaysia take just the hard drives and not the whole laptop? Actually, I know that you meant "laptop" when you said "hard drive", but I'm just an asshole and I gotta say something to stupid asses that buy $800 pieces of equipment and don't know what to call it.

I have to say I'm a little confused by this. Do you mean to say that you're so ignorant you don't realize that hard drives can be sold separately? I've bought many hard drives in the box and I've yet to buy a laptop. When I say hard drive - I do indeed MEAN hard drive.