Every time I see someone roll up to Customer Service with something like a microwave, a TV, a stereo or a blender just sitting in the cart without a box or any packaging, I just cringe inside, because I KNOW the ensuing dialogue is going to be a difficult one. And then I think "Do people really just throw boxes, packaging and receipts away the second they get home?"
It went down like this. This rather elderly woman rolled in. She had a beat-up microwave in the cart. She was one of those women of a certain age and of a regal bearing. You could tell that she was extremely pissed off at having to waste her Saturday returning a microwave to Wal-Mart.
ME: "Can I help you ma'am?"
HER: "This thing sounds like a bomb!"
ME: "Um, do you have your receipt for the microwave?"
HER: "I had my last microwave for 20 years."
ME: "Ma'am, do you have your receipt or the box and packaging for THIS microwave?"
HER: "It keeps making a noise like a bomb!" She wasn't old enough to have been in London's Blitz, so I have no clue how she knows what a "bomb" sounds like. I'd have liked to have called in a precision air strike right about then though and let her find out!
ME: "So you don't have your receipt?"
HER: "I had the last microwave for 20 years. I thought this one would last too!" Um, look lady, you're buying cheap Korean household product. You're lucky it heats up water!
ME: "Can I see the microwave ma'am?"
HER: "I'm not picking this thing up."
ME: "Do you need me to come around and get it on the counter for you?" But didn't you get it out of the kitchen, into the car, out of the car into a buggy and then in to Wal-Mart. And now you can't lift it the last two feet?
Once I get the microwave on the counter, I proceed to examine it. Customers tend to "overlook" certain things about stuff they buy, like the tiny info panel inside the microwave which told me the serial number, the model number and the information - MANUFACTURE DATE - MAY 2005. Yeah. Eighteen months is probably pretty good for a Wal-Mart microwave.
ME: "Ma'am, you're not going to be able to return this item. It is eighteen months old. You can only return items in stores for 90 days."
HER: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T RETURN IT! I called GE and they told me to bring it back to the store." Yes, but did you tell General Electric that you bought the microwave EIGHTEEN MONTHS AGO? No. Of course not. Because you're a lying cow.
ME: "Ma'am. This product is from 2005. You don't have a receipt. We can't take it back."
HER: "My last microwave lasted for 20 years. I expected the new one to last. But it makes a noise like a bomb. I WANT A MANAGER HERE RIGHT NOW AND I'M NOT LEAVING UNTIL I GET SOME SATISFACTION!"
So some idiot comes up, approves the return, although she has to get a store credit. And when she leaves, she smirks at me. "I told you they said I could return it."
Did I miss the full moon or something?