The Wal-Mart I work at serves a VERY large population of snowbirds — people who come to Florida for the winter and then spend the summers somewhere Up North. These people, usually wealthy, are any retail wage slave's worst nightmare. They're either wealthy and entitled or poor and so cheap they will argue over a penny on the price of cat food and nickel and dime you to death.
On the whole, the wealthy ones are worse, because at least I understand being poor. I grew up not having money and I still sometimes have to choose between pills and paying my student loans. But anyway. The wealthy snowbirds are far worse, just because no one has ever told them "NO" before.
So this couple comes up Sunday night. Expensive clothes — linen pants and nice shirt for him, designer something for her, probably 10K in jewelry on her and they both have a Rolex. And they've got a "question."
Now sometimes, the question is "where is Electronics?" but this time the question was this:
HUSBAND: "We own rental property. We bought a three TV's and three DVD/VCR players here last April. We went back up north in May and when we got back none of the VCRs work."
WIFE: "We bought them at this store in April."
HUSBAND TO WIFE: "Shut up, I'm talking." Wife gives husband a dirty, dirty look.
HUSBAND: "Now, we don't have the receipts or anything."
WIFE TO HUSBAND: "Because you always throw the receipts for everything out."
HUSBAND TO WIFE: "Would you please shut up." Wife gives husband another dirty look.
HUSBAND: "We've got all these things. We spent a lot of money here and we want to know what we can do with them. We'd like to just get some new DVD players for our rental property."
WIFE: "We just want to exchange them. We bought them and then we went back up north and we don't know what happened to them."
I kept trying to get a word in edgewise, but they kept talking over each other and then over me.
ME: "I'm very sorry, but you can only return items in stores for 90 days. If you bought them last April, it is well past that. If you know what brand you bought, I can give you the manufacturer's warranty for them. Most items like TVs & VCRs have at least a year's warranty."
WIFE: "I don't think that's fair. We purchased them at this store less than a year ago."
ME: "I'm sorry, but that's our company's policy. You're not going to be able to return the items to a Wal-Mart store."
HUSBAND: "What else can we do?"
ME: "You can also look for the warranty in the books and papers that came with the electronics when you purchased it."
WIFE: "Oh, he threw all that out when he threw out the receipts."
HUSBAND: "Will you stop saying that?"
WIFE: "So you're saying that even though I bought them here I can't bring them back here?
ME: "Ma'am, you can only return items in stores for 90 days. I can only give you the warranty information for those items."
WIFE: "Well, that's not fair. When I worked for Hoover we took stuff back for two years." Maybe that's why Hoover's parent company Maytag is #435 on the Fortune 500 and Wal-Mart is #2. And yeah, if I'm reading the chart right, Maytage LOST $81.9 million in 2005.
ME: "Ma'am, you're not going to be able to return them at a store."
WIFE: "Well, that's not right. I want a manager right now." (Lady, if life truly worked according to what was "right," you'd be dog food. Sales clerks must cringe at the sound of your Gucci-footed approach. Entitled cow.)
ME: "One moment ma'am."
So I get a manager. One who is in no mood for this crap. Especially not on a Sunday night when said manager has been on a register for three hours. Especially not crap from April. Eight-month-old VCRs that probably got fried in a power surge.
WIFE: "You're telling me that I have merchandise I cannot return to this store?"
MANAGER: "Ma'am, our policy is 90 days, and that is only with a receipt. You don't even have a receipt."
WIFE: "I paid good money for those and I expect to be taken care of."
MANAGER: "Ma'am, this policy is posted here and in electronics. The store itself cannot carry a lifetime warranty on our items."
WIFE: "But they weren't even used."
MANAGER: "Ma'am, I can't do anything for you. I'm sorry the merchandise did not meet your expectations, but I can't take back eight-month-old merchandise."
WIFE: "When I worked for Hoover, we took back Claims from Wal-Mart that were all dirty and junky and that were years and years old. You should do the same for me."
MANAGER: "That may be ma'am, but we can't take your merchandise back. Have a good night."
And the manager walks off. And the woman is still nearly in shock and about to have an apoplectic fit near the end of the counter. I love to see rich cows have their tails twisted.