Thursday, April 19, 2007

Digital destruction

Let me pose a question. If you purchase a $300 digital camera and it breaks "the day after you buy it," do you really wait 150 days to bring it back to the store for a refund?

I swear the whole point of people lately is to make my life miserable, to yell at me and to generally act like fools for no reason at all.

The man - obviously a tourist - wearing a loud tropical shirt, a pair of even louder Bermuda shorts, boat shoes with no socks and a sunburn that would make a lobster blush clomps up with the wife and two equally sunburnt kids in two. I was thinking that all they really needed was a big tub of butter, not a refund!

He's got this digital camera and he's pulling it out of the box and showing me how the lens doesn't telescope out and how some piece on the end of it fell off. I'm like "That's good sir, but I need to see your receipt."

I get the receipt, and it is dated Nov. 17, 2006. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DAYS AGO. The return period on digital cameras is 30 days. I inform him "Sir, I'm sorry, but I can't take this item back. The return period expired after thirty days. I can give you the Sony customer service number if you lost it with the information that came with your camera."

His answer? "We're from Scotland." And that earns one of my patented "And I should care because?"

I'm like "Sir, I can't return it. You can speak with Sony. The camera almost surely has a year warranty. There's nothing else Wal-Mart can do."

And that really sets him off. "Why can't you return it. You give me a new one. You send this one back to Sony and they give you a new one."

"No sir. It doesn't work that way." Yeah. Wal-Mart can take the camera back, but Sony won't give us any money for it. We'll eat that $300 and the next camera you buy will be $310 because of stupid customers like this.

"Well I don't understand why you won't take it back. We came all the way from Scotland?"

And my next sentence was just slightly mean. "You came all the way from Scotland just to return the camera?"

"Well no. We took another vacation." So .... the policy is meant to be broken to fit your vacation schedule?

"Why didn't you try to return the camera to ASDA in the UK? They could have at least given you warranty information or helped you back in November?"

NOTE: ASDA is the United Kingdom grocery chain Wal-Mart purchased a few years ago. They are just like SuperCenters. I poked around the ASDA Web site and couldn't find anything about taking back American merchandise, but I know that we're supposed to take back ALL Wal-Mart merchandise. I've taken back Canadian car batteries before. So I think he could have raised a fuss and gotten it taken back over there. Or at least exchanged. But not five months later here.

"Well they would just tell me no." So you didn't try, and here I am telling you NO as well. Lovely state of affairs here. That's why the British lost the empire you know. Too much tea and no governing.

"Well I want a manager." Certainly.

The manager comes, looks at the camera, looks at the receipt and tells him flat out "I'm sorry, but we can't take this back. Here's the Sony customer service number."

And then the guy goes "I want a U.K. number. This only calls an American number."

Well, THIS IS THE COLONIES. What else am I going to give you? A number to Bangladesh? Been independent since 1776 or thereabouts. And really, most of the people in the store and the country couldn't find Great Britain on a map. So be happy you got a number. And don't buy cameras at Wal-Mart. You probably didn't even pay the import duty on it either!


Jeny said...

"Too much tea and no governing"... you so just made my morning at 3:06am. <3

Evansville said...

ASDA has a very different feel to it than most Wal-marts and returning merchandise is not nearly as common in the UK...I think he was just trying to fool the Americans. And any guy who takes 2 trips to the states in 150 days can afford a better camera or at least a phone call to Sony!

yoyo said...

There's nothing wrong with tea, damnit!

I feel really bad a english person was so obnoxiously rude to you. Please dont think we're all like that.

You really do seem to get the worst customers :(

BitterEmployee said...

OH MY GOD! I had a similiar experience. It had been 5 months since our "guest" purchased her digital camera and her excuse, "I'm from Canada." Long story short, she argued with us for an HOUR AND A HALF to try to make us return it.

MavenofMoxie said...

LOL Funny story.

Scotland and England are quite different. We won our independence from England, not Scotland so the analogies/anecdotes are a little off.

Still another good post.

Bradt said...

If I travel overseas and someone asks me where I am from, I say The States. I do not say Georgia. People have a hard enough time as it is locating Great Britain on a map, why does one have to add the smugness of specifying what part of Great Britain one is from. It just seems like they do not want to admit they are part of Great Britain. Kind of like people from Texas I suppose…

Anyway, Scotland has been part of Great Britain since 1707, 69 years before the colonies revolted. So your analogies/anecdotes work very well.

Anonymous said...

Because England and Scotland are separate bloody countries, whereas Texas is a mere State in the Union. "Great Britain" is a geographic term, not a country. If you're REALLY going to try and be clever and push the point, then the combined country is the "United Kingdom" (... of Great Britain and Northern Island).

If I told you I was from "Lancashire", THAT would be taking it a level too far.

MavenofMoxie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

England/Scotland Potato/Potahto ;)

(Yes I know they are different countries, just trying to lighten the mood.)

j-yo said...

So, you see, there are idiots all over the world. We just happen to have one as our President. ;-)

FARfetched said...

Amazing. Just when you think you've heard it all, someone comes up with something even more inventive!

The "we're from Scotland" excuse sounds a little fishy: if returning the camera was that important, why didn't they do it first thing? Given the sunburn, they had to have been on the beach for a day or two at least.

Anonymous said...

I just read your blog about the digital camera and had to laugh, because it sounds like exactly what the customers do at the place I work for. Sometimes they think they can call up and return merchandise that they have purchased a year or more ago and still get a refund and then when they are told no, they throw fits and start screaming for a supervisor.

Anonymous said...

would like to say to the person who said they feel bad about an "english" person being rude - the guy was Scots!!! Us englanders would never be rude! :)
love your blog.

Anonymous said...

"That's why the British lost the empire you know. Too much tea and no governing."

Oh, I'm so stealing that quote!

Anonymous said...

Walmart sucks. I ordered a crib from and it came without hardware. 3 (Three)weeks and multiple phone calls later, still no hardware. Finally I took the crib to my local walmart store which does not carry that crib and they couldn't figure out what to do to return it. 3 managers had NO idea how to return it to my credit card or to get me a store credit. FINALLY I just said I'd go look for another crib and pay the difference. they were so relieved. WTF!!