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!