The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

The death of service

Posted by David Leslie on January 26, 2005

It would be one thing to post yet another tail of horror at the hands of the burger jockeys. Yet it is quite another when an employee of one of the swankiest national cook store in the swankiest mall in Columbus, suffers from a total brain lock which was about to put me down $17.99 + tax.

The store is William- Sonoma know for its quality kitchen gear that you pay out the nose for. My Aunt had picked me up for Christmas, a duel probe digital cooking thermometer. Problem was that I had already picked up a nice one to do the holiday Prime Rib. So my plan was to return the thermometer and get a nice digital kitchen scale. I didn’t have the sales ticket so I had $17.99 + tax in store credit which I used for the scale.

The scale I picked was more computer than scale. Over 900 foods had been preloaded into this thing so that it would spit out the nutritional information based on the weight of the item. It was too much. So I went back to return the scale and just get store credit for the thermometer.

Now I worked in retail for 5 years. This is a simple transaction. Return the scale, credit my card what was placed on it then give me store credit for the rest. This was not to be so simple.

A lady in her late 40’s helped me and without hassle returned the scale. She then handed me my credit slip which was short the $17.99 +tax for the thermometer.
“Excuse me, but where is my store credit?” I asked
“I credited your account so we’re settled” she replied.
“But what about my return? Should I get store credit for that?” Stunned that she’s not getting this.
“No. The return was used to reduce the price of the scale. I return the scale at that reduced priced. You didn’t pay full price for the scale. Do you understand?” She said just one tone away from patronizing.
“But your not giving me back the thermometer that was used to reduce that price nor its value in store credit. So I’m out the vaule of the thermometer. Do you understand my point here?” I asked still stunned that I’m having this conversation. I mean this is William-Sonma! If this was Wall-Mart, that would be one thing but here..

She then went to a co-worker and asked him to come over and explan to me the situation. He looks at the sales ticket for the scale, looks at her return slip then looks at me and then without any preamble “We owe him $17.99 +tax in store credit”.

At this point I could hear her brain cells being crushed as they tried to figure this out. Just as I had, he walk her step by step and she still didn’t get it. They argeed that she would go back to the floor and that he would finish the transaction.. Which he then messes up by not backing out, wait for it, the $17.99 +tax. At this point, he gives up. We’re level and he doesn’t want to do another void.

So before you go and whack that kid for not knowing how to count back change.. remember at least they didn’t try to short you.


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