Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Save a buck, burn in hell

When I bought my laptop last year I picked up a floor model that was for sale. The sales clerk took it to the back to box it up for me and soon I was on my way to PC heaven. Not long after getting home, the store where I made the purchase called me to let me know that they accidentally put my laptop in the wrong box. Because of this mistake, I had been charged for Dell's more rudimentary model, but actually went home with the elaborate one. As they explained the situation.. I braced for the inevitable. "You owe us more money." But instead they humbly and pleadingly asked me to bring the box back to trade for the one that my computer actually belonged to, promising a big discount coupon on future purchases if I would be so kind. An unusual shopping experience yes, but by no means unpleasant.

Contrast that to what happened to me today. I ordered and paid for a set of four new tires last week. When I went to have them installed today, the "tire master" scrunched up his face as he looked at the sales slip, stammered a bit, and then informed me that they messed up and didn't charge me enough for the tires. He followed this announcement by stretching out his hand, requesting my card so he could ring up the difference. I smiled in reply and said "surely you're going to waive the difference, right?" Not so easy.

The manager was called down, he immediately sided with me. The tire master then, believe it or not, argued with the manager that I should be required to pay!!! (I know...I'll let you catch your breath and calm down....................ok, back to the story) So the manager looked at me and said "I'll let your conscience dictate what you should do, this is your personal decision." (I know...more shock and disbelief, I'll give you time.............................ok, back to the story.)

Of course, I don't give them the money. At that point I should have had them load the tires into the back of my van so I could take them somewhere where the technicians don't hate me, but instead I wait for them to do it. And wait, and wait and wait. Two hours later I learn that after our moment at the front desk, the tire master had left in a huff and his coworker was left there working the tire bay alone and at his own sweet pace. I watched as he would stop working on my van to take new customers, fulfill their orders, and then go back to my van.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so in naivete, I walked across the store to the bakery and bought them a giant chocolate cake and set it on the front desk. Thirty minutes later he came out with my keys and wouldn't even look me in the eyes. I interrupted his icy, self-absorbed revery and asked "do you think I'm evil?" He returned "do you go to church every Sunday?" "Yes" I replied. "Then I think you're evil".

"So you won't accept my peace offering?" I followed. He picks up the cake and hands it to me across the desk. I then ask "do you go to church every Sunday?" His smug reply "no". You fill in what I should have said then, something like: "Well, if you did go to church they'd teach you not to judge people as evil based on one interaction with them." But instead, I just took my cake and walked out the door, feeling badgered and mystified. Did I just pay $500 to be treated like a doormat?

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