A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Saturday, March 8, 2008

35 minutes of my life I’ll never get back

My husband, Ed, has had this "thing" lately with having a wireless head set so he can watch TV in bed without disturbing me. This would be for the five minutes (on a good night) that he actually stays awake after I fall asleep!

The first headset he bought from one of those companies that send the little catalogues with a gazillion gadgets you can buy at low cost. And for a reason. The headset worked once, then it went kaput. The second round was WalMart online. These cost a whopping $20 and it took a week for them to arrive. Ed was so excited. Opened up the box, took the headset out of the cellophane bag, and that was when he noticed a battery floating loose in the box. "This is a returned item!!" he unhappily stated. Ed has issues with EVER buying returned items because you never know when something might be missing. And, lo and behold, the transmitter for this product was missing. I mean a wireless headset without a transmitter is basically just a set of leather earmuffs.

When he called the company, they said he had two options – send the item back for a replacement. Or head to the nearest WalMart. Well, going to the store had to be easier, right!! Heh, heh, heh. So we walk into the store yesterday and the place was relatively empty (it was 9:30am). Went to Customer Service where this very cute, very young girl asked if she could help us.

Ed: I need to return this headset – the transmitter was missing.
Girl: Okay, so what was the problem with it? Didn't it work?
Ed: The transmitter was missing!
Stray customer who walks up to counter: Hey, I've been wanting to get me one of them. How does it work?
Ed: Don't know, the transmitter was missing.
Stray Customer: Is the sound good?
Ed: Couldn't use it – the transmitter was missing!!!
Girl: Do you want a replacement or a refund?
Ed: I'd prefer a replacement if you have them in stock.
Girl: Do you have a receipt?
Ed: Bought it online. This is the form I have plus their e-mail telling me to take it back to a store.
Stray Customer: Yup, gotta get me one of them.
Girl: Oh, I'll have to call my supervisor
Supervisor: Hi. So is there something wrong with these?

Ed: (through gritted teeth) I ordered this online, it came, the transmitter was missing
Supv: Oh, so they don't work?
Ed: That's right
Supv: Yeah, the transmitter would be an important part
Ed: Ya think?!?!?
Girl: They would really like to have a replacement
Supv: I'll see if we have one in stock. But I don't have access to the computer so I'll have to call the manager.

About this time we hear a voice over the PA system telling all the associates that there is a mandatory meeting in 2 minutes. One minute later, the announcement stated that there was a party for all associates starting in one minute! A friggin' party in the morning during store hours! Suddenly all these people with blue vests were heading to party central. Except for the Customer Service girl. Apparently she wasn't invited. Oh, yes, and the guy by the door checking receipts also stayed in his spot.

Supv: Let me call the manager. [one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy] Sorry, he's in a meeting [interpretation – party] right now so it might be another 5 minutes. I'll try to go find him and ask for help.

So we sat down on the metal bench and waited. By now the Stray Customer was sashaying up to another person and asking about what she was returning. The Girl was just standing there not quite knowing what to do and not wanting to catch our eye because she didn't know what to tell us. We waited, went to the bathroom, waited. Finally the phone at the desk rang. Girl picked it up, looked at us, looked back at the phone, the hung up.

Girl: Sorry, the manager is tied up in the meeting (!!!) so it will be another 10 minutes
Ed: How about if we just walk over to the Electronics section and see if we can find a replacement

We walked over there, nada. Walked back to the Customer Service desk and told the Girl that there were none of these headsets on the shelves so could we just get the refund and be done with it. Oh, no. Not so easy. She had to wait for the supervisor because she wasn't authorized to give refunds. So we took our spot back on the bench and waited. A phone call came in, Girl picked up the phone and said "Ok, I'll transfer you". Waited some more. Girl staring into space. Two minutes go by and the phone rings again. Girl says, "Oh, no one answered, sorry. I'll have them call you back they might be in the MeetingI".

Finally the supervisor comes back apologizing profusely for the delay. She said the manager couldn't find the item in the inventory system. We said that we knew that because we had actually checked the shelves. Then she swiped her electronic thingy over the UPC and it came up as being in the system! So now we had another call to the manager trying to figure it out. The manager then came to the desk to try to help out. After several minutes, they discovered that she was reading the electronic thingy wrong and they, indeed, did NOT have any of these headsets in stock.

Supv: I'm really sorry, I know how much you wanted these things. Would you like to go to another store and try to see if they have them in stock?
Ed (and me): NO!!! Please just give us the refund. (OK, we were probably a little too insistent at this point, but I mean, really!)

So she began processing it but said that the manager had to sign so she called him again to come to the desk. Apparently the party was over because he actually showed up in a minute or so.

35 minutes and $22 later, we left the store.


Sharon Kay said...

Wow.....I see what you mean about the 35 min. I hope we all learned a lesson from your visit to Wallmart and remember to neer by on line........

Sharon Kay said...

Wow.....I see what you mean about the 35 min. I hope we all learned a lesson from your visit to Wallmart and remember to neer by on line........

Jenni said...

Yet another reason to avoid Walmart!

namaste said...

ugh! i hate when things go this way! such a pain. but i loved reading another one of your well-told stories!



ira said...

We almost bought a microwave oven from an online site. By chance before giving finalizing I decided to check a few blogs regarding the same(bless blog-world)!

I found a two page entry about how someone had bought the same company microwave oven and his tales about how fed up he was and how they seem to forget all the promises they make about fixing it/replacing it!



I've been told that if you order it online you must send it back through the online services address. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.......can anyone get their act straight? Frustrating! And what was up with that ANNOYING "stray customer!!" I love the way you write!