Sunday, August 18, 2013

No regrets, returns, refunds or exchanges

I would not classify myself as a frequent or expert shopper.  (My mother is currently sighing heavily, shaking her head in disgust and beating herself up asking, “How could my daughter have become such a disappointment? How embarrassing!”) My mother, on the other hand, would win the Olympic gold in shopping if there was such a thing.  Despite her attempts to train me well, I have resisted, and today that has come back to bite me.

About a week ago I bought a small grill.  It is similar to a George Foreman in that it is plugged into the wall and used inside.  But it is definitely not a brand I’ve seen before. You seldom see well known international brands here in terms of small appliances.  To put this in slightly better perspective the writing on the box was in Arabic ONLY.  No English, no Spanish, no German, only Arabic.

I brought the grill home, assembled it, and then tried to use it.  Despite numerous attempts, it would not work.  So I took it, along with the receipt, back to the store and told them I didn’t want it because it didn’t work and I wanted my money back.  That request was not well received.  I was told the following: 
  1. “We do not take returns."
  2. “You should have brought it back sooner.”  I had bought it 10 days prior.  I asked if I bought something and wanted to return it how long did I have.  They said, “Seven days.  But it is up to the manager’s discretion if he wants to accept the return.”  I responded, “But, you just said you don’t take returns.” “No, we don’t take returns.” (Now I was just confused.) 
  3.  After they attempted to see if it worked and it didn’t they told me, “You obviously broke it, so we won’t take it back.”  I asked if they would exchange it for one that worked properly and was answered with, “No, we don’t do exchanges.” 
In the U.S. stores readily accept returned purchases within reason.  Some retailers have branded themselves as providing excellent customer service and favorable return policies.  Nordstrom’s is one example.  Nordstrom’s is a department store which allowed a customer to return several car tires, a product it doesn’t sell, in an effort to forge good customer relations. Here is a story about the Nordstrom's tires if you are curious. However here in Botswana, there is no culture of returning purchases, thus when attempted, it is generally rebuffed.

Disappointed, I returned home with the broken grill.  Fortunately, I am my father’s daughter.  He is an engineer and instilled in me from an early age the need to fix STUFF.  (Thanks Dad. Sorry Mom about failing you on the shopping.) Any stuff.  Not just your stuff, but other people’s stuff too.  Whether they want their stuff fixed or not!

When I was a teenager I sprained my ankle late at night and my Dad took me to the Emergency Room.  As we were sitting there my father noticed the automatic door was malfunctioning, opening and closing continuously despite not being activated by someone actually trying to use the door.  He walked over, took his pocket knife out of his shirt pocket and used the mini-screwdriver to fix the door.  I still laugh today while writing this and remembering that scene.  Yep, that’s my Dad.

Harnessing my inner Tom Sr. I looked around all the various tools, supplies and other belongings in my house.  Eventually I came up with several paperclips, duct tape, a thumbdrive, and a teenty tiny little box.  It’s not so pretty, but I my grill now works:

1 comment:

  1. you're like an academic MacGyver!