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    Sometimes, Free Just Ain’t Enough

    , | Duluth, MN, USA |

    (Many years ago, in an electronics store far, far away…)

    Woman: “I just bought this computer and I can’t connect to Prodigy.”

    (eMachine had offered a $400 rebate for users who signed up for a year of Prodigy ISP, but the modems in their PCs wouldn’t work with Prodigy. Doh!)

    Me: “Yes, there’s a problem with some of the eMachines not working with Prodigy. I’ll put a new modem in for you and it will work. You can come back in about an hour to pick it up.”

    Woman: “I don’t want you to do that!”

    Me: “Uh… what?”

    Woman: “I don’t see why I have to get this fixed!”

    Me: “Unfortunately, your computer has a faulty modem, and the problem was found after it left the factory. However, I can replace your broken modem with a brand new one for free, and that will take care of the problem.”

    Woman: “But I don’t want you messing around in my computer!”

    Me: “This is my job–I install computer components all day.”

    Woman: “Well, I don’t want you messing around in there breaking things!”

    Me: “Replacing a modem is not that complicated. It’s like putting a new tire on a car.”

    Woman: “But if I just bought a new car, I shouldn’t need to have the tires changed in order to get it to work!”

    Me: “Yes, I understand that. I apologize about the faulty modem, and I’m offering to fix it for free.”

    Woman: “Well, I changed my mind. I don’t want that! Just cancel my Prodigy subscription.”

    Me: “…so you’d want to keep the broken modem?”

    Woman: “Yes, I want to keep it. Cancel my Prodigy subscription.”

    Me: “Ok, you got a $400 rebate for signing up for a year’s worth of Prodigy. If you cancel it, you’ll owe us $400.”

    Woman: *yelling* “WHAAAATTTTT? I’M NOT PAYING EXTRA MONEY FOR A BROKEN MODEM! I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY MORE MONEY! YOU’RE JUST TRYING TO RIP ME OFF!”

    Me: “You got $400 off of your computer because you signed up for a year of Prodigy. If you cancel, then you have to pay the full price! How can you not see that?”

    Woman: “THIS IS B*LLSH*T! YOU’RE TRYING TO STEAL FROM ME! I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!”

    (We got her security instead.)