God Bless The Camera Age

, , , , , , | Working | October 14, 2019

(As a Christmas present, my girlfriend buys me a wicker swivel rocker to replace an old, rickety chair in my den. For those who have never had a swivel rocker, the box is large enough to use as an office desk, and it contains three pieces: the chair’s wicker frame, the cushions that are placed on said frame, and the base that stands it up and allows swiveling and rocking. The Saturday after we get it, we attempt to put it together correctly. “Correctly” means rotating the swivel mechanism in the base so the slot for the bolt is lined up with the hole in the base proper we’re meant to feed the bolts through. However, this mechanism will not swivel. At all. At first, we assume we just have a bad grip on it, so we attempt to put the chair together by reaching into the top of the base. Though cramped, we are able to do it, but not correctly. The chair is very clearly crooked. This is where the alarm bells are raised. It could be that improper assembly resulted in a crooked chair, or it could mean the swivel mechanism itself is crooked and won’t spin because the base is interfering with it. I choose to take a seat and test this theory. The swivel rocker at my parents’ turns on the slightest pressure in my feet. Attempting to turn in this one, however, gets me nothing. Even as I dig in my heels and lean to different sides — an attempt to see if I could dislodge the swivel mechanism — the only thing I manage to do is slide the chair across the floor. The swivel base definitely doesn’t work. Armed with that knowledge, I call the company. After getting through to a human — I assume a sales rep, because a proper title is never given — the following conversation occurs:)

Me: “I recently acquired one of your swivel rockers, but it doesn’t swivel, so I’d like to return it and get a full refund.”

Sales Rep: “I’m sorry to hear that. Can I interest you in a 70% discount?”

Me: “No. The chair doesn’t swivel. It’s defective. I want to return it.”

Sales Rep: “Okay, I’m sorry you’re unhappy. We can refund that just as soon as we get the product back.”

Me: “So, will you be sending a truck?”

Sales Rep: “No. We don’t have any trucks of our own. We outsource deliveries to [Delivery Company]. You’ll have to drive the product to one of our stores for your refund.”

Me: “And how exactly do you propose I put this gigantic box into my car?”

Sales Rep: “Oh, those are kind of big, aren’t they? Well, why don’t you rent a moving truck?”

Me: “Will [Company] be paying for the truck rental?”

Sales Rep: “Why would we pay for your rental truck?”

Me: “Because you’re the ones who won’t send a truck to pick up your defective merchandise.”

Sales Rep: “Sir, I told you we outsource to [Delivery Company]. Their services aren’t free.”

Me: “Neither is truck rental.”

Sales Rep: “Sir, there… Sir, my supervisor is requesting I transfer the call. Please hold.”

(I don’t even hear one note of the hold music.)

Supervisor: “Mr. [Girlfriend’s Last Name], I’ve reviewed the call. We’ll be calling [Delivery Company] to set up an appointment for a pickup. They’ll call you to confirm the date. Will there be anything else?”

(I assure him we’re done and end the call. It should end there, but sadly, fate is never so kind. One day, I come home and find this message waiting for me on my voicemail.)

Voicemail: “Hi, this is [Delivery Company] calling to confirm a pickup scheduled for [Tomorrow]. Please be home on this date so we can pick up your package. Have a nice day.”

(Did you notice there was no time parameter stating when I can expect them tomorrow? So, as far as I can tell, I have about a six-hour warning that the company is coming tomorrow at any point between midnight and midnight the following day. Good thing I wasn’t scheduled to work tomorrow, anyway. So, I spend the day doing chores around my house and finding ways to occupy my time when those are done. The doorbell rings exactly zero times, there is exactly one knock on my front door — which come when the newspaper hits it — exactly one time my creaky gate swings up — the mail carrier — and no notice stating the driver has even been to my property. The following day, I drive down to a company depot to resolve this. The response:)

Customer Service: “Our driver says he rang your bell and knocked on your door, but there was no answer.”

Me: “And what time was that?”

Customer Service: “What?”

Me: “What time did the driver arrive at my house?”

Customer Service: “The file doesn’t say.”

Me: “Do you track your drivers’ vehicles?”

Customer Service: “Yes.”

Me: “Then why not look up when the GPS puts him at my address?”

Customer Service: “We’re not allowed to share the locations of our vehicles without a court order.”

Me: “So, how am I supposed to believe the driver ever actually came to my address yesterday?”

(Predictably, a manager pounces on that moment.)

Manager: “Sir, our driver arrived. It’s not our responsibility to ensure you’re home.”

Me: “All I want to know is the time of the arrival.”

Manager: “4:25 pm.”

Me: “You’re sure it was at my place at 4:25 pm?”

Manager: “Yes! 4:25 pm on the dot at [My Address], according to our computer.”

(I hold up my phone.)

Me: “So, fun little fact: I have a few surveillance cameras on my property. One of them monitors the front door. The feed is recorded on a cloud server I access on any device, such as my phone. So, let’s watch 4:15 to 4:45 yesterday.”

(As you can guess, the only thing my camera sees is a few people walking on the sidewalk. There’s not even a truck present.)

Me: “I didn’t see a truck, did you?”

Manager: “What’s your address again?”

Me: “The one you called out earlier.”

Manager: “Could you just confirm it?”

Me: “What address do you have on file?”

Manager: “[My Address].”

Me: “That’s me. So why was there no truck?”

Manager: *pause* “Any chance you’ll be home tomorrow?”

Me: “What time tomorrow?”

(Miraculously, I got a mere two-hour block of time, the driver actually showed up within that time, and the folks who made the chair gave my girlfriend a full refund. Far more aggravation than there should have been, but at least it worked out.)

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