Not A Defective Loophole

, , , , , | Working | January 28, 2019

(In the 1970s, my dad gets a new piece of stereo equipment. It costs him a good chunk of his “starving student” budget — in all honesty, a larger chunk than is wise — so he’s very careful in bringing it home and setting it up. Despite the TLC, however, the equipment doesn’t work. Just flat-out knackered. Pining for the fjords. A very expensive paperweight. So, he puts it back in its box and takes it and his receipt back to the store.)

Dad: “Hi. I’d like to return some defective equipment.”

Clerk: “Do you have the receipt?”

Dad: “Yup.”

Clerk: “Sure, we can do that. Just give it here and… Wait. Sorry, the box has been opened. We can’t accept a return, only exchange it.”

Dad: “What? How was I supposed to know it was defective without taking it out?”

(Apart from the issue of money in his youth, which he freely admits these days he was daft with, my dad is a logical, intelligent person. The idea that he should psychically determine whether an item is defective before opening the box offends his scientific sensibilities. As to why he requests a return instead of an exchange in the first place, I suspect the penny dropped on the drive back that he needs the money more. But in any event, this happens:)

Clerk: “Sorry, sir. That’s the rule; I can’t change it.”

Dad: “Okay, can I talk to someone higher up?”

Clerk: “Sure.”

(The clerk gets the manager, who asks my dad what the problem is. My dad explains. The manager reiterates that, indeed, they can only exchange opened boxes, not accept returns on them.)

Dad: “Okay, I’ll exchange it, then.”

(The stereo equipment is exchanged for an unopened but otherwise identical item.)

Dad: “And now I’d like to return this one.”

(Up until now, I think everyone has behaved fairly reasonably, but at that, you’d think my dad had chucked a dead cat in the manager’s face.)

Manager: “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”

Dad: “Why not? It’s unopened. You said I can return unopened items.”

Manager: “You can’t do that! It’s fraud! I’M CALLING THE POLICE!”

(And, no kidding, the manager calls 911 because a customer found a loophole.)

Cop: *when he shows up* “What’s going on?!”

(The manager relates the whole story honestly, just in a ranty way; he seems to genuinely believe that what my dad wants to do is fraud. My dad and the clerk both calmly agree on the facts of the situation.)

Cop: *laughs, addresses the manager* “He’s got you there. Give him his money back. I’m not leaving ’til you do.”

(The manager fumed, but my dad got his money back and left. The cop left, still chortling. Alas, history does not record if the poor clerk found a non-insane boss to work for.)

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