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Personality Flips Quicker Than A Key Change

, , , | Right | March 2, 2020

(I work as the assistant manager and lesson coordinator at a music store. We’re just coming off the Christmas season, meaning returns are being dumped on us left and right. We’re a mom-and-pop store, so returns hurt us more than a corporation; we try to avoid them if we can, and our return policy is very strict to discourage abuse of the system. I sold one gentleman a keyboard for his wife for Christmas. He comes in, along with his wife. The board I sold him was a great, affordable, mid-tier, 88-key board, and it’s one of our best sellers. While he was very easy to work with originally, she’s the one doing all the talking now, while he stands back looking dejected.)

Wife: “I received this keyboard for Christmas, and it’s just too big and has too many keys! I don’t need all that… stuff!”

(She motions to a very small, cheap keyboard that is over $400 less than hers, which I generally only sell to parents meaning to give it to their kids.)

Wife: “I want something more like this!”

(I realize this type of return would involve both a $400 hit to the store’s day, plus a hit to my commission, and I know full well the board she got is ten times better than the one she is talking about exchanging for.)

Me: “Well, I understand that this bigger board seems overwhelming, but you have the full range of fully weighted keys, so it’s like a real piano. This other keyboard isn’t as expensive, but it really is meant for young kids and isn’t nearly the quality of yours.”

Wife: “This cheaper one just seems much more like what I really wanted. The one I got is just too big!”

(We go back and forth like this for some time. After a while, I’m forced to brace myself and approach the touchy subject of our store’s after-Christmas return policy: seven days after Christmas for store credit only. She’s visibly shocked, but I quickly try to shift the mood by offering to put the store credit toward lessons for her.)

Wife: “Well, actually, my grandson has been talking about lessons for a while, and he loves it here. Maybe we could take them together. That way he could use the guitar he just got!”

(After a bit more work, I have her laughing and joking with me and she seems less likely to do the exchange at all. The husband is even feeling comfortable enough to chime in now and again. She says she wants to give it some thought and turns to leave. She starts to walk away, and then turns on her heel to face me suddenly.)

Wife: “I just want to let you know, I am extremely unsatisfied! This return policy is absolutely ridiculous and I will not be bringing my grandson here for lessons! I cannot believe how hard it is to just get the keyboard I want — absolutely ridiculous! This has just been an awful experience!”

(I was stunned into silence by the split-second change in her demeanor. She stormed out and I had to step away to collect myself for a minute. I ended up being told by my manager to call her and offer her to do the exchange plus her money back on her credit card, making me look like the idiot for trying to stick with his policies. All because her husband wanted to get something nice for her for Christmas, and she decided to be ungrateful and throw a fit until she got her way. As much as I was fuming mad for the way I was treated, I felt worse for him, especially when they came back for their exchange and he barely uttered a word. Poor dude.)

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