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Sale Fail, Part 12

, , , , , | Right | November 21, 2022

A customer approaches me at the customer service desk, holding an item up.

Customer: “You’re selling this for $49.99, but on the weekend it was $29.99.”

Me: “Yes, it was on sale last week. That sale ended on Monday.”

Customer: “I didn’t feel like buying it then, but I want it now.”

Me: “I’m afraid that sale is over, so you’ll have to pay the retail price.”

Customer: “But I missed the sale. Just give me the sale price.”

Me: “I’m afraid prices are decided by corporate. I can’t lower the price.”

Customer: “Then get me a manager.” 

Me: “I am the manager, ma’am. I cannot lower that price for you.”

Customer: “So, I missed the sale and somehow that’s my fault?”

Me: “Well… yes?”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “S***.”

She slowly walked to the exit, processing being told no for the first time in her life.

Sale Fail, Part 11
Sale Fail, Part 10
Sale Fail, Part 9
Sale Fail, Part 8
Sale Fail, Part 7

You Know The Drill (But You Can’t Have One)

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2022

Some years ago, I read in an ad that a chain of hardware stores was having a sale on an electric drill. It looked really good, so I went over to the local store to buy one.

Once I got there, I looked around but couldn’t see the drill. There was a big sign placed on the floor near some pallets, and it looked like the store was sold out. Since they were still advertising it, though, I picked up the sign and went over to an employee.

Me: “Do you have any more of these drills?”

Employee: “No, they’re all sold out. We have some other ones, though.”

Me: “Sold out already? That was quick.”

Employee: “Yeah, we didn’t get as many as we thought.”

Me: “Okay, but shouldn’t you take these signs down, then? They’re still placed both in the store and outside.”

Employee: “Nah, they can stay up.”

Me: “Oh, so you’re getting more of the drills coming in?”

Employee: “No.”

Me: “But then why are you keeping the signs up?”

The employee just shrugged and proceeded to take the sign back and put it up again. This bothered me. While this store clearly couldn’t be blamed for the online and newspaper ads running despite their local stock being empty, keeping those signs up around the shop was a “lure”. Several different chains had been busted using similar tactics: advertising a product they don’t actually have in stock, hoping to lure customers into the shop, and pushing to sell them something more expensive.

I used my camera phone to take a photo of the employee rehanging the sign — he actually posed for the photo — and sent it to the chain’s corporate office along with a complaint. I also gave the store a negative online review.

A couple of years later, the shop closed down as part of a major relocation. All that time, I never returned there. When I boycott a store, it’s forever.

Warranted Warranty

, , , , , , | Right | September 23, 2022

I’m a software developer. My previous employer would let us occasionally work from home, and some days it would be so sunny and gorgeous that it would be downright depressing to be stuck inside coding (making me almost wish I’d taken a job landscaping). My quick solution to this was to purchase a cheap, basic smaller laptop to take outside to the park or beach and do my coding there.

I settled on the cheapest thing they had — €200. As the salesman was ringing it up, he said:

Salesman: “Would you like to buy a plus warranty for four extra years for €75?”

Me: “Oh, no, that’s not needed. This is just going to be for programming, not for regular use.”

Salesman: “You sure? Because it also covers things like water damage and damage from being dropped, and a small laptop like this can be expensive to repair.”

Me: “I’m fine. This isn’t something I’ll use a lot. And honestly, I’ve bought extended warranties before and ended up never using them.”

Salesman: “I can give you a discount of €50.”

Me: *Eye roll, tongue click* “Okay, fine!”

Salesman: “Great!”

I walked out slightly annoyed at throwing €50 out the window.

Year one through five, the laptop worked great and I found myself using it more than I anticipated.

Then came year six. The touchpad suddenly stopped working. Then, one of the USB slots died. Then, stray lines began appearing on the screen. Then, it would take three hours to boot up or reset the doggone thing. Then, it would randomly freeze while working.

And then, suddenly, I heard a faint POP! come from the motherboard and the system shut off. Permanently.

I remembered I had an extended warranty, but I couldn’t find the document or the receipt (although I still had the box). I was financially strapped and didn’t want to drop another €200 for a new one, so I took the laptop back to the store with my fingers crossed and asked if they could look up my warranty information in the system.

Technician: “You are three weeks shy of it expiring!”

I thought I heard a choir of angels singing as I internally hugged myself. And it just got better from there. The technician summoned a manager over, quietly discussed something with him, and then said:

Technician: “This machine is six years old, and with the problems you are describing, it isn’t going to make sense to repair it only for something else to go wrong. You can pick a new model in its place.”

Manager: “I don’t have any laptops right now that cost €200. The cheapest right now is €350, but we’ll cover the €150 for you.”

The model in question had more advanced hardware and a faster processor than my old one! As he was ringing it up for me:

Manager: “Would you like to buy an extended four-year plus warranty on this for €100?”

Me: “YES!”

Ever since then, I’ve been buying extended warranties on all my electronics. To the salesman who nagged me into buying it, here’s to you!

The “Deal” Is, I OPTED OUT

, , , , , , , | Working | September 6, 2022

My mobile phone contract is with a company that uses telesales to set up contracts. To ensure that any changes to your contract can only be made by you, your account is protected with a security password. Someone with that password can set up a new contract or change your existing one. The company regularly reminds us with security emails not to give out our passwords.

I’ve been receiving calls a few times a day from a withheld number that doesn’t leave a message, so I’m not able to block them or call back. Usually, I can’t pick up as they call during work hours, but today, I’m able to answer.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, I’m calling from [Mobile Phone Provider.]”

Me: “Right, you’ve been calling several times a day for weeks and not leaving a message. Is something wrong? Why haven’t you emailed?”

Caller: “I’m calling with some exciting new deals—”

Me: “Stop. My contract isn’t due for renewal and, even if it was, I opted out of marketing calls.”

Caller: “These deals are to take on a second contract, maybe for a child or your husband—”

Me: “No. You are not allowed to call me with marketing. Take me off your list.”

Caller: “I can only take you off if you give me your security password.”

Me: “No. I’ve got no proof of who you are as you called me, and my password would let you do anything you like to my account. You don’t need it to take me off your dialer.”

I’ll spare you, but here follows a long exchange where he keeps on insisting that I give him my password, and I keep refusing to give confidential information to a stranger.

Me: “I want to speak to your manager.”

The caller immediately hangs up. I assume at this point that it’s a scam, but I want to make sure that my account is still set to not receive marketing. I restart my phone to make certain that the caller is no longer connected, and then I call the provider on their official number.

I get through security verification and explain the situation.

Customer Service: “Okay, I can see from your notes that that was our sales team. I can transfer you back to them now if you give me a moment.”

Me: “No. I’m not supposed to receive marketing. I don’t want them to be calling me. They’ve been calling multiple times a day for weeks on a withheld number.”

Customer Service: “Okay, yes, I can see that you have opted out of marketing, but the sales team is calling with very special offers that you won’t want to miss out on.”

Me: “Under GDPR (US translation: information protection laws), I have control over what you can use my information for, and I’ve opted out. I’m also registered with the Telephone Preference Service.”

Customer Service: “But they’re very good offers!”

Me: “Get me your manager.”

Again, I’ll spare you, but I had the same conversation with the manager, who only agreed to stop the calls when I asked to be transferred to the cancellations team. I’ve got no idea why they thought that “very good offers” meant it was okay to break the law or why they asked their sales agents to ask for a confidential password when making unexpected calls from a withheld number. Thankfully, the calls then stopped.

Sometimes You Have To Go WAY Over Their Heads

, , , , , | Legal | August 11, 2022

My parents assisted my elderly great-aunt (a sister of my grandmother) in her twilight years. They helped with small things at first but more and more as her ability to deal with day-to-day life decreased. This happened when she was still lucid but vulnerable.

A salesman pressured her to buy a high-security and very expensive door “as her landlord required”. Spoiler: by law, if the landlord deems it necessary, he needs to pay for it himself. The salesman deemed her an easy mark and basically bullied her into buying the door.

On the next visit, she told my parents. Of course, my dad tried to annul the sale (which, according to law, should be possible within thirty days) but the company insisted: a sale is a sale.

So, my dad wrote the ombudsman. The thing with contacting governmental departments is that it’s like throwing a pebble onto a pile and, a) nothing happens, b) a few pebbles roll down the pile, or c) there’s a complete avalanche.

Well, it wouldn’t be worth posting if it was one of the first two, would it?

Within days, the company had revenue services come by to peruse the taxes past and present. The employment office came by to check whether all employees were properly declared and all dues were paid. All sales were checked — not only whether they were on the books and all taxes paid, but also whether they were real sales or people were unduly convinced to buy.

The owner who had declared all sales final actually called my dad — who was a bit surprised by the effect of his complaint, as well.

Owner: “Was all this really necessary? We could have solved this without involving the government.”