Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Outraged!


I bought one of those retractable leashes for Levi a couple weeks ago for $35. Within ten days, it no longer retracted, but dribbled sixteen feet out of its plastic housing. Neither Levi nor I misused the leash, it was just badly made. Once Levi went to full extension, the leash never snapped back as it was meant to.


I went back to the large, national chain, where I purchased the leash, expecting no difficulty. With the economy as it is, and the fierce competition for every consumer dollar, I naively assumed that minimal standards of customer service prevailed. As I'm sure most of you know from your own experiences, they don't.


I brought the leash to the register and showed the cashier how it was malfunctioning.


"Where's your receipt?"


"I don't have it. I bought it almost two weeks ago and I didn't know it was going to break."


"We won't exchange it without a receipt."



I asked to speak to the manager. The cashier, "Cesar," told me that he was the manager.


"What's the problem," I asked. "You sell these leashes here."


"How do I know you only had it two weeks?"


Understand what's happening. "Cesar," the manager of the Scottsdale location of one of the largest retail pet food and supply outlets in the country, is calling me a liar. He is suggesting that I picked up a broken leash somewhere, a retractable model that he just happened to sell, and then brought it into his store to exchange for a new one. Then what? Did he think I'd sell the new one on the black market and make a cool $5 profit? I'm just saying, as a scheme for ripping off pet stores, the scenario "Cesar" was imagining was pretty low rent indeed.



It is true I didn't have the receipt with me. Would you keep the receipt for a dog leash? Regardless of your answer, consider this. This store I'm referring to has a frequent shopper program, with a card like you use at a grocery store, which was used to buy this leash. They therefore have internal records of everything I've ever bought there. A credit card was also used, which could have easily been checked if, indeed, "Cesar," had any doubt that I had purchased the leash as I had claimed. I don't think he doubted me, though. I think he wanted the store to hang on to its money, regardless of the quality of the merchandise it sold to innocent consumers.


"Cesar," the manager, instead of trying to resolve the issue, dug his heels into the unstated, but necessary, conclusion that I was a liar and a thief. Had he been suited to retail management, he might have looked at the activity on my frequent shopper card. I have, in the past, spent literally thousands of dollars a year at this store. I did tell him this, as I flung the leash down the aisle of the store.


"Don't you want that?" he asked, unbelievably enough.


"No! It's a piece of fucking shit!"


"If you're going to use language like that, I'll have to ask you to leave."


I left. I'm writing corporate today. There are a lot of people out of work these days, and "Cesar" needs to be one of them. If this company doesn't condemn "Cesar's" actions, and back up their words by firing him, I'll have no choice but to assume this outrageous customer service is company policy. If they try to in any way justify the treatment I received because I swore during the exchange, I will remind them that many of their customers swear, and that even those who don't, normally, would swear if they had to deal with an intransigent asshole like "Cesar." Then, if I have the opportunity, I'll swear at them.


I drove across town to this store's only real competitor and purchased a much nicer new leash for only $20. While there, I spoke to the manager, and told her my experience at the other store. She's the one who told me my receipt could have been simply obtained by the other store, via my frequent shopper card, or credit card. I thanked her, and told her that even though it meant driving a mite farther, she had a new customer who was going to spend thousands of dollars a year at her store. She seemed pleased.


You may have guessed the name of the store "Cesar" allegedly managed (I don't know if he was really the manager. The store was pretty empty, and he was a greasy, shifty-eyed, kind of dirtbag, so he might have been lying.) I'll give the name of the store after I talk with corporate. If they don't fire "Cesar," issue me an apology, and give me $35 back, I'll assume "Cesar" represents the larger corporate position, and I'll gladly name the company, and store location, and actively talk shit about them for the rest of my life, frequent their largest competitor, and try to influence my friends and acquaintances to avoid them as well. After all, if we customers don't stand up for consumer dignity, who will?



I hope this isn't giving too much away, but the competitor's name is PetCo, and they treat their customers very well.


Disclosure: PetCo is NOT a sponsor of this piece!

7 comments:

SGR said...

Woof! I do not recommend using retractable leash ... for lots of reasons. The best ways is to use a regular collar or a premier gentle harness and a leather leash. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Rich Sands said...

Sugar is right, in general. Levi needs a retractable leash for a particular reason, but in general they're fairly dangerous, more for the human than the dog. I've damn near lost a finger with one of them!

sadermaxx said...

I use a retractable leash too, and although they break quite often they should last longer than two weaks .

Rich Sands said...

I know they don't last forever. last one lasted 3 years, no complaints.
By the way, the store that did this: This is their return policy posted on the internet, in relevant part -

Returns or exchanges without a receipt - or with a receipt older than 60 days

Bring the product and a valid ID to any store and you'll be issued a merchandise return card for the most recent sale amount. If you're exchanging a product, any positive balance will be refunded in the original form of tender.

My point being, my request was not in the least bit unusual. Awful customer service is just maddening, and though it could be accepted with quiet grace, why do that when you have the internet?

Anonymous said...

The store was pretty empty, and he was a greasy, shifty-eyed, kind of dirtbag, so he might have been lying.) I'll give the name of the store after I talk with corporate. If they don't fire "Cesar," issue me an apology, and give me $35 back, I'll assume "Cesar" represents the larger corporate position, and I'll gladly name the company, and store location, and actively talk shit about them for the rest of my life, frequent their largest competitor, and try to influence my friends and acquaintances to avoid them as well. After all, if we customers don't stand up for consumer dignity, who will?

Seriously who do you think you are to demand that a person lose their job. Or to call them a dirtbag or greasy. I think the only dirtbag here is you. Get over yourself!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that you are one of those whiney, my shit doesnt't stink people from Scottsdale. Why do you think that rules don't apply to you. I would say that the store is better off not having you as customer.

Rich Sands said...

Who do I think I am? I'm the customer, friend, and the one telling the story. The only reason greasy dirtball will lose his job (if he does) is he was a dick to a customer, not because I "demanded" it. Turns out his store kind of has a serious policy against being a dick to a customer, even if the customer were wrong. In my case, I was 100% right. When the company gave me double my money back to cool me down, Cesar had a chance to apologize but didn't. You know what? Fuck Cesar. Someone else needs his job, and will do it better.
As for the rules, they DO apply to me. That's why the store apologized, gave me double my money back, and is conducting an investigation into Cesar's behavior. The store manager called and BEGGED me to remain a customer, and when I went in today he treated me properly, unlike "Cesar."
And my shit happens top smell good, to me at least.
But thanks for reading the blog. Keep it up!

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