Friday, October 12, 2007

Close call for Tall's

After lunch with Mich yesterday I had to drive up to University Village to return a camera battery I bought a couple of weeks ago, right before we left for L.A. I told Mich I had a bad feeling about the pending transaction, and she contributed her own little misanthrope stories about annoying sales clerks and rotten return policies.

Sure enough, when I got to Tall's Cameras I could tell right away that it wasn't going to be easy, even though I had the original packaging and receipt. I explained to the sales dude that I had charged the battery at home, but that when I put it in the camera I got no power. I even told him that I appreciated how the original clerk had tried to save me money by suggesting I buy this generic replacement for $40, rather than the $60 Canon version. Maybe that had something to do with why it didn't work?

No, he said, that shouldn't matter, the batteries are identical. He examined it and pronounced that it was "damaged," and sure enough you could see a little bubble along one edge. Well, OK, I said, if I can just get a refund I'll be on my way.

"No," he said, "I can't take back a damaged battery without my manager's approval. Also, this was purchased more than seven days ago so that's going to be an issue."

I could feel my blood getting that medium-chemo-simmer feeling. Cool as I could muster, I asked to speak with the manager. Oh, the clerk said, he's not here right now.


Turned out the boss was only on his lunch break, not off for a month in Europe, so I decided to walk around U Village for an hour -- dangerous, because with the Apple store right there I could easily blow several hundred bucks trying to recover 40. Plus I'd had to drive across town, in traffic, and burn a couple hours of my day. Not that I had anything else to do, but still.

After a while I walked back to the camera place. While I was waiting for the manager I noticed some more fine print on the return policy -- absoultely no refunds after seven days; batteries will not be accepted for refund or return if the package has been opened (hmm, how else would you know it doesn't work?). So I was all prepared to go postal and then slunk back to the car $40 to the bad.

But, miracle! The manager barely glanced at the battery or the receipt. OK, that's fine, he said, and he credited my debit card.

I was so pleasantly surprised I almost made the mistake of buying another battery there.


Rita said...

I LOVE a happy ending! Hurray for Talls Camera.

Not so lucky here today. A red battery dash light could have meant: need a new battery, or need a new altenator. Required testing, of course.

Guess what!

Mark said...

Whichever's more expensive ... um, alternator? both? new car?

Mich said...

Poor Mom.

And I had told Mark that the printer guy was so fast sending you a new one, but it sounds like maybe that went south?

The Talls story restores a little faith.

I'll post my retail update later this weekend, after we attempt to return TWO defective things we bought last weekend -- a pair of Levis and a lingerie laundry bag. GRR!

Rita said...

The printer story is the most classic of all. But, after today, I don't have the energy to tell it.

Mich said...

I'll get the tale from you on the phone tomorrow. Then maybe I can ghost-write it for you here.