You know, the theme for next week is supposed to be “love”, and I’m pretty sure I’m either going to have to choose a different theme or wait another week before grappling with it. While I have already written some pieces on the matter, and I could likely write some more, I fear that what may come out, if I finish them, is a lot of sour, angry, “stuff.” Why? Funny you should ask.
Let me preface this by saying that, having worked retail in my younger days, I know that some people will blatantly lie to you, some will steal, some let their kids run around like maniacs, and that, as a “sales associate”, you are very low in the food chain, in the eyes of the customer. Having that experience, I tend to take a kinder approach whenever I enter a store.
If there’s a long line, I won’t complain that there aren’t other available registers or that the person at the register is slow. If I have to return an item, I make sure I have everything available to make the transaction as carefree as possible. If something is rung up incorrectly, I’m almost apologetic when I have to point it out.
Let’s talk about my trip yesterday to a large “always low prices” chain store. I generally do not have issues with this chain; I have fed them thousands of dollars over the years of stopping-in-for-toothpaste-and-walking-out-with-a-lampshade-a-rack-of-lamb-4-jars-of-peanut-butter-and-typically-forgetting-the- toothpaste excursions. The cereal aisle is way too cramped, the associates are not overly friendly, there is never anyone with a key in the electronics department, and God forbid you need help with the photo processing machine thing. But, they DO always have low prices, so, I deal with it.
In my zombified shufflings yesterday, far from the garbage bag aisle (which was the only thing I needed, and guess what? Forgot to buy them), I discovered the “clearance” area. Large signs indicating “$5” “$10” “$15” demarcated various sections in the two rows. In the $5 section I found an “As Seen On TV” item. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because I’m embarrassed to admit I was looking at it, and I further think that the item is probably a scam. BUT, for $5, it couldn’t hurt to try, right? I assess the situation: there are at least five or six of these items in the $5 section, so, it’s not a misplaced item. There is no sticker on it, however, so I have some doubts.
I move onto another part of the store and find yet another “clearance” area, with a (gasp!) “$1” section.
In it, I find these lovely melt-able wax cubes which are usually a whopping $2. It’s sad, but these $2 items are kind of a luxury for me. I can certainly live without them. But, since I’m feeling crazy, AND they’re half price, I decide to buy four of them, all very nice scents.
You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? You know what happens when I get to the register, right?
Of course, the $5 item is not $5, it is $19.77. I make a feeble statement that the item, along with several others, were in the $5 clearance section. The register man stares at me. He probably suspects that I’m lying. I don’t even bother to argue. I just tell him I don’t want the item, and kindly advise that they really should check the signs, because there are several items there, and not all customers are going to be nice, like me. In my embarrassment (why am I embarrassed??), I fail to watch the other items being scanned. And, you all know it. The wax cubes rang up at $2 each. Which I didn’t notice until I was looking at my receipt, in the car.
I’m tired, angry, and it’s late, and I don’t feel like going in and having to wait in that %(@))!! customer service line just to get $4 reimbursed. Additionally, I really want to make a complaint about the $5 sign shenanigans, and I just don’t have it in me to do it. “I’ll go tomorrow when I’m fresh and have a better attitude,” says I, to myself.
Well, today is tomorrow, and for fear of creating a “Falling Down” incident in the always low prices store, I decide to wait, again, until tomorrow tomorrow to approach the customer service desk. Why? Funny you should ask.
Today, it took me NINE HOURS to sort out a problem with my cell phone provider, the same problem which occurred last month. Only this time the problem (they charged my bank but didn’t credit my phone) took place while my son was lost somewhere in the next town over and I had no way to reach him directly. The details would be too long to recount, but needless to say, at the end of the day, I felt utterly defeated and exhausted.
Tomorrow, after writing yet another complaint to my cell phone provider, I will be making a return trip to the low prices place. And I’ve decided that I am going to be relentless. I’m sick of being that nice person. The sign says $5, there are multiple items there, the damn thing should be $5. The thing is, someone else with the guts would have demanded to see a manager, and gotten the item for $5. Well this time, so am I. And, I’m getting my four dollars back. And they better be really apologetic about the screw up.
You would think that, after all those years in retail, I would have learned that if you b-tch loudly enough, you will always get your way. And it’s not just with things that perhaps you don’t deserve, it’s with a multitude of things. What it comes down to is that the people who argue will generally come out with a better deal. Or at least, a fair deal. And that annoys me. I want to be nice. I don’t want to have to fight to get what I deserve. But sadly, nice gets you nowhere, much of the time. Nice gets you footprints on your back.
Well, enough is enough.
(p.s. This was written last night, so today is the official “tomorrow”, and I’m gonna do it!!)