Monday, September 26, 2011

Kracked Kindle

Three months ago I purchased a hydraulic  door closer for my back porch door at the local Ace Hardware store. The instructions were so convoluted I had to ask a friend of mine who is a general contractor to help me install it. When all was said and done, the contraption didn't really work as well as I expected, primarily because I mistakenly bought the "hold open" model which doesn't allow the door to automatically shut behind you once it is open past 80 degrees. Eventually I said to hell with it, disconnected the attachment arm, and moved on. Yesterday I was thinking that maybe I could write or call the manufacturer and explain my problem. Possibly they would swap me out for a model that doesn't have the "hold" feature. So I drove over to Ace Hardware and asked them if I could see the packaging for the door closer I purchased as I wanted to write to the company. The manager of the store came over to speak with me, and I again explained my situation, making sure he knew I didn't expect anything from him as it had been three months since my purchase, that I installed and used the product, and I didn't have a receipt. "No problem, I'll order you the model you want and I'll swap it out, no charge," was his response. I relate this experience because of a encounter at Pencils.

A very dapper, well-dressed older man comes up to the tech counter and tells me he purchased the Kindle in his hand late yesterday, got home, opened the box, and noticed the screen was cracked. He explained it was too late for him to return that same night, so here he was back the next morning. He asked, "Can you exchange this one for another?" The packaging was all intact, he never turned the Kindle on, and he obviously wasn't one of our usual meth-head rip-off customers. I couldn't see why giving him another Kindle would be an issue until my douche-bag manager Matt comes over and tells the gentleman, "You shoulda' bought the extended service protection. Pencils can't take this back now since you already opened the box." I knew damn well that Matt could of accepted the Kindle back as a "broken in shipment" product and was just being a dick. The man asked to speak with the manager, which he unfortunately he didn't realize he already had. I wrote down Matt's name and the store number on a piece of paper and told him he should contact corporate immediately and complain. I said, "The way you were treated was total bullshit." He looked at me, obviously disgusted, and said, "That manager of yours is a fuckin' asshole and I'll never buy anything in Pencils again." Too bad he had to learn the hard way...


  1. This is what I hate about retail. Some managers want to appear as tough and the kind that follows the corporate book but in the end succumb to the customer because of the District Manager's bullshit "Delight the Customer" policy.

    Other managers allow customers to return everything and than hide behind the "Delight the Customer" policy by returning the ink (already in the printer), the printer itself, and the extended warranty!

    No wonder OfficeMax is loosing money...

  2. Making the decisions of when to follow policy and when to bend the policies to take care of the customer's needs have been and always will be one of the hardest parts of the job..

    As a manager, I would have (and do daily) taken care of this customer immediately and without hesitation swapped this kindle out for a new one. Then I would have asked the Tech to open the new one and inspect it for damages on the spot for the customer, just to insure that he wouldn't find another cracked screen upon opening at home.. AND while he was at it, I would have asked the Tech to reiterate and go over the TSP with the customer once more, as YES, after that magical 14 day time frame, policy would have to step in and be applied..

    Why? Because while customer service is our job, so is trying to sell Pencil's products and trying to protect our profit margins. There should be no reason why the two can't function together and managers such as this Matt fellow don't belong in the grey shirt, as they clearly don't have the proper skill-sets to be a retail manager. Firm is good, but flexible builds customer and associate trust.

  3. They should just do to the Kindles what we do with laptops and most other devices with a screen, and that is open it and turn it on in front of the customer.

  4. In my pencils store the managers won't take back anything with a broken screen, even if it is within the 14 day return policy because when we send it out for credit (RTW) or (RTV) we will get very little money back if we get any back at all!