Return to vendor

I hate returning stuff.

I bought a wireless doorbell at the weekend. Brought it home, fought my way through the plastic clamshell packaging, read through the somewhat skimpy instructions, plugged it in and… nothing. No chime was forthcoming. I changed the batteries in the bell push unit. Still nothing.

I re-read the instructions, unplugged everything, waited, replugged everything and still… nothing.

I realised that the worst had come to pass. I would have to take it back to the store.

Now, I’m fairly sure that you, dear reader, will fall firmly into one of two camps.

Camp A will be all ‘oh well, no problem, you’ve got a receipt, it’s clearly defective, no problem’

Camp B will be cowering in a corner, saying ‘well, it wasn’t *that* expensive really (it was), must be something I’ve done wrong with it (no, I hadn’t). Can’t take it back, look, I’ve opened the packaging and everything. I’ll put it in a cupboard and maybe it’ll go away.’

Guess which one I’m in?

I also realised that I had to take something else back to the same store. A couple of weeks ago we’d bought a couple of lamps. Got them home, decided that actually one would be quite sufficient, so the other one could go back. The box was still sealed, we hadn’t even thought about opening it. Still had the receipt.

I’ve been putting that off for, well, a couple of weeks. I hate taking stuff back.

So it was with much trepidation that I headed off, receipts in hand. I sat outside the store, running through the list of things I wanted to say. Can I return this doorbell please? Why? It doesn’t work. No, I’ve tried new batteries/different sockets. No, I don’t want a replacement, just a refund, thanks. This lamp? Decided I don’t need it. Could I possibly have a refund on that as well?

Eventually I went in. It was late evening, so the store was fairly quiet. Which meant that the alarm which went off as I walked in through the security barriers sounded *really* loud. A young chap called me over to the till.

“Do you want to return those?” he asked cheerfully, pointing at the packages.

“Err, yes,” I replied. “Bought this doorbell earlier, and it doesn’t work. Can I…”

“Sorry about that! I’ll do you a refund. One moment sir.” He busied himself at the till, scanning the packages and the receipt.

“And this lamp… decided we don’t need it.”

“Not a problem sir.” More scanning, beeping and sixty seconds later I was back in my car, with a receipt for the refund on both items.

What’s all the fuss about, eh?

It’s ridiculous, really. Happens to me all the time though. Case in point: I had a wireless router which packed up. I’d had it just short of a year, and finally got round to taking it back to PC World. Geared myself up for an argument with the manager, running through the list of things I wanted to say, not fit for purpose, not had it a year and so on.

Got to the counter, the young lady assistant said it was absolutely no problem, would I like a refund or replacement? Asked for a replacement, turns out they were now ten quid cheaper so I also got a gift card for the difference. Ten minutes later I was out of the store with a brand new router, an apology and a gift card, slightly stunned.

So, that’s me. How about you, dear reader? Are you in Camp A, ready to return things at the drop of a hat? Or a worrier like me?

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

7 thoughts on “Return to vendor”

  1. I am a total worrier! And I also rehearse those conversations in my head. Can’t complain in restaurants either, despite having been on the receiving end of it for ten years or so!

    1. I think I’ve only ever complained in a restaurant once! Same with coffee shops, though I’m getting better when I get a filter coffee and it’s not hot enough. A couple of good experiences makes it much easier to handle.

  2. I’m absolutely incapable of returning anything. I have to get someone else to do it. Social anxiety sucks. The closest I’ve gotten to returning something was outside the shop, and then I panicked and bolted.

    1. I’m getting better at it. Knowing you’re in the right, and knowing what you want to say is a big positive in dealing with such things. That, and knowing that big companies tend to want to have happy customers!

  3. I’m the shopper and the extrovert in the family (I’ve befriended some of the clerks at my regular stores, even!). So returning things? No problem! It’s just the getting off my arse and driving over there part that I hate.

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