Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Fine Line

What is the fine line between standing up for yourself and being obnoxious?

Almost exactly one month ago, we were in the next town for a hockey game. They have a Target there, and we stopped in to pick up a few things. One of the things I purchased was a t-shirt. A $9.99 t-shirt. It is the same t-shirt as several I bought last summer. When I find a good t-shirt, I buy lots of them in different colors. I was delighted to discover they had this same line (or very similar) of shirts again this year.

I took it home. I washed it. I hung it up in my closet.

The other day, I pulled it out to wear and I noticed that after I had washed it, the hem at the bottom had become all puckered. Clearly, the stitching on it was defective causing the puckering.

No problem. I knew I was going back to the next town today and I could exchange it. I didn't have my receipt, but given that it was a recent purchase and I wanted to exchange it, not return it, it seemed like it would be OK. As an aside, it was very strange for me to not find the receipt. I'll probably find it tomorrow.

So, I went into Target. I explained my sitaution and said I wanted to do an exchange.

They said no.

I was dumbfounded.

And the reason they said no wasn't because I didn't have my receipt. It was because I had washed the shirt.


Girl at counter: Our store policy is that it has to be new for you to return it. Since you washed it, now it's not new.

Me: But I didn't even get to wear it. I washed it and the puckering appeared.

GAC: I'm sorry (waving at a sign behind the counter). That's our policy.

Me: So I'm stuck with a defective shirt. (A statement as opposed to a question)

GAC: According to our policy.

Me: But that's not OK. You sold something defective and that defective quality didn't appear until after I washed it. At some point I was going to have to wash it. You're saying you won't replace this defective item? I would understand if I were trying to return this, but I like the shirt. I just want one that is actually constructed correctly. You won't do an exchange?

GAC: I can't according to our policy.

Me: Can I talk to your manager?

GAC: Actually, I am the front of house manager.

Me: Well then, I need to speak to whomever you report to.

GAC goes away to find her manager.

Declan: Are you mad?

Me: I'm getting there. I'm more frustrated than anything.

Declan: It doesn't seem like she's listening to you.

Finn: Are you going to swear?

GAC comes back. My manager says we have to stick to the policy.

Me: OK, so here's what's going to happen. I spend a lot of money in this store each year. If you refuse to exchange this shirt, I'm walking out of here without shopping today. I will never come back. I live in the next town. I will go home. I will blog about this. I will put it on Facebook. I will tell everyone I know about how you treated me in your store today. Do you really want to have that happen over a $10 shirt?

GAC: I wish I could help you but it's not our store policy to return the item.

Me: OK. Please have your manager come over and tell me this herself.

GAC disappears again. Other manager comes out.

I run through my spiel emphasizing that I want this shirt, but this shirt is defective. I just want a non-defective shirt.

The second manager returns the shirt and offers a refund or store card. In good faith, I take the store card. I use it to buy another shirt. I had to get a different color though--they didn't have my size in the original color.

I felt like Target did the right thing, because seriously, was I so out of line to expect them to take back a defective item even though I didn't have the receipt? Again, I wanted an exchange, not a refund. It was current merchandise.

I'd be so curious as to what you guys think.

As an aside, I worked retail all through high school and college. Apparently you have to fight for your customer service rights these days.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Internet is my Back Up Brain

Why do I need to remember anything if it's all on the Internet?

Tonight I'm making something called Frenzied Fried Rice for dinner. It's a favorite around here and it's from a cookbook I love called Desperation Dinners. The base of the meal is leftover rice, which I never have, so I need to make it ahead.

Now, making rice, and pasta even, at high altitudes is always a crap shoot. I find brown rice, which we try to eat a majority of the time (vs. white rice), particularly hard to make. The altitude just does strange things to the amount of water you need and the cooking time.

I have found complete perfection when I make the Food Network's Alton Brown's baked brown rice. An online friend said it's the recipe she uses and now I use it 100% of the time I make brown rice.

So I just looked at the clock and realized it was time to get the rice cooking (it takes 45 minutes to an hour). I've made this rice enough times that I should know the recipe by heart. But I can never remember. Is it 275 degrees or 375 degrees (it's 375). Is it 2 1/2 cups of water or 2 (it's 2 1/2)? One cup of rice or 1 1/2 (1 1/2)?

My point here isn't to tell you how to cook rice (although you should use this recipe. It's a beautiful thing to cook your rice in the oven and never have it boil over on your clean stove ever again). My point is that why can't I remember this simple recipe that I've made a zillion times? But then again, why can't I remember half the stuff I forget?

With Alzheimers on both sides of the family, I worry (obsess) about my mental state to the point that I even downloaded crossword and sudoku apps for my iPad in attempt to save myself from myself.

But I've also realized that there's no reason to really fill my brain with stuff anyway because isn't that what Google is for? I can't tell you how many times Eamonn and I are sitting here watching something or talking about something and one will ask the other, "Do you remember..." fill in the blank with whatever, and the other will reply, "No, but I can Google it and find out." Tap, tap, tap...answer.

I wonder if Google will be the new cure for Alzheimers? I might be onto something.