Don’t let vendors run over you: Four examples

If you have been a cashier, waiter/waitress, manager, owner or teacher…. you have had to deal with an “Irate Customer”. Even when you operate under “the customer is always right” — they are NOT.
On the other hand, sometimes the customer IS right. There are poorly managed businesses, rude service providers and even errant teachers. The material for this post started about a week ago when I was questioning the bill with a waiter in a restaurant where we were providing a meal for our son’s family. After I spoke with the waiter I turned to my guests and apologized for being the ‘irate customer’. I was corrected with, “You weren’t being irate, you were polite and correct.”
Restaurant bill. I had ordered an appetizer and soup. The appetizer was delivered promptly, but not the soup. The waiter actually offered to take the soup off the bill. Big tip coming. When the dinners were delivered, they had duplicated an order that was supposed to be a shared order. After sending the duplicate back to the kitchen, I asked the waiter ensure we weren’t double billed. Result: One FREE soup.
Ebay fleece jacket. It was a good deal. When I put it on, it seemed snug and my first thought was…..uh-oh. But later, when expressing the sizing to my wife, I took it off an noticed it WAS THE WRONG SIZE. I ‘contacted the seller’ via ebay email and received a response asking me if I would accept $5 off or a full refund if I returned the jacket. I argued the point that it should not cost me to return a shipping error and suggested three satisfactory options: 1) full refund and I keep the jacket, 2) full refund with a return shipping label, 3) replacement with the correctly shipped item plus a return shipping label. Second response started with the ‘would I accept a $5 refund’ which convinced me that was a template response. Final result, I was to “keep as a gift”. Result: SAVED $15.
Brake job. I posted the beginning of the story, “I Understand the Game, but I Don’t Like It“. Once I finally made my decision, I check and discovered that my last set of brakes came from this shop owner. Realizing that many shops have “lifetime warranties” on brake pads, I asked the shop owner, who tried to explain that they had severed relations with the pad manufacturer used at that time and he couldn’t honor the warranty unless I made him “eat it”. After expressing that the warranty was part of the purchase, he eventually adjusted my bill. Result: SAVED $65.
Tires. Wife’s car needed two new tires. I wasn’t going to buy them from the shop that sold them to me because they 1) didn’t even last the projected minimum, 2) the shop wouldn’t invoke the warranty because I had missed a rotation cycle, 3) the shop manager’s attitude. I went to Wal-mart because 1) price was good, 2) same tires as on the back, 3) free rotation. I asked them to put the two new tires on the back and rotate the back tires to the front. Not until I saw the bill did I realize they charged $10 per tire to rotate the two back tires to the front. I filled out the online “Customer Service Survey” and expressed my disappointment. Result: Call from local Asst Mgr and 1 FREE oil change.

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