Lifetime Warranty ….
It was a dark and stormy night….ooooooooh…
Ok, now that I have your attention, it was really just an average day, but I didn’t think starting out with “It was just an average day” would draw you in. But now that you’re here you may as well continue reading, right? After all, you probably don’t have much else to do or you wouldn’t be here in the first place. Sooooo….
Brian was heading out to the garage to work on one of his many projects when he stopped and asked me if perhaps, as it has a lifetime warranty, I’d take back his broken tool to Sears. Not that HIS tool is broken or anything, but his tool that he usually plays with in the garage. Wait, what I mean to say is his ratchet … Let me try that again… Just a ratchet and socket he uses to fix stuff. Got it? Whew, good. Anyway, as I was going out anyway I said I would. Although I didn’t know that saying I would was going to take longer than learning how to use my cell phone, memorize the periodic table, or getting men to understand why women go to the bathroom in pairs or groups.
So off I go to the Sears near my home, and as I approach the hardware department I begin to feel that something isn’t quite right. I look around and realize that I’m alone. All alone. No shoppers, no department sales clerk and, as far as I could tell, no Tim Hortons. Standing next to the cashiers counter I offer out a “Hellooooo, anybody here?” … Nothing. I wander around for a bit and still no one. I meander over to electronics and there’s no one there. I wander to the other side and check out the furniture department and no one there. Then I try appliances, and just as I’m about to walk away I spot someone leaning on a counter. At first it was hard to tell if it was a sales clerk, a mannequin or a customer who had mummified while waiting for service. I’m still not sure who it was, but he offered to page someone to help me. I thanked him and continued my browsing on my way back. As I look around, I notice a sign informing shoppers there are closed circuit security cameras, which I doubt were being watched or I would assume someone would have clued in that I was wandering around in 4 adjacent departments, peeking around corners, inside refrigerators under sofa pillows and behind flat screen TV’s, while singing the lyrics to Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight. The sign they SHOULD post is “No Salesperson Available, You’re On Your Own”
Finally I see a live person heading it my direction, and on her face was a smile….I KNOW. Who knew there were people in the customer service field (other than myself and my co-workers) who still smiled. Being a Customer Service Rep myself, I smile all the time. Well unless I’ve eaten beans, in which case I it’s more like a grimace as I suffer with ….. ah..um..never mind. It turns out that hardware isn’t her department (go figure) but states she knows a little bit about tools because she plays with her grandson and his Fisher Price tool set, so she’ll see what she can do. I show her the ratchet and explain that my husband would like a replacement as it’s a Craftsman tool with a lifetime warranty. She agrees, then takes it and we both look up and down the isles and find none (other than in a set) the same size. She heads off to the storage room, assuring me a replacement is sure to be found. Fifteen minutes into my rendition of One Eyed One Horn Flying Purple People Eater, she returns and informs me there isn’t one….Sigh. The computer is antiquated and before it agrees to searching for stock elsewhere, it wants to know who’s going to pay for the ratchet. All I know is it isn’t going to be me, so I suggest she take one out of a set and then return it when one comes in and she gasps and shakes her head vigorously while looking around as if expecting the blasphemy police to pop out from under the sofa in the furnishing department, brandishing a bar of soap.
Anyway, after a few unsuccessful calls to other Sears stores, she suggests I simply stop by one or two and hope for the best. At this point I’m thinking.. I need coffee…or Baileys…or coffee WITH Baileys. Eventually I’m sent to a Sears parts store to find out they just have parts not tools and to go back to the original store and remind them they have a catalogue and that they HAVE to honour the warranty and order me one…period. Sigh.
Are you still with me? Good. Then again you must be or you wouldn’t have answered that, so let’s continue…
I arrive back at the first Sears and to my joyful amazement there’s a young fellow, wearing a smile, behind the counter in hardware. I go through my earlier spiel and end up with the deer in the headlights response. He quickly recovers and gets on his phone and within hours I’m faced with THREE clerks and a washroom attendant..Yay!.. Although after hearing my plight they’re no longer wearing smiles, but rather grimaces which led me to conclude they had beans for lunch. After locating the catalogue and what appeared to be the right ratchet, they each take a turn at the computer, hoping to find or order it, but the computer doesn’t recognize the tool, won’t accept any order, or shows the tool is no longer available. I inquire as to a possible date for resolution as I’d like to circle it on my calendar and post it as my Facebook status so my friends can see what an exciting life I have, and suddenly they all had their cell phones in hand, each trying to find someone else who can offer their expertise on how to handle lifetime warranty replacement issues. Calls were made to toys, footwear, lingerie and the housekeeping department.
As I sat on a nearby sofa, cuddled up with a pillow and blanket, hoping someone would come by and offer me a coffee and Baileys, I see a man walk into hardware like he’s on a mission. Turns out he’s the store manager, and within two minutes he approaches me with a new ratchet in his hand. He offered it to me in exchange for the broken one and I couldn’t help but ask where it came from. Are you ready?….He took it from a set and said they would simply replace it later. Doh!
I headed home knowing I had successfully accomplished my task. Smiling, I gave Brian the new ratchet and he immediately set out to use it.
I would like to thank all the staff at Sears who kept smiling and wouldn’t give up. That is indeed great customer service.
Come on now, everybody sing along with me.. ♫ Don’t Worry, Be Happy ♫ ..