23 January 2010

It's All In How You Say It

Groovy - Returning an item to SuperMart for GrammaJ: Hi, my mom asked me to return this. It's only three weeks old and it broke. Here's the receipt.

Clerk: OK. Does she want a refund or a new product?

Groovy: She'd like the refund, thank you.

GrammaJ making the same return: Well hello there, young lady! (She says this even if the clerk is not so very young.) What's your name?

Clerk: Margaret

GrammaJ: I'm so sorry to bother you this morning, Margaret, but I've got a problem. You see, about three weeks ago (squints at the receipt in her hand) on January 3, two thousand....10. (giggles) Well, of course it was 2010. If I'd bought it any other year it would be too late to bring it back! Anyway, on January 3 I was here with my daughter, Groovy. I usually have to wait until my daughter can bring me because I had to give up my car. I can still drive. In fact, I have a perfect driving record - it's just that the insurance and upkeep was killing me! It's quite inconvenient because I just can't get out to shop unless she takes me. I mean, sometimes I DO take the bus, but sometimes they aren't coming here when I want to come. You can see how it is?

The clerk, slightly glassy-eyed, smiles patiently.

Well, on January 3 my sweet daughter finally had some time for her poor old mother and she brought me shopping here. I was only planning on buying some groceries and kitty litter. I love that kitty litter in the plastic can with the red lids. My kitties have used that one since they were born and all the experts say it's bad to change their diet or their kitty litter, so I keep buying it. It would be helpful if you all had sales on it more often though - Maybe you could mention that to one of the managers...

Clerk:The clerk twitches slightly (GrammaJ interprets this as a nod), but keeps smiling and leans over the counter to look in her cart. So, are you bringing back something today?

GrammaJ: Yes I am. You see,way back about three weeks ago...

Clerk: On January 3?

GrammaJ: Yes! Like I said, I was here shopping with my daughter...

Clerk: For groceries and kitty litter?

GrammaJ: Yes!! You were listening! Let me tell you, most people DON'T listen, especially whe they see that you're an old lady. They just tune you out like you don't matter at all. I used to work retail and I can tell you, you've got to listen to the customers if you're going to give good service. But you, you're a sweetie! I hope I get a chance to fill out one of those survey thingies - I'll be sure to give you an A+ rating!

Clerk: Thank you. And what can I help you with today?

GrammaJ: This widget. I bought it thinking it would be nice for the kitties.

Clerk: With raised eyebrows: You bought a widget for your KITTIES?

At this point the two other Service Desk clerks sidle over a bit closer for a look. They try to appear busy and totally uninterested but keep hovering nearby so they can catch every word.

GrammaJ: All the experts say that kitties need alot of stimulation so they don't get bored and sick. I've had my guys since they were wee little babies and I make sure they have plenty of toys and I've arranged all my furniture so they can look out the windows. It keeps them happy! Of course, I can't be in the room with them all the time, so I wanted them to have a widget that could play when I'm busy doing something else. Hearing all the music and voices keeps them from being lonely.

Clerk: After exchanging sly glances with her coworkers. I see...

GrammaJ:But this one only worked for a week or so and then it just made this fizzling noise and quit! I would have brought it back right away, but I couldn't get a ride until today. So, just moments after I knew it was broken I called...ummm...(hunts a piece of paper out of her coat pocket and squints at it)...Susette. She works as an associate manager in grocery, not in electronics, but she assured me it would be OK to wait this long to bring the widget back since I had the receipt. It IS all right, isn't it?

Clerk: Nodding, reaches for the widget.

GrammaJ: It's still in its original box. My daughter wanted me to throw it out, but I like to keep my boxes for a few months until I'm sure that things work. It was a good thing I did that this time! I also made sure I put back all the paperwork that came with it. Although, (she blushes), I had written some phone numbers on the papers and I had to cross all those out. Here's my receipt.

Clerk: And would you like to replace this with another widget or would you prefer a cash refund?

GrammaJ: Oh, well, a new widget would be nice, but I'd be so nervous that it would break just like this one. I can't remember how many other widget types you had. Could I just leave this here and go look at the widgets?

Clerk: Sure, I'll just hold this one here until you come back.

GrammaJ: Oh thank you! Take a good look at me now so you'll remember me when I come back in a few minutes!!

Clerk: I promise you I will not forget you!

And so GrammaJ makes the loooooooooooong trek from the front of SuperMart to the back where the electronics are. Along the way she marvels at the lamps, remembers to buy some "Ginko Bilbo", and pauses to go through the discounts DVDs. Finally she gets to Electronics. She walks up and down every row until she finds the widgets. She wistfully shares a moving story of a widget she owned many lifetimes ago that lasted 15 years and would still be around if some lunkhead hadn't dropped it while helping her move from one apartment - You know, the one in S-burg with the big kitchen and the tiny living room? - to the one that wasn't worth the rent she paid for it in R-Hill.

"Why oh why can't people treat other people's things as carefully as they do their own? *sigh*"

Now she reads every detail of every model of widget available. She debates the merits of widgets B and C with the widget model she is returning. B costs more, but is it really better? C may just be too fancy. She hunts down an electronics associate and asks their opinion. Said associate just reads aloud the same sides of the same boxes GrammaJ just read. Suddenly GrammaJ makes her decision: Forget widgets! She wants her money back. Then maybe she can find a discounted SUPER widget for sale at that store in the capitol that sells those green vegetable bags for so cheap.

Filled with the peace that only comes through making an irrevocable decision, she heads back to the Service Desk. Nothing deters her from mission. (Except a brief stop to admire some Australian crystal earrings and a brief yearning encounter with temptingly placed carrot cake.)

Finally, she is back at the Service Desk. Her peace starts to melt away as she looks around fretfully; "Her" clerk was no where in sight. She waits through the business of the folks in front of her, then steps up to the counter.

GrammaJ: Hello there, young man. Where is Sarah? ...Susan? ...um, Stella??

Clerk: Margaret?

GrammaJ: Yes! That's who I mean! She was taking care of me a few minutes (45 minutes) ago.

Clerk: She went to lunch. Can I help you?

GrammaJ: Lunch? She went to lunch? But it's only 10:30...That seems a bit early for lunch!

Clerk: We gotta take it when we can. Can I help you, ma'am?

GrammaJ: What's your name?

Clerk: Fred.

Well, Fred, you see that widget over there? I am returning that. As I told Margaret...Here GrammaJ launches into a full blown explanation that includes EVERYTHING she's already told Margaret, then embellished and enlarged by her disappointment in the lack of quality products in Electronics and how no one makes widgets with elderly-cat-loving-ladies-on-Social-Security in mind. When she finally runs out of words, the bedazzled clerk is staring at her agape and remains thus for some few minutes before he regains his composure.

Clerk: Sooooo...You'd like a refund now?

GrammaJ: I think I deserve one after all I've been through, don't you?

And so GrammaJ gets her refund. As we walk out to the car, she has one more thing to say...

GrammaJ: My goodness these big stores wear me out!

Me too, GrammaJ, me too!


Anonymous said...

GrammaJ is all kinds of awesome. I wouldn't be able to refuse her anything!

Marianne Arkins said...

ROFL... but, yeah, I think I love GrammaJ, too.

notcon4med said...

That was one of the most entertaining things I've read in in a loooooong time! And believe me folks...she is not exaggerating one bit! : D

groovyoldlady said...

Not. One. Bit. In fact, I left out more than you want to know!

Dawn said...

What a hoot! And your description - priceless!

seejenngo said...

Ginko Bilbo. I will now never call it by any other name. My grandfather always wanted the shampoo with the 'joba-joba' - hard J and all.