Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stores Don't Get It

This story is a few years old, but it still applies. I bought a nice coffee grinder, a Cuisinart, for my wife and I. I purchased it from Macy's.

There are a few reasons to choose a brick & mortar store over shopping online. There's the fun of walking around and looking at stuff. You can poke and prod the merchandise and its competitors. You interact with other human beings. The big reasons, though, are that you get your purchases immediately and you have a place to return them if something goes wrong.

As you may have guessed, something went wrong with this coffee grinder. It suffered infant mortality and quit working soon after we bought it. That happens, even with the best products. So I took it back, but they wouldn't take it back. I didn't have the receipt and I didn't have the box. I had my credit card statement, though.

I'm sorry, but that is why I bought it from a store. So they would take it back if it broke. If they can't bring up the record of my purchase given the date, time, credit card number, etc. that's their deficiency. Requiring the wrapping materials for a non-functioning device is nonsense - they cannot resell it. I suggested that they could simply pull another off the shelf and use it's box - I would take a new one without the packaging.


The result is that I no longer shop at Macy's. They broke their end of the buyer's contract once, evidently by policy, so I am better off shopping elsewhere. I am better off having my products delivered to my doorstep, for less.

At least Cuisinart was cool. They sent a new unit to me, no questions asked. Like Chris Elliot pointed out in a recent column, consumers don't care whose fault it is when something doesn't work. We expect to take it back to the company that took our money and get a refund. It's not an unreasonable expectation.

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