20 September 2016

My BESTBUY Saga: The Customer Is Always Wrong

***Disclaimer – I would be days writing everything that actually occurred over the course of the past three weeks or so. That said, not everything is here. I did try to be honest, even on my own mistakes and errors in all of this.Take from it what you will. My hope is that I am not as ‘wrong’ in all of this as I have been made to feel and am continued to be made feel by the continuous lack of response on BestBuy’s part. And I am allowed to ‘hope’. I also hope that a certain employee did not lose their job over this, as they were nothing but helpful, courteous, and apologetic when things started to go south, as it were. If you’re out there and read this, I hope things didn’t go bad for you and if I can help in any way, you can contact me here.

I admit, to an outsider, this blog must now look pretty pathetic. I don’t keep it up. My disability and pain along with all the pain killers and depression from both and/or all has sucked the life out of me. So, it is only when something really hits a chord or sparks something deep inside that has been lying dormant that I suddenly find inspiration again. Also, when something just ticks me the hell off. And I am pretty ticked, right now.

Let’s begin.

August 20th, 2016 – My wife and I went to BestBuy Store 264 in Columbia, SC to see about getting a new phone to replace my suddenly failing Galaxy S4. We are greeted by the Samsung Rep, one very kind and helpful Richard. When I tell him why we are there he informs us it may be our lucky day, as their is a BOGO on all Samsung phones…that we can even mix and match. I look at my wife and she’s liking the idea, so we start looking. The new Note 7’s have just come out and I find one and , well, wow…I really like it Richard then tells us that they are offering a free Gear Fit 2 or 256GB upgrade on the Note 7’s as well as the BOGO. Now my wife is really interested in a new phone for herself as well.

At this point, a BestBuy Blue Shirt walks over. A young guy named Alex and he’s talking to us and seeing what we are interested in, tells us that if we purchase the phones that day, there is also a $100 gift card that comes with each Note 7.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. The same thing I and my wife were thinking. This sounds too good to be true. I express this to Richard and Alex, who both say that it is, in fact, a legitimate offer. That everything is, in their wording, ‘stackable’. It’s at this point my wife says to me that Alex is the same Blue Shirt that helped us out when we purchased our last phones there. We have been purchasing our phones there since the Galaxy Fascinate, as well as three desktop computers (I love gaming), a laptop, and a plethora of other tech gear from Razer keyboards, PC mouses (or mice…or meeses) etc. I admit he looks familiar, but I’m not sure. Either way, this guy Alex and Richard are being very helpful, friendly, outgoing, etc. This is why we liked coming to Bet Buy. The ‘experience’ had always been good, often fun, just because of the employees attitudes and helpfulness.
So, still concerned about the offer being ‘too good to be true’, Alex and Richard go and double check their facts, confer amongst themselves, and confirm to us that
  • Yes, you can buy one get one free. You can even mix and match any two Galaxy phones or any two same brand phones that our carrier (Verizon) has and still get the BOGO as long as the phones are the same brand.
  • Yes, you will get a free Gear Fit2 or 256GB upgrade with the Note 7, your choice. And it applies to each, should we purchase two (even under the BOGO)
  • And ‘Yes’, you will get a $100 gift card for each phone to use at Best Buy and Yes, they are stackable so we will get one for EACH phone even under the BOGO and even with the Free Gear Fit 2 or 256GB upgrade.
My wife then has them repeat all of this, and writes it down as they do. And all of this is done ibn a very friendly manner. They understand our concern and we’re kind of laughing about it, but yes, we just want to be sure we have it all straight. She even takes their names incase we run into problems later.

Now, they don’t have any Note 7’s in stock on the 23rd. So they say, they will order them for us. Again, an alarm goes off in my head. I ask them if this will affect the deals since they have to order the phones to picked up on a different day. We are assured it won’t, because they will put it in the system that day and we give them a $50 deposit for each phone that day and it’s all good.
  • We are getting 2 Note 7’s. as part of a BOGO and the second one will be 100% free.
  • We each ordered the Gear Fit 2.
  • We will get 2 $100 gift cards (one for each phone)
My wife kindly asks them to check again, to be sure and they do, without hesitation. They confirm it’s all ‘good’ and we let them place the orders, based on the deals mentioned, and pay our $50 deposits (even though the phones are being paid for through our Verizon account, when all is said and done) Their plan is to reimburse us with 2 $50 gift cards, on top of the 2 $100 gift cards when we pick up the phones. And we leave.

But I still have this itch. But I try to rationalize it out. It’s not like these guys are working on commission and have any reason to hoodwink us or lie to us. They gain nothing personally by offering us these deals. And we didn’t even know the deals existed, so it’s not like we were trying to get over.

August 23rd, 2016
We are contacted that are phones are in and ready for pick up. My wife sits down at the counter, Alex is there. Richard is off that day, but there is another Samsung rep, a nice woman by the name of Janice, who is helping with the set-up/activation of the new phones. I’m scouting out the cases we will need and looking for screen covers when my wife calls me over. She’s not happy.
I ask what the problem is.
  • We aren’t getting the BOGO. Apparently, there is now , suddenly, a ‘limit’ on the BOGO of $600 and some odd dollars and we will have to pay $200 and some odd dollars for our ‘FREE” phone.
  • We at not getting ANY gift cards, except the ones to cover our initial deposit. So now, we our $200 and some odd dollars in the hole for our FREE phone.
  • The good news is the watches came in with the phones.
So,we try to sort all of this out with Alex and Janice. My wife is very upset. I’m not upset as much as I am confused. Alex keeps apologizing and is calling people on the phone , trying to sort out what has happened. Janice is trying to make suggestions to Alex, to help him help us.
And sitting in the chair nest to Janice, is another Blue Shirt, who is talking on her cell….checking her nails…doing I don’t know what on her cell phone…while all of this is going on for about 20 minutes and getting nowhere.

Alex finally gets off the phone.
  • The system has ‘rolled’ over since we were in on Saturday and refuses to acknowledge the deals that we were promised on Saturday because they are no longer in the system. They are gone. as far as the system is concerned, Saturday never even existed and there is no way in hell (My words, not Alexes’) we are getting 2 $100 gift cards or the second phone for free,
I’m not illiterate when it comes to computers. I spent 10 years in sales and retail. I understand what has happened. My wife, is NOT understanding…well, she is…but she’s finding it hard to ‘be’ understanding, which Alex and Janice both understood and apologized several times.

I asked if there was someone who could over ride the system or just over ride what the system was saying and authorize the deals we were promised. Alex , again, starts calling around to see. Janice is trying to explain what has happened, and we tell her we get it, and we understand it’s not her fault, or Alex’s , or Richards. That Alex and Richard had even verified everything was good before we left the store on Saturday. That everyone had, on the surface, dotted their ‘i’s’ and crossed their ‘t’s’, as it were, and we weren’t blaming them for whatever was going on now.

The other Blue Shirt, the one sitting next to Janice, whom Alex is standing between the two of them,as he frantically is on the phone trying to get someone to push this thing through as it was promised….is still on her phone looking at Facebook or balancing her checkbook for all I know.
Alex gets off the phone and says that there is nothing that can be done. My wife is now beyond frustrated. But she is staying calm. She turns to me and says ‘I can’t deal with this, anymore. I’m afraid I might lose my cool, could you please…” and I say ‘It’s okay. Go look around.’ I look at Janice and Alex and ask them if there is a manager around who might be able to help and they both turn to the woman who has been sitting next to them the whole time. I look at her and ask ‘Are you the manager?’

She replies that she is one of the managers. Now, I’m frustrated. She has to have heard everything that is going on and yet never chimed in to help, to talk to me or my wife…

I ask her. point blank ‘So, what can we do to make all of this happen the way we were promised it would?’

She replies ‘What do you mean?’

I reply…’Exactly what I said. What can we do to make this all happen the way we were promised it would happen?’

She rolls her eyes. I love when people start rolling their eyes. I LOVE it.

She says ‘You heard him (referring to Alex) there's nothing we can do.’

I say ‘Maybe if ‘you’ call, they will listen to a manager, or maybe you can over ride this?’

She says ‘What makes you think they will listen to me if they won’t listen to him?’

I reply ‘Because you’re a manager? Because you might have access to someone he doesn’t? Because you haven’t tried and what could it hurt if you tried?’ and I’m still calm.

She replies that this is what it is and she can’t do anything, to paraphrase. I ask if I can speak to the store manager. She asks me why.

I said ‘Because maybe that person can do something.’ I looked her in the eyes and said ‘Because we were counting on the gift cards to purchase cases and covers for the $900 phones we just purchased and my wife is stressed about leaving here with a phone that has no protection on it and is afraid it will get scratched or the glass will crack before all of this is settled. Maybe someone, somewhere, can see the reasoning behind that and wouldn’t want the customer to leave the store unsatisfied with $1800 in phones that we don’t have budgeted another $40 each for cases and $30 each for glass covers because the deal we were promised and purchased the phones on fell apart in your system?’

At this point, Janice and Alex are off to the side, about 10 feet away, talking to my wife. The ‘manager’ leaves me and goes to them, taking Alex and Janice to the side. A minute later, she lets Janice go, to return to me and she goes to my ‘wife’ and talks to her and disappears into the office on the other side of the store.

My wife comes to me and says ‘She’s going to ‘allow’ us to get free cases and shields for the phones and says that it’s almost $130 in free merchandise and that’s the best she can do, take it or leave it.’
I say to my wife ‘But what about the deal we were promised? I’m not looking for handouts. We were promised that the second phone would be free and…”

My wife stops me and says ‘It isn’t going to happen. I could tell, just by the way she spoke to me. She’s not going to call anyone and there is no one over her, she says, that is here today that can do anything about it.’

I ask my wife what ‘she ‘ wants to do. I know she is very concerned about having the phone protected and she says ‘Let’s just take the cases and covers and get out of here. This is just too stressful and I’m too mad. ‘ My wife expresses her lack of respect for the manager who sat there for close to an hour and did nothing to help us or her own employees and says the ‘experience’ is starting to turn to sour.
We have Janice activate our Note 7’s and Alex is kind enough to put the shields on them. Both of them still apologizing too which my wife asks them to stop, they did nothing wrong, and says the one who should be apologizing is the manager who is now avoiding us.

There is a comment made by an employee, to us, that implies this manager is ticked off and her anger seems to be directed towards Alex. It is also suggested that Alex may have just lost his job. I ask why and get no response as to why, only another comment that implies ‘that’s just the way it rolls around here’.

At this point, I ask for business cards. I get one for Richard, Alex doesn’t have one, but I get his first and last name and write it on Richards, and I get one for the manager who is now standing at a PC in a kiosk directly behind where Janice is sitting and she is talking to another Blue Shirt and I can only assume or imagine as to what the conversation is about.

I tell Alex that we will personally talk to the store manager as soon as possible and he smiles, nervously, and says it’s okay, not to worry, it’s just the way things are and he can handle it. etc. My wife, who is very upset, she’s practically adopted Alex for being so helpful from the start, says it’s not a problem for us, that he (Alex) deserves to be recognized for how helpful he has been and all the effort he put in to trying to straighten everything out, etc., and she would be more than happy to come in and speak to the manager.

And we leave with our phones, and 2 ‘free’ cases and shields.

So…..I apologize for not knowing the exact the date for this next part. I could call me wife and ask, but she’s already not happy that I am blogging this, posting my discontent on Twitter and Facebook and thinks I’m going to get us banned from Best Buy’s for the rest of our lives (even though she intends NEVER to set foot in store 264 ever again..that she would in fact prefer to drive over to the next city, some 30 minutes away, to the BestBuy there than go to the one that is 5 minutes from our house)

One or two days BEFORE September 5th, 2016, my wife returns to BestBuy 264. She needs the shield fixed, because there was something under it when applied and the big black dot is driving her crazy and she wants to follow up with the store manager about Alex and her feelings on how the other manager handled the situation. I was not there, so what I am relaying , pertaining to this particular visit is how I heard it as it was explained to me.

She spoke to the store manager. She told him the entire story. The ENTIRE story. She wanted to be clear that Alex, Richard, and Janice had been nothing but courteous, kind, helpful, and went beyond what she even expected in their efforts to confirm all the info they gave us down to trying to rectify it all falling apart a few days later. She even gave a nod to the manager for the cases and shields but wanted to be clear that THAT was not so much the issue, as was NOT getting the original deal we were promised and how we were not only NOT getting the gift cards, but would be paying $260 some odd dollars for what was to be the FREE phone…that had she known that when we first came in, she never would have even taken the BOGO offer and we would have just gotten what we came in for, which was a phone to replace her husbands (mine) which was ‘falling apart’ as it were. I ‘think’ she even explained how important it was just to get ‘me’ a phone as I am disabled and homebound and we are completely wireless, with no land line, and I had to have a working phone because of that and because I was watching our daughter after school as well.

She praises Alex and expresses her concern over the implied remarks that he may have been or will be fired over our fiasco (these are my words) and shouldn’t be…and she stresses how the other manager did nothing until I (me, the husband) stepped in and asked her to do something or anything.
I don’t know what all else was said, word for word, as it were, but am told that the store manager apologizes for all the problems and then tells my wife that he will put in for a $225 gift card for her AND for me. Two…$225 gift cards, with his apologies. That they will come electronically to her email in the next 24 to 48 hours (I think, it may have actually been less time) and that if she doesn’t get them, to come back and see him and he will make it right and get them for her one way or another, to make up for all our frustration.

Now….again…..we did not ask for 2 $225 gift cards. We (and she) just wanted the deal we were promised but at this point had written it off. So she was rather surprised and happy that he was making this gesture and she leaves and comes home to tell me what had happened.
And we laughed, because we talked it over and agreed…it wasn’t going to happen. There would be no $225 gift card (let alone 2 of them) in her email.

And there wasn’t.

And she goes back to BestBuy 264 on September 5th and speaks to the store manager. On this particular visit, she finds out he is NOT the actual store manager. The ‘store manager’ had been promoted and is long gone. She had been dealing, with what she is told, is the ‘acting’ store manager/’.  And she tells the acting-store-manager that she never received the emails. he goes into his office to check something and comes out and apologizes saying he was sorry, he tried to push them through on a special deal they were having on Galaxy 8” tablets and the ‘system’ rejected it. So in place of the $450 in gift cards she was promised (let’s not forget about the original $200 in gift cards we were promised) he gives her hi personal card and writes across the bottom ‘$200.00 Store Credit 09/05” .


And returns home to tell me and give me the ‘store credit card’.  Again, I apologize. She’s giving ‘me’ the store credit card because we had planned on using the BestBuy gift cards (the original $200 GC’s) to also cover the tax on the phones, so I had ponied up $130 that took me eight months and couple hundred hours of doing online surveys to save up for a decent chair that I could sit in, that wouldn’t destroy my back any further or cause me more pain, to help cover the taxes on the phones. (***Now, I realize, there are probably more than a few people that might say, Dude, if you’re on that tight of a budget and disabled, why the f*** are you buying a new phone etc., etc., …My response is simply, nunya damn business)

So, now, I’m between over the top frustrated and laughing because I don’t know if this ‘store credit ‘is any good. I mean, really, their ‘system’ has rejected everything else, but it’s going to allow what is basically a ‘note from the acting-store-manager’ to allow me to walk out with $200 in merchandise. As you can see above, I still have it, haven’t used it, don’t know if I should, can, will, won’t…or just frame it. And I’m not saying that to be sarcastic. I REALLY don’t know, at this point.

So, while ALL of this is going on, suddenly, all across the globe, Note 7’s are exploding. I read the first article I see on this and think ‘Of course they are. If we had purchased phones built by clones of Alexander Graham Bell in a secret lab some where in Virginia for the Tesla corporation they would be exploding instead.’

September 10th, 2016
We go to BestBuy 264 to find out what we have to do to replace the phones or get loaners or whatever. Janice is there. The acting-store-manger is there. We are told we can get a S7 or 7 Edge and return it when the Note 7’s come in. No restocking fee’s, etc. Or get an S7 or 7 Edge and be refunded the difference on the Note 7’s.

Richard is also there. he assures me that a lot of this is being over played by the media, that none of the phones he has sold have blown up, that the odds are staggering that our phones would blow up when there are only 30 out 1.4 million phones that have been ‘reported’ to have blown up and not all of them have been confirmed…and that not one Note 7 has blown up in the United States’. He basically says we’re fine and safe with our phones and the replacements will be in within a week or two and to just chill with our phones until they come in.

My wife, in the meantime, is getting that ‘sour experience’ taste again, and is thinking she should just get the 7 Edge and be done with all of it. I ask the acting-store-manager what we need to do and he tells he can give us the info to go online and register for the replacement phones and when they come in, we will be emailed by BestBuy to come pick them up. My wife and I talk it over and say ‘okay.’ The acting-store-manger’ goes into his office. About five minutes later he comes out and says ‘You know, let me do it for you right here. It will be easier for you and that way you know you’re pre-order is in and everything.’ I say ‘okay’ and he has me follow him to the Samsung kiosk. At the PC there, he asks for our email, to which I give him my wife’s, and enters it, shows me the screen and hits enter. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was the same page BestBuy had out publicly for everyone to enter their email, nothing more, just their email, to get a replacement. I asked him ‘That’s it?’

He replied ‘Yes, sir. Then, you’ll get an email when the phones are in and you can come in and pick them up.”

My wife is talking to a Samsung rep and I walk over. We’re told, basically, the replacements are already coming in, some are in the warehouse, and that everyone is just waiting for the Consumer Protection folks to give the all clear, etc., and it should all be good to go in a week or even less.

We leave.

In the meantime, different stories pop up in the news and tech sites. Some say the phones are available, some say not. My wife gets an email about getting a loaner (I’ may be wrong on that email) but we get a lot of info and we have the info we were told at the store.

September 18, 2016
We go to BestBuy 264.
Pause. To the few who are asking ‘Why do they kept going back to the store?’ I reply…because every time we call…every single time..no one has answered the phone since this whole mess started. When I called the toll free number for BestBuy to file a formal complaint on September 19th, the woman who was kind enough to listen to explain everything and then rant for an hour, at one point just breaking down in tears because my damn meds and pain get me so depressed, and ask her why this acting-store-manager felt so threatened by a 53 year old, overweight, out of shape man who needs a cane to walk that he threatened to call security when I got loud and said this was all bullshit, she put me on hold to call the store before I could tell her no one would answer…and I sat on hold for five to ten minutes when she came back and told me what I already knew. No one was answering the phones. No matter how many times she tried. I had been on the phone with her for over an hour, and I think she purposely let me go one, just so she could be sure the store was even OPEN, so she could call and see if she could help me straighten everything out…but I digress.  Simply, we kept going because no one answered the phone when we called there.

We walk in and Richard is at the Samsung kiosk. I walk over and ask him if the phones are in. He tells me that they do have some in the warehouse but they are earmarked for people who have pre-ordered the phones and if I wanted a Note 7 I would have to wait until they took care of replacing all the bad ones.  I stepped back and laughed and said ‘Dude, it’s me. I was in last week. Three weeks ago you helped us buy two Note 7’s. Last week you were standing here when The acting-store manager put in our pre-order…remember?’

And Richard, who is talking in almost a whisper and not looking me in the face or eye like he has previously, tells me that I need to go to customer service, that he can’t get me the phone. Confused, I walk over to customer service. I speak to a woman there and explain to her that Richard has informed me he can’t give me my replacement phone or even check if it’s in and that I needed to see customer service. She looks at me and says ‘What? No one even told me the phones were in let alone we could give any out. Hold on.’ and she goes in to the office behind her.

About 10 to 15 minutes later, she comes out and tries to hand me the corner of piece of paper that was ripped off of something an says 1-800-SAMSUNG and tells me I need to call this number. I step back, refusing to even take it. I said ‘Uh-uh. No way. I was in last week and pre-ordered my replacement with your acting-store-manager. Now I have a Samsung rep who says some are in the warehouse and you don’t know anything about what he’s saying. I think I’d like to speak to a manager.’ I even asked for one, by name…the first asst. manager who had sat and done nothing on the day we came to get our new phones. She looked at me funny, went back in the office and three minutes later the acting-store-manger came out. I looked at him and said ‘What the hell is going on?’ He stopped and asked me what I meant and I said, louder than I should have….

“I come in and your Samsung rep says the replacements are in, your employee here says she knows nothing about and refers me to Samsung…this is bullshit.”

***Yes, that is what I said, and yes, I was wrong. But I was at my breaking point. Yes, that’s not an excuse. I was still wrong for swearing and getting loud.

I said …”I’ve been coming here for 12 years. I bought my first Samsung phone here when the Fascinate came out and have here for all my phones since and have been loyal to this store and to Samsung up to the phone I had before we ordered these Note 7’s. I’ve purchased three desktops here, a laptop, a tablet, maybe eight phones over the years, hell, even my keyboard. I have never had the kind of problems that I’m having now just trying to get a straight, honest answer out of someone. We were promised a free phone, $200 in gift cards…then $450 in gift cards…and not one promise was kept and some of them we weren’t even looking to get or even asked for!’

He asked me to calm to down and said ‘Let me find out what’s going on.’ I followed him over to the Samsung kiosk. He asked Richard and Richard said he was told there were already phones in the warehouse, that Samsung had told all their reps the replacements could start being handed out, that all was good to go. The ASM (acting-store manager) said HE was told that they couldn’t release any of them.

‘They couldn’t release any of them’

I looked at him and again said ‘This is bullshit. You two are not even on the same damn page. I am so tired of this crap.”

I was then told I was being unreasonable and they would call security and have me escorted out.  I said ‘ I’m sorry, but I’m just so tired of all the misinformation and lies and promises…’
And the ASM said ‘I have done everything I can to help you..’

I cut him off. “What?! What have you done…besides make promises you couldn’t keep to get my wife out of the store?’

Again, he found me unreasonable and pointed out that I was not letting him talk and he went back into his office. Soon, there were about 8 Blue Shirts all within 10 to 15 of me and what appeared to be an undercover man who browsed a rack that had 10 phone cases on it for the next 45 minutes or more, while I stood there and got deeper into the situation.

The ASM came back. We went back forth. Sometimes I got loud but pulled back. I admit, it was a struggle not to lose my temper and start swearing again. Here is why…briefly.

In the course of the argument/confrontation/discussion
  • My wife tried to intercede before I said another bad word and ‘she’ turned beat red when the ASM said he never ‘pre-ordered’ a phone for us. What he did was put in an email so we could get an email when the phones were available and then go back and enter our email for the pre-order  of the phones and wait for an email to tell us to come pick them up. For real. My wife , who had been trying to be the voice of reason turned to him and said ‘That is a bold face lie. That is not what you told my husband when you had him follow you to the kiosk. I heard it, Richard heard it…” and Richard did chime in and said ‘You did tell him you were pre-ordering the phones and it was all taken care of’…to which the ASM said ‘Now ,you’re cutting me off” to my wife and started to walk away.

  • I tried to stop him by saying, calmly, if you would just give me five minutes to explain what we have been through, then you might understand WHY we are so upset.” He replied “No. You’re not going to keep cutting me off.”
I worked in collections for five years. I was good. I did skip tracing. I was awarded the highest earner for our branch my first year and we worked with the Fortune 500 companies. Companies like Fingerhut were used just for training purposes. I knew how to handle people. I also knew when I was being handled. I realized he wasn’t going to hear anything we had to say or wanted to say. He was going to run the discussion his way and lay it down and make us swallow it.

If I may digress even further….one of my very first jobs as a teen was a C-store/gas station clerk. One day, a beautiful Porsche came screaming into our lot at about 40 miles an hour, headed straight for the pumps. I just happened to be looking up as it happened and could hear the tires screaming on the asphalt as the driver spun the car and slammed on the breaks, smacking the side of his car into the 10 curb the gas pumps sat on. I think he cane to a complete stop the same time I pulled the emergency stop latch and shut off all the pumps cause I thought that we were all about to go up in flames. My manager came running out of his office. Out of the Porsche steps some kid about 16 or 17…I kid you not, and he proceeds to try and pump gas into his car as we stand there with our hearts in our throats. He starts jamming the ‘help’ button on the pump cause I had shut the pumps off and  my boss says “Just turn him back on’ and goes back into the office.

I’m watching this kid in shock and awe and disbelief…and he hangs the pump up, walks around his car, and comes into the store to pay and asks if he can use our phone. My boss comes out and says ‘How can we help you?’ and he asks to use the phone cause he has a flat tire. It’s all I can do not to say ‘No, shit, I wonder why’ when my boss hands him the phone. Ten minutes later, the kids father pulls up in a Mercedes. he walks over to the Porsche…looks at it, walks around it…..Standing in the door of the store I can still smell the rubber this kid laid down and burned off when he pulled in…you can see the skid marks leading right up to the Porsche…..

The kids father comes in and asks for the manager. My boss is already standing there and says ‘That's’ me.’ The father asks him to come out to the pump. They walk out and look, walk around the Porsche and my boss comes back in. I said ‘What’s up?’

The kid flattened not one but two tires. Both rear tires. One of them was flat because it hit a piece of the steel that surrounded the eight inch high concrete slabs the pumps were on…heaven only knows why the other one was flat. My boss was going into the back room to get the key to print this kids father $900 in money orders to get new tires!!!! I went nuts. I said, ‘That kid should go to freaking jail for the way he was driving!!! He almost blew us all up!!! And it’s OUR fault the tires are flat!!!” I was out of my head, out of reason, ballistic over what was going down.

To make it even better, our District Manager walks in! I immediately get all up in his face (I was 17, what did I know) and told him what happened and said he needed to stop my boss from paying this guy a dime. he walks back into my bosses office as the kid and his father walk in the store. My boss comes out, along with the DM (District Manager) who walks up and introduces himself to the kids father while my boss starts printing money orders behind me. I turned to him, and load enough for all to hear say ‘You’re not gonna pay this guy!?!?!?!?!”

The DM calls my name and I turn to him and the kids father. I said ‘Your kid damned near blew himself and all of us up. Can’t you see the skid marks??? He was out of control!” The DM puts his hand firmly on my shoulder and smiles and says ‘Do me a favor and make sure the cooler is stocked.” He squeezes my shoulder, smiling…and I know what he’s saying, and I went back to the coolers.

After the father and kid were gone, the Porsche towed, the DM called me back in to the office. He was really cool about everything. he wasn’t mad at me. He just explained to me….The customer is always right. I started to try to explain to him that ‘Hell, no. This kid came flyin in like a bat out of hell…’ and my DM laughed and stopped me and said . ‘The customer is always right.” I stood there, staring at him. He said ‘It’s a lot easier to give this guy $900 for tires than to drag it out, go to court, have it in the press…”

I cut him off. Cause that's what I do. I cut people off. I said “Yeah,but we got it on the cameras. WE have proof. We…”

He laughed hard and put his hand on my shoulder and I shut up. He said..’Repeat after me…The customer…”

I looked at him and wanted to say something….but he squeezed my shoulder and said  ‘The customer…”

I said ‘The customer…”

He said ‘..is always..”

I said ‘is always’’

And he stared at me smiling and I said ‘right.”

He said, still smiling, now try it all at once.

And I half laughed and said ‘The customer is always right.”

He took his hand off my shoulder and I started to open my mouth and he said ‘What did you learn?’

I just shook me head and said ‘Yeah, yeah. The customer is always right.” and walked out of the office.

I never forgot that. In the years following, any job I had where I was faced with a ‘customer’ or ‘client’, I always remembered that kid and the tires and the $900 and my DM who taught me the most important and valuable lesson that anyone ever taught me before or after. And in practice, came to understand it’s not just an expression or catch phrase…it is a philosophy that is backbone of what will make or break a business, company, service worker, or even a 17 year old kid who was pushing register keys and selling Marlboros and lottery tickets to help out home with the bills or buy the new Styx Vinyl Album.

So, on September 18, 2016, realizing I had already lost this discussion when I dropped the first ‘bullshit’, I realized something else.

I realized that three quarters of my frustration was coming from the slap-in-the-face I was getting that said ‘The customer ain’t always right, no more. Choke on that.”

The ASM of BestBuy 264 then proceeded to tell me the following facts as he saw them.
  • Best Buy NEVER promised you $200 in gift cards.
  • Best Buy never promised you that the BOGO was 100% free
  • Best Buy went above and beyond by giving you free phone cases and shields. If it had been me, you wouldn’t have gotten those.
  • I gave you $200 store credit or to your wife, which I would never do for anyone. Normally, I would just take a customer to the side and say ‘Perhaps I can give you $50 off on a future purchase” or offer to work something out with you on a future sale. So, you’re lucky you got that.
Now, my wife lost it. She said to me in tears, ‘If he thinks I’m going to stand here and be made to feel like I’m some cheap redneck who came begging for a handout when all we ever ..EVER asked for is what we were promised, he has another thing coming. I'll be in the car.” and she left.
The ASM then proceeded to get on the PC and do what he said would be an ‘official pre-order’ for the phone. As he took down all the personal info from me that he needed to enter, I very calmly tried to explain, again, why we were so upset.

When I said we were promised the BOGO and the $200 in gift cards…he cut ME off. he said ‘Best Buy never promised you a free phone or $200 in gift cards.”

I replied “Your employee and your Samsung rep even called in to make sure the deals were good and stackable and assured us we were good and would get…’

And he cut me off and said ‘BEST Buy never promised you those things.’

This went back and forth a few times. I knew what was going on. And the voice in my head was screaming at me..”The customer is NEVER right. The customer is NEVER right.’

A pop-up shot up on his screen and he just walked away and went into the back office. I hadn’t gotten loud again or cursed, the undercover security guy was still right behind me browsing phone cases. I looked at the computer screen and the huge pop-up in the middle of the screen said ‘You cannot pre-order phones for phones that are not already on order” and the print under it was smaller and too hard to read. Three minutes later, the ASM came out with two sets of what he said were official pre-order agreements for the Note-7 replacements and when they arrived we would be called to come pick them up.

Now, I have what I saw on the screen in my head, forms in my hand that previously I was told could not be processed, and he starts to say ‘And I did check and we do have a few phones in the warehouse but they came in before the recall and there is only three and I can’t release them.”
I couldn’t help it. I laughed and said ‘If you have three, then you have three-hundred. While you were in your office and came out here, seeing me on the phone, I was talking to Samsung (which I was) and I know you’re getting three shipments. I know you got the first a week ago and will have the rest by the 21st…”

And he cut me off and says ‘Samsung has no way way of knowing what's in my warehouse!”
I said “Well, the rep at your kiosk seems to know, The rep I talked to last seemed to know. the blue shirt we talked to last week said they were already coming in and I just talked to Samsung..”
He said “Samsung has no way of knowing what I have in my warehouse” This really seemed to bug him.

I said “They ship the phones. You order from them. I’m sure they have record of how many was shipped and to where. But I never said Samsung told me what you have in your warehouse. Just like you said Best Buy never promised me anything.’ And I left.

Same day…climbing into my car, my wife in the drivers seat. ‘Now, don’t get upset..’

I looked at her and laughed and said ‘Who me?’

She replied, “You’re probably about to get an email from Best Buy saying you just ordered a new Note 7 and when it is ready for pick up, your credit card or debit card will be billed $899.”

I asked her how she knew this as I pulled out my phone to check and she said ‘Because I just got one.”

Sure enough, I had the same email in my phone that said the same thing, each addressed to each of us accordingly. I went back in to BestBuy 264 and went to the customer service desk and asked to speak to the ASM.

I asked him to explain the emails. I pulled it up and handed him my phone (My Note 7, btw) and I said ‘The way all of this is reading from the email to these forms you gave me, you didn’t order replacement phones. You ordered 2 new phones, which means we will not be contacted until your done taking care of all the replacement phones, because THAT is how BestBuy is officially handling this, and we won’t get a phone call until that is done and/or until after September 28th when Samsung releases the NEW phones you will be allowed to sell to new customers…and since I am once again at your mercy, you can call me whenever.”

He then told me
  • You’re wrong. These forms I gave you are the official replacement pre-order agreements
  • We will not bill you $900
and then he said something interesting….. he said….
  • In fact, I promise you that these are the official forms.
I asked…”Are you promising or is Best Buy promising? Because the last time I was promised $200 in gift cards, and you promised my wife $450 in gift cards, which by the way, we didn’t even ask for…she came in to make sure Alex didn’t get fired for trying to help us and do his job,…..”

AAAAaannd he cut me off.

Said I was being unreasonable and refused to hear him out. I apologized and calmly said ‘Fine. Go ahead. Tell me what it is you think you have done for us that I shouldn’t be upset and I will not say a single word.” and I put my hand over my mouth.

He shook his head and said ‘You’re unreasonable and immature and I’m done with you”

He started to turn away and I said ‘Wait. I’m serious. Tell me what you think you’ve done for us. I won’t interrupt. I promise.’

He came back to the counter and said…and I’m paraphrasing…

Best buy never promised us a free phone or $200 in gift cards. But they did go out of their way to give us free cases and shields, which they didn’t have to do. And when he was not able to get my wife the gift card he promised by trying to push it through the system on a Galaxy 8” Tablet deal, he more than made up for it by giving her his card with $200 store credit written across it. That he had done everything humanly possible to help us and we should be grateful.

When he was done, And I politely asked if he was, I spoke up. I said “Your employees bent over backwards while we were here, even giving my wife their names and the info deal by deal so she could write it down…while they all, my wife included , laughed at the silliness of the act itself, but they understood why she wanted to be sure we were going to get everything they told us they would, all of that, from two employees, and a third they checked with and whoever they called…that is their word and they represent your store and BestBuy is a promise….”

And he jumped in and said ‘Best Buy never promised you..”

I said “I know what you are TRYING to say, but BestBuy did promise in my eyes. And I understand that when we came in to pick up the phones, the system had rolled over and pretty much refused to allow the deal to go through.’

And he nodded and said ‘Right’

I said “I understand that. But that’s not my problem. You all made a deal when we came in that was legit….”

And he stopped me and said “No. Because you didn’t pay for the phones that day.”

I said “Yes, we did. We were told we HAD to. We were told we had to put down a $50 deposit on each of them or they couldn’t even put the order in!”

To which again, I was told I never paid for anything that day and Best Buy never promised us anything.

The customer is NEVER right.

I left, but not before I looked at him and promised that I would call whomever I had to and contact anyone and everyone I had to to get to the heart of this. That is wasn’t done. That he owed my wife an apology for making her feel like she was begging for handouts or being greedy (to which he said he never did) and he had no right to even berate her like that in front of customers and store employees to the point she walked out the door in tears and some other stuff…without yelling, getting loud , or swearing. And left.

Where are we. Well,
  • On the 19th I filed a formal complaint with BestBuy and got a claim ticket number for it, along with the assurance that they would out on there that I would like to speak to someone ASAP as I am concerned about my bank acct being hit for $1800 for phones we already purchased. And would like someone to intervene so I and/or my wife would not have to deal with the ASM at BestBuy 264 again, as we have no faith or confidence in his word, especially since he is so quick to point out that his and his employees promises are not BestBuy's promises…we have absolutely no reason to trust him and no way off knowing who we can trust.

  • I haven’t gotten that call yet and it’s been 24 hours.

  • I also managed to track down the actual person who will be the new manager at BestBuy 264, but he was in a meeting. A nice woman was more than willing to listen as I explained why it was urgent I speak to him and by the time I was done, promised me that either he or her would call me back in an hour, no later.

  • That was over 24 hours ago.

  • The employee who helped me track down the new manager was confused because they used to work at BestBuy264 and swore that someone else was the acting-store-manager and that the one I spoke to was lets say not entirely accurate when he said he was the top manager there and there was no one over him. This person was kind of enough to give the names and phone numbers of two BestBuy district reps I have yet to call because I’m holding out hope someone will call back first.

  • I did learn from BestBuy support that there is NO OFFICIAL PRE-ORDER FROMS for the replacement Note 7’s. So, it seems , again, there is some misinformation I was given to chew on.

  • And after taking to Twitter and posting to @BestBuy…@BestBuySupport stepped in and replied to me directly…..and in the end told me that I could go and get a loaner yesterday (the 19th) for my Note…to which I replied that the store manager will not, refuses to, and claims he can not give one…and @BestBuySupport stopped replying and seems to have fallen off the face of the earth as far as I am concerned.

  • So, I am blogging this, emailing it to BestBuy, Tweeting links to it, and getting ready to try some more phone numbers. Yes, even after being promised a free phone, some $650 in gift cards, a $200 store credit I don’t know if I can use…and learning that as of 2016 the customer is no longer always right…I’m gonna keep banging my head against that same wall.

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