Monday, May 14, 2007


Down the crapper you go J. C. Penny's. For my readers in other countryies, J. C. Penny's is a long established conglomerate of department stores. Big chain of stores. You can see their home page by clicking on the title above.
My christmas gift for Wild Thing was a beautiful diamond pendant on a gold chain. It didn't cost a fortune, but it cost enough for a guy on a fixed income.
During the process of choosing exactly what I wanted and making the purchase, the salesman suggested I ought to buy an insurance policy on the chain. It did look kind of flimsy, so I bought the policy.
I felt very smug when WT looked at me sorrowfully one day last month and said morosely, "The chain broke."
I smiled my most "I love you dear" smile and told her I had insured it against breakage and J. C. Penny would be happy to replace it. Got some hugs and kisses for that, too.
So this month (two days ago) we saddled up and went to Penny's. Straight to the jewelry department. Straight to the saleslady named Lisa. Straight away told her the sad story of the broken chain. Showed her the insurance I had bought. She clucked like a mother hen consoling her chicklets (?) and told us there would be no problem. All we had to do was leave it with her and we would get it back within six weeks.
Six weeks? And leave the pendant? Smiling, the woman told us it would have to be sent back to the manufacturer who resided in Chicago. Chicago: 1338 miles from Albuquerque. Us: in front of a counter with lots of chains in the glass case. Why not give us a replacement chain from another piece just like it? There's one right in the case. "Oh," she said, as if her answer would solve the problem and avert our upset over this strange way of keeping a store's promise, "the chain is a complimentary."
With the phrase "complimentary what?" on my lips, WT said, "You mean he paid for a policy to replace the chain and you can't just reach in that case and give one to us?"
"No. We have to send it back to the manufacturer," she said. Seeing the red creeping up my neck (I think) she continued, "would you like to speak to a manager?" Would I? In my best Aussie accent (forgive me, ladies) I said "Bloody right, Sheila."
She had no idea of the meaning of my words, but got a manager there right away. He backed her up on having to send the piece out. "Why the jewelry itself?" I managed.
"I'm not sure sir, but the manufacturer requires we do that."
"OK," I tried, "then how come six weeks for a lousy chain?" I thought I had him.
"Sir, that's up to six weeks." I wanted to point out that I could drive both ways in less time, but the sadness on WT's face made me want to end the nightmare. "Well, let's do it then."
Manager went away, Lisa continued typing on the computer. She turned to us and said, "There's a question here. If we can't get the chain do you want a gift certificate or another piece of jewelry?"
"Neither," I snarled (yes, I had lost it). I want C A S H in that case."
"I don't think we can do that, " she said.
Manager guy had to come back. She told him what I had said. He looked at her, smiled at us, said, "We can, Lisa. We will cash the gift certificate for the customer." Hooray, I thought and began to look for the way out of this retail hell. But Lisa had forgotten something. "Oh, he would like us to mail the chain and pendant to them when we get it back. Can we do that?"
The manager gave her a wry smile and said something implying that we had been on the rack long enough and certainly J. C. Penny's would mail it to us.
J. C. Penny's used to be a great store to shop in. Everyone knew the merchandise in their department, they were genuinely happy to see you and the service was impeccable. And no one had to wait up to six weeks for a replacement part. Oh, yes, and no one had to go through a 40 minute effort to replace an insured part.
J. C. Penny has made my list. My list is not a place any business nor person wants to make.


YesBut said...

Every time I go shopping Mrs YesBut gives me a warning not to quarrel with anyone. Virtually impossible when you have an experience similar to yours. It’s enough to make you a grumpy old fart!!!

I do take pleasure out of annoying supercilious shop assistants.

Cuckoo said...

Good that lesson was learnt well in time. :)

Cuckoo said...

And I can see I am tagged !!

Thank you & I'll do this as soon as possible. Already have 4 pending tags. :(

Catmoves said...

Roaring. Give Mrs YesBut a hand from me.
Wild Thing gives me that warning without saying a word. But even she was exasperated at our less than pleasant experience.
Signed: Grumpy Old Fart.

Catmoves said...

cuckoo, it was a very unpleasant lesson and one we GOF's can do without. I wanted to suggest that the clerk might profit if the manager gave her the book Empower Your People, but it may be out of print by now.
I'd like to send the big brass there the book: "How To Win Friends And Influence People", but I can't find any addresses. :)

Catmoves said...

cuckoo, see what you get for being popular?
(I recommend your site all over the web.)

alphonsedamoose said...

AH Catmoves, I can certainly relate to this story. Service sure seems to be a thing of the past, especially the big box stores

Catmoves said...

alphonsedamoose, I'm sorry if you've had an experience like this. Frustration is a darn powerful emotion with me. As a very good friend of mine said "When I'm King, things will be different."