the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

10/25/2005

In A Jam


... AND COME TO think of it, when it comes to standing up for my own rights, I'm stuck between being meek and fierce.

I'd bought a jar of Lemon Curd from a small but well established mini-market the previous weekend. Friday morning, drooling at the thought of that delicious, zesty creamy stuff on toast, I opened it.

The lid didn't pop. Horrors! A tiny patch of mould on the luscious, lemony curd!

At the thought of mycotoxin-producing fungi in my favourite breakfast spread, indignation rose. Sheeze... I paid good money for it and it was spoilt! I absolutely MUST send it back.

But the hassle (besides traveling and parking costs) of going back to the store as well as losing at least one hour in pursuit of rectification added up to quite a deterrent.

I did the next best thing. Rang and asked to speak to the Buying Manager, or The Boss (since this wasn't a Cold Storage or Tesco, or Giant or any of those Big Flers). Frankly, I didn't expect to be put through, but I was. I didn't expect to be allowed to exchange, at another outlet or time convenient to me, but I was.

What a pleasant surprise! Especially since a friend who bought an expensive bra with a faulty clasp from a leading departmental store had to go all the way to the same store to exchange it, even though they had a store within walking distance of her office.

I was luckier. The Boss was profusely apologetic and instantly offered the exchange. No receipts necessary - no ifs, no buts, no questions asked.

Having resolved that to my satisfaction, without any of the anticipated stress, I made no plans to execute my exchange.

Yes, I'm one of those who start out on a high horse to seek redress but an apology is usually good enough, if, to exact the requisite pound of flesh means a further investment of my time and attention.

But The Boss thought otherwise. At 5pm the same day, a hamper arrived at home, crammed with goodies by the same manufacturer of the Lemon Curd. All, probably worth 15 – 20 times what I paid for that jar of Lemon Curd.

Unaccountably, I immediately regretted being so cross earlier. After all, wasn't it just a tiny patch of mould, smaller than a 1 sen coin? Why fuss over such a trivial thing when this very moment, thousands of Indian and Pakistani earthquake victims are probably having, at best, the barest minimum of nutrition, if any? My complaint had also caused the whole batch of Lemon Curd to be pulled off the shelves.

I found myself faced with a chore of having to return the hamper. Keeping it might be pandering to my greed, the something-for-nothing syndrome.

This episode gave me much (and needless) food for thought.

I wish I could be one of those so certain of the correctness of their action that they have no qualms – whether giving subordinates bad reports leading to dismissal or telling serving staff off in restaurants even when service is just a notch below perfect.

They are only doing what is right and their right, as they usually declare. I too was standing up for my rights, but I couldn't help wondering if I over-reacted, when I saw that hamper.

My sister on hearing my plans to return the hamper, made the problem worse by asking "Why, didn't they inconvenience you?"

They did but the gift was out of proportion, I argued. Then she kicked it in: "If you send it back, they might think you're still miffed. That you expect a RM500 voucher"

Would they? Surely not!

To cut a long story short, I tore into the hamper and randomly distributed one third of it to my family members, and kept the rest for myself. And then I went back to the store and spent RM80+ on some dry groceries before other arguments against that move surfaced to change my mind. It was a sort of a quid pro quo.

Blessed are the meek for they would have scraped off the mould, eaten the rest of the curd without a peep and saved time and thought for more fruitful pursuits.

And blessed too are those never assailed by self-doubt when they rap on the counter and demand First Class service or their money back.

Unfortunately, I'm stuck somewhere in between the two groups.

Not laidback enough to say: never mind, tough luck, I bought a lemon. Yet not strong enough in my convictions when rewarded for my trouble, to take a generous gesture as my wholly-justified dessert.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lrong said...

First time to comment altho been enjoying your blog for some time... Good story...
My take is, you cannot beat that manager. He seems like a pro in 'service recovery'.
Also think you did the right thing. And like you, I would return to shop, which is what the manager is aiming for. And also, the word-of-mouth from you about how kind/responsive the shop is...

11:24 AM  
Blogger Lucia Lai said...

but not many people are like you who are satisfied with an apology. many like to make a hue and cry over it. just imagine if you were to barge into the boss's office with the jar of lemon curd, screamng your head off, what would you get? certainly not the RM20x lemon curd hamper. ;)

11:02 PM  
Blogger percolator said...

lrong,
welcome! welcome! Oh, I enjoy your blog very much as well, but being a couch expolorer, what can I do but gape and gawk at those pics you post or stir up in theatre of my mind!

Yup, these days, retailers have got consumer psychology down to a fine art - of DELIGHTING customers. And I must say, in this respect, it's the smaller, niftier 'boutique' outfits that seem more agile. See them wield their mastery in getting multiplier effect off me, the sucker consumer! MAGIC!

lucia,
Just a jar of jam not worth it, lor. Now banks is a creature, a different story... grrr.. Which is why I do most of it online. Cos, they seem to have got have SPOILING MY DAY down to a fine art!

10:06 AM  

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