November 10th, 2005


(no subject)

All right, this isn't absolutely terrible service, but it is CONFUSING service. I'm hoping someone here works for J.C. Penney and can clear things up for me about the policy.

My mother bought a food steamer a little while ago. As it sometimes goes with small appliances, we opened the box for the first use and discovered that the steamer was non-functional. Since my father and I use both of the family cars pretty much every day of the week, she really has no opportunity to return the steamer herself, and asked me to do it.

The woman who helped me the first time I went in was an Assistant Manager. I had the original receipt, and it was well within the 60 days allotted for return. However, since my mother had purchased the steamer on her credit card, I was informed that she and the original card had to be present for it to be credited back. I had anticipated that there might be trouble (Mom suggested that I just pretend to be her, but I vetoed that. For one thing, her signature is perfect and my cursive tends to looks as if it were done by a kindergartener having a seizure.), so I wasn't fazed. I asked if it would be possible for me to bring in her credit card with a note of authorization for me to use it; no go. However, she offered to put the balance on a J.C. Penney gift card for me instead. I hesitated, then finally decided that I'd better not do it without consulting my mother first. I thanked the salesperson for being so helpful, and apologized for taking up so much of her time.

A week later I returned, steamer in hand, my mother having told me that the gift card was an okay option. I told the sales associate (a different one this time) that the purchase had been made on my mother's credit card, so I'd have to just take the balance on a gift card. She gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look and told me that that was impossible. Surprised, I replied, "Last time they told me that they could do that without the card being present." I was inwardly kicking myself, because I'd just been having a conversation with a coworker about how much we hate people who attempt to scam us by quoting a nebulous "they" who said it was okay to break the rules. The sales associate assured me that this was incorrect. I thanked her, apologized, and left, feeling very much like an idiot because of the bad impression I'd undoubtedly made. I'd just gotten off of work and was thus all sweaty and frizzy-haired, and I was in my favorite faded old sweatshirt that makes me look like a homeless person; I'm sure I looked exactly like the unsavory type of person who tries to run a lucrative steamer-scam ring.

Anyway, my question is this: was the first sales associate wrong? Was the second one wrong? Were they both correct, but the first was exercising her awesome managerial powers to override a rule and give me a gift card (thus making it excellent_service)?

I'm just sad that I made another trip in, and yet am still in possession of a non-functional steamer.