Turn on the frustration
Boy. What a day. I have so much to talk about, I don’t even know where to begin.
What a horrible way to start off an entry. Mrs. Lee was right, I guess.
So here’s the deal: My cats, Biko and Sketch, are totally indoor cats. I never got over the loss of my cat, Rita (who was a boy, but we thought he was a girl, so we named him after my Voice Over agent, who gave him to me), which was totally my fault when I was like 10 or 11. So when I got my 2 cats, I decided that they would only be indoor cats, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them getting lost, or killed, or subjected to any of the horrors that outdoor cats surely face. Now, as someone recently pointed out, dogs have masters, and cats have staff, (I file that under “I wish I’d thought of that”) the cats are CONSTANTLY trying to get outside, and sometimes they make it a few feet, and I catch them…well, tonight, while I was doing the J. Keith vanStraaten Show (I have pictures!! I’ll put them up later), Biko and Sketch got out. Anne found Sketch in about 30 minutes, but Biko has been out for close to 3 hours, and it’s after midnight, and I’m really, really worried about him. He’s small, he has a heart condition, and I worry that he can’t defend himself from the big, mean, feral cats who roam my neighborhood. So if you could spare a thought for him, until he comes back, I’d appreciate it.
I am going to finish the entry I started tomorrow, but I’m going to go out of order, because what happened today is more on my immediate mind, and I’m gonna tell you about that, first.
This morning, I was supposed to have a dentist appointment, but I messed up the time (which I do quite often). I thought it was at 3:15, but it was at 9:30 AM. How I got that messed up, I’ll never know, but when I went to check it in my Palm Pilot, the damn thing wouldn’t turn on. Luckily, I have everything backed up on the computer (which is currently named HAL-9000, but that’s not all that cool…I was thinking maybe changing the name to “Marvin”), but the dentist entry wasn’t there. Odd. So here’s the thing: I bought my Palm pilot at Best Buy, because the price was right, and they have this great service/replacement plan…or so I thought. (I just went out to look for Biko…note to self: My next door neighbor has a really cool backyard, with a pool. She’s like 1000, so I gotta ask her if we can swim sometime).
Back to my Best Buy ni/*.phpare: When I bought my Palm Pilot, they tried to sell me this service plan thing, and the Palm cost close to 200 bucks (150 after rebate, thank you very much), and spending 35 dollars on a service plan seemed stupid to me, all things considered. But the guy did something that’s very hard to do to Wil: he sold it to me. He told me that if anything went wrong…that’s an important word, anything, because we’ll find out in a minute that anything really means something on a very short list…if anything went wrong, I could bring it in, and they’d either fix it, or replace it, right then and there, and I’d be out in under 30 minutes. This is also important to remember, because we’ll son find out that by 30 minutes, he really meant over an hour. I asked him, specifically, will I need my receipt? No. Will I need my original packaging? No. What if I lose this little service plan pamphlet thingy? No problem, Mr. Wheaton, we’ll look it up in the computer.
Can you guess where I’m going with this?
I get there this morning, at 11. I have to meet my friend Travis at the ACME, because we’re rehearsing for the sketch show at the huge Trek convention in Vegas next week. So I call Travis at 1045, and tell him that I’ll be there closer to 1130. Oh, how wrong I was.
I get to Worst Buy (gee, you think I’m the first person to come up with that?) at 11. I wait in the three person line for close to 15 minutes, because they’ve got one person working on returns. “Boy” I think to myself, “the 30 minutes must account for 15 minutes in line! These kids can bang it out!” Wrong again. Little did I know that the 15 minutes spent in line would be the only non-enraging minutes for the next hour.
I explained my problem to the apparently helpful Best Buy Customer Service Drone. She looked at me, looked at my dead Palm pilot, and said, “Okay, do you have your receipt?”
What? Did I have my receipt? I don’t need a receipt, I told her, confidently, everything you need it in your computer.
Okay, here’s another tangent. Sorry, I know this breaks up the flow, but it just happened: My phone rang. Not a big deal, right? Well, it’s 1AM here, so that is a big deal. The phone rings this time, and I think “Oh shit. Something’s bad.” Matter of fact, I used to pick up the phone in the middle of the night, and say, “Someone better be dead!” Until someone really was. One of my best friends had hung himself. So now I answer the phone, “Hope you won the lottery!”…anyway, I said, “Hello?” and the voice on the other end says, “[long pause] Is Joe there?”
“No, there’s not Joe here.”
“Who is this?” comes the reply.
I immediately think, “Great. Some fuckwad has gotten my home number, and is fucking with me, and now I have to change my numbers, blah blah, blah…” So I put on my “dad” voice, and I say, “This had better be a wrong number.”
And the voice (who I’ve pegged as about 17 or so) says, “You know what? You’re a fag.”
I am stunned into silence, at the genius currently coursing across the phone wires, but only briefly. I’m still pretty sure this is some jackass trying to mess with The Kid From TV (yes, it still happens. Jocks never grow up, apparently), so I say, “Okay, genius. I have you on my caller ID, and my next call is to the police.”
So I called the police, just to make a record, in case this was some phone calling equivalent of a skRip+ K!|>|>i3, and they sent a guy out here, because I live in a tiny town where nothing ever happens, and he just left.
End of tangent.
We now retun you to: “My Best Buy ni/*.phpare”, already in progress.
What? Did I have my receipt? I don’t need a receipt, I told her, confidently, everything you need is in your computer.
She looked at me, blankly, tapped a few keys, and told me that they didn’t have anything about my Palm in there. They had my wife’s camera, but nothing about my Palm.
Great. Here beginneth the ni/*.phpare.
I’m just gonna cut to the chase, because it’s REALLY not worth rehashing, blow by blow, and it’s late and I’m tired, and I have to get up at 7, so we can take Nolan to the beach for his birthday.
Here are the highlights:
They told me there was nothing they could do without a receipt. I told them that when I bought the service plan, I was told that everything would be in the com–dammit. Ferris just laid at my feet, and farted. Jesus Christ I hate that- I was told that everything would be in the computer, and I wouldn’t need it. At first, I was calm. I stayed calm, but forceful, you understand, as I climbed the chain of managers and supervisors, each as useless as the last.
Here was their first solution: I could get a
I would go get a Palm IIIxe from the Palm section. I would bring it back, and I give them the box with all the accessories, and I’d get the actual Palm unit, itself. This was honoring the service plan I’d bought, so it sounded okay to me, until I found out that I was going to be charged a “restocking fee”. Well, I was not about to pay a “restocking fee”, since I was mislead by the guy who sold me the service plan, and since I had already given them a lot of my money, and a lot of my time. After much gnashing of teeth, and wringing of hands, they agreed to waive the restocking fee. I think it may have had something to do with me saying, “Best Buy is a billion dollar company. My wife and I spend quite a bit of money here, annually. I am willing to walk out of here, right now, without anything, and take all my business elsewhere. That’s my TV-buying business, my CD-buying business, my game-buying business, and my DVD-buying business. You’re willing to lose all that, over a $20 restocking fee?” (see, it wasn’t about the money. It was about the principle. I’m sure a lot of you understand.)
So they tell me to go get the IIIxe, and bring it back, and we’ll do the switch, without the restocking fee.
NIKE! (That’s Greek for “Victory!”, and American for “Sweatshop!”)
I ran like phidipidies to the Palm counter, and asked for a IIIxe, so I could be on my way.
Small problem: Best Buy doesn’t carry the IIIxe any more. They carry the IIIc, which is nearly 150 dollars more, and way more Palm Pilot than I need.
So I head back to the most innappropriately named “customer service” counter that ever was, and explain the lack of IIIxe’s. Which sets me right back to square one. The woman who is “helping” me gleefully informs me that there’s nothing else that she can do for me.
So I did what we in acting call “making a choice”. I made the choice to become the hysterical, angy, irrational man who they really wanted to just get the F out of Best Buy. I ranted. I raved. I drooled.
And I finally talked to a manager who could do something for me. She explained that there was a mess up in the computer, and that wasn’t my fault (duh) she said that I had 2 options: Go home and search for the receipt (which I am certain I’ve lost. I can never keep receipts. If I put them all in a magic bag of receipt-holding, even that vanishes), or, I can take the $149.00 that they show my IIIxe being currently worth, and I can apply that towards an “upgrade”, if I’d like.
I’ve been thinking about getting a Visor.
So I finally spent an extra 40 bucks, and got the Visor. Now, wy any one of the parade of managers I’d dealt with before that couldn’t tell me that is beyond me. Like Columbo was so fond of saying, “Maybe I’m a little stupid here…”
I feel like I gave in, a little bit, because a few years ago, I would have walked out of there without anything, and fought them until I got exactly what I wanted. But Travis was waiting, and I knew that I would be able to spin my tale here, and let everyone know what we’ve all known, all along: big corporate behemoths like Best Buy suck. I’d encourage anyone who reads this to take your money, and your business, elsewhere. Anywhere. A mom and pop store would be the best, but, after that, maybe a place like 800.com, or something. Just keep your money, and your business away from Big Brother Best Buy. That’s today’s call to action, such as it is.
Next: Rehearsal, and the “Rrrreally big shew!”