Sunday, October 16, 2011

Retail Returns

Ok, since apparently a few of you shed some tears over my last post, and its quite obvious that I did, too, I figure I should lighten it up a bit this time! 

The story of trying to return my hair dryer is a good way to do that.

I got a cute new haircut.  I could have gone to one many, many, many of the places here that showcases a larger than life poster of Mario Lopez or Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt’s outside, because they must obviously get their haircut there (hahaha), but instead, I went to a more Western place called the Dollhouse.  I didn’t know it but I was apparently scheduled to get my hair cut by a famous stylist, Craig Taylor!  Seriously!  You can read about him here.  It was really cool.  And long story short, I spent $30 instead of the $3 I would have paid at a Cambodian place but still spent way less than I would have anywhere else by someone like this, so it was worth the experience!  He did a fantastic job - gave me the best hair cut I’ve ever had in my life and made me feel good about myself... something I needed at the time! 

Anyway, the next day my hairdryer fried!  Seriously?  So I got a new one and guess what, yep, the first time I plugged it in, smoke started coming out as soon as I turned it on!  So frustrating! 

I decided that I was going to take it back.  After all, I spent $25 on it, and that’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t work.  Whether you are in Cambodia or not, whether your income is support based or not, if it doesn’t work, it’s a waste of money!

I had a bunch of errands to run that day but decided to start with that one.  I marched in the store – a real store, not a market – and gave them the box and receipt and said in English, but slowly and clearly, “I bought this but it does not work.” The girl pointed me toward someone else.  I went to him and said, again, “This does not work.”  He took it out of the box and plugged it into the wall.

Hmm.  Let's call him guy #1.

When guy #1 plugged it in to the wall, smoke started coming out of the nozzle.  He looked at me and said, “This does not work.” And then he said he was going to get his friend to help.  He grabbed someone and just stood there as I told the story yet again to guy #2.  Because guy #1 explaining it to him for me would be too much work?

We all watched as guy #2 stood there and plugged it in to the wall and saw smoke come out.  He looked to me and said “This does not work.  It makes fire.”  I replied (kindly) that I had already said that to a few people.  He said he was going to get a friend.  Really?

So he got guy #3.  Now we are all standing there... me, #1, #2, and now #3 as he plugs it in to the wall.  Are you bored yet?  Because I was!  I said “They already tried this and it didn’t work! You are going to start a fire! Can’t you smell the smoke?” He plugged it in.  And guess what... it didn’t work. More smoke.  This guy at least realized that maybe we should try a new one instead of getting another friend.  He went to the shelf and got another one.  The whole entourage followed.  He handed me the new box indicating that the problem was solved that easily.  Instead, I smiled and said “Please try that one for me.”

We all watched anxiously as he plugged it into the wall and ... you guessed it... smoke billowed out as the on switch was pressed. 

So we grabbed a third one - the last one on the shelf - and tried it.  The same smoke resulted.  We had an even bigger audience now. 

Out of curiosity, one of the female employees who was standing by brought over a hairdryer that was on the shelf below.  It was made by a different manufacturer and had a $20 price tag instead of $25.  Guy #3 (out of about 8 now) tried it out and it worked beautifully.  I said, “Great!  I’ll take that one!”  He handed it to me and told me to take it to the cashier.

You’ll never believe where all the broken ones went.

Yes.  Back on the shelf.  Seriously.  I tried to comment on that but they just laughed and told me it was ok.  Note to self – always try electronics before I buy in Cambodia. 

So I went up to the register, where the cashier, who happened to be the girl I initially talked to when I walked in told me she could not exchange it because it was not the same hair dryer.  Well, of course, that makes sense!  “Ok, well, refund that one, then, and I’ll buy this one.”  She told me they don’t give money back for things at their store.

What? Even if it doesn't work and I just bought it?  I told her that I would even let her keep the $5 difference in price if I could just take the dryer home!  After all, I needed a way to keep styling my cute new hair!  She said she could not do that.  Sigh.

I asked to talk to a manager.  Oh, boy, I had no idea what that meant.  

Finally, I looked over and saw a moto pulling up outside.  He had come from home!!!  He came in and when she explained everything to him in Khmer he then looked at me and told me no exchanges or refunds but he would repair it for me and I could pick it up.  Not further details of how or when to pick it up.  He walked out and got on his moto and drove away.  And then I walked out, too, 45 minutes after I walked in to run my “quick errand.”

That was over a week ago.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never see that hair dryer again.  I mean, how could they possibly fix it after plugging it in so many times and watching smoke pour out of it again and again?

I guess I could just go buy another one off the shelf there?     :)

Just another day in Cambodia!

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