As it says on the ‘About Me’ section of my site I am a little old fashioned therefore, as an inevitable consequence of starting ‘Mrs Fox’s’, I have had to get over my technical phobia in order to spread the vintage love. To give you a little hint into how bad I am I used to type with one finger until my old boss sent me on a course. I still don’t know what all the buttons on the remote control for our TV do and I spent over a year with the wrong wire in my Blu- ray player. So when the wife came home last Sunday with a pretty white laptop for little old me I was super excited. It was her way of saying she supports my new adventure (along with being my editor!) and I think she was starting to feel like a blogger’s widow. The new laptop has the added perk of allowing us to be in the same room in the evening and watch all the TV shows we have recorded while I can happily tap away on the keyboard. Oh how crazy our life is! Anyway I was a little nervous about the gift but couldn’t wait to get started.
That’s when it began – the joy of the modern world. To cut a long story short the software the wife had purchased which would enable me to have word and excel wouldn’t load onto my laptop. Despite our best efforts we had little success and after taking it to a very good friend who knows his stuff it was clear I needed to return it. With the help of Google I found there was a PC World on Oxford Street, who knew? I thought there was only Topshop. I was soon to discover that this was information that I would regret learning. In fact I could have spent the rest of my life happy to never pass through their doors.
The result was I spent three consecutive evenings of my life at PC World (now to be known as the seventh circle of hell), two long winded and unproductive phone calls to their ‘customer service’ department, four phone calls to the manager of the store and (surprise surprise) still no refund or software on my laptop. Needless to say the whole thing was really un-fun. I was in a new world, I felt like Alice in Wonderland without the wonder. I never go into phone shops (not since the unmentionable phone-gate incident in an Orange store in 2006) or anywhere that sells technical equipment or sports shops.
As I was waiting in PC World on the second night I spied a girl eating a jam doughnut whilst looking at cameras in the store. Doughnuts are not an easy snack at the best of times and unsurprisingly a dollop of jam escaped out the bottom of the sugary treat. The girl looked down at the jam on the floor, checked no one was looking, and then walked around it – classic. That’s when I took a look around the shop as a whole. A room full of people needing help, people who had walked in with a dream, perhaps with the aim of getting a fab camera for that holiday they had planned, or maybe an ipad to keep up with all the cool kids or even a super duper 3D HD Smart TV (that can also cook clean and wash up) for the home. How many got the help they needed or walked out like me with a broken dream wondering if all they really got was a headache and a depleted bank balance.
They finally broke my spirit on night number three after being told ever so helpfully by the manager that he couldn’t help me (whilst looking like he couldn’t give a fig either way). I started to feel like I was being treated like some sort of master criminal, the insinuation being that as part of some grand evil plan for world domination I had used the software and nonetheless was attempting to still get a refund. He quoted me from the night before that I could in fact take it further if I ‘wasn’t happy’ but then helpfully was ‘unable’ to give me any contact name, address or route to do so apart from the number on the receipt (which I had called before!). This was the first time for a while I felt like I needed a man with me; I hate to say it but I really felt that if I had taken a gent with me I may not have lost a week of my life to PC World. It wasn’t even about the money after the third trip it was the fact I had gone this far – I had to see it through to the end. I guess they act like this in the expectation that people will just not bother after a while. Us English don’t complain a lot really, we just get on with it. If a place has bad service you just don’t go again or if your feeling really brave you leave a message on the site you booked with hoping to help other people not waste their money or time.
So your question may be – did I get my refund in the end? Well I did. I am as shocked about it as I am sure you are. I had a call from a nice manager (thank goodness some exist) called David who asked if I would go back again as he had heard I was unhappy – someone was listening! So as I stood in PC World for the fourth and final time feeling a mixture of stress and hope I knew I had really begun my modern living and I wasn’t sure I liked it.
This last week has left me with these questions -What happened to customer service? What happened to the customer always being right? What happened to people caring? I did get there in the end but they made me work for it.
So I am going to see the positive side of this and get myself an amazing laptop case and see this as a false start. After all I now have my money back so I can get a custom made one created using vintage style fabric with dress pattens on, that’s all I want. Forget word or excel, I will think of something else!
Picture above courtesy of Etsy Womensgirl