Two days ago my Kindle reader stopped working. I am not sure what happened but whenever you turned it on you could only see half of the screen. Not very good for reading anything. I checked online to see if there was anything I could do to fix it myself and the advice I got was to return it to Amazon. I first decided to stop by Best Buy, where I originally purchased the device to see if I couldn’t find out from a person, as apposed to a website, what I was supposed to do to get a new reader. I only bought the reader less than four months ago, so I would think that any product would be under a warranty. I took a break from building good websites to do so.
So I walk into Best Buy. I talk to the guard at the door and show her that I am bringing in a Kindle. I was directed to speak to the Geek Squad. That was fine with me. I waited my turn which took about ten minutes. I did not bring the receipt because I wasn’t sure where it was and in the past Best Buy has always been great about keeping records. I have never had any problem. I did have the original box with a bar code on it. I figured that would at least tell them I wasn’t lying to them, the kindle did in fact come from their store.
One of the odd things I notice about Best Buy is that all of the geeks on the Geek Squad are all very young. That probably means they work for less, complain less and have less experience to deal with people. I was faced with just such a person. We will call him Chucky. Quick description, Chucky was probably twenty years old, about six feet two inches tall and weighed about a buck thirty. He resembled a talking pencil. He initially didn’t really listen to my problem, when he asked for my name I said, “Jonathan Hilton, spelled just like Paris, only I’m smarter.” I always use that joke and I have never had anyone mess up my name before. I looked at what he was writing and he had written down, Jonathen Paris. Not instilling me with confidence at this point. But the encourager in me, wanted to help him, so I retraced my steps and very slowly and clearly spelled my name for him and gave him my phone number. He then disappeared behing the plastic strips the Geek Squad used to get out of the site of angry people like myself, to do God knows what. Probably hiding under a chair hoping that whatever is broken will magically fix itself.
After about ten more minutes Chucky returns and tells me there is no record that he can find pertaining to me or my purchase. I stay calm and say that “I bought it here, in fact that is why I came here because you people keep very good records.” He asked if I had the credit card I used to purchase the Kindle with. I did, he ran that card and still came up with nothing. At this point, Chucky was out of ideas and patience. Unfortunately for Chucky, I never lack ideas but still had patience, until. At this point Chucky proceeds to ask me if I had dropped or hit the Kindle on anything. ”Why no as a matter of fact I didn’t. I was reading it and it was working just fine and then I turned it off and whenever you turned it back on it does this half screen thing.”
Chucky looks at me suspiciously and points to the screen, “You see this line here? That is usually the result of some sort of damage. We would never warranty that.”
Now I am looking at Chucky in disbelief. I do not get angry easily, I try to understand that every man is doing the best they can. However at this point my patience was wearing thin. I asked him to clarify, ” So you think that I damaged this Kindle and even though I just told you that I didn’t, you are calling me a liar?”
Chucky reiterated, pointing to the Kindle’s half functioning screen, “You see this line? That usually means they have been dropped, and I asked Smitty in the back and he thinks the same thing.”
So the entire Geek Squad is now calling me a liar and casting aspersions on my character. I am now fuming. I try to keep as calm as possible as I explain to Chucky that I don’t really give a flying fig what Smitty in the back thinks or what usually happens, I wanted my Kindle fixed, or replaced and I wanted it now. Chucky said, “Sorry dude, there isn’t anything I can do to help You.”
First of all, I hate it when people you don’t know call you dude. Secondly, of course there is something you can do. There is always something you can do. You can treat your customer with a little respect. You can not accuse the customer of lying to you about the treatment of his electronic devices. You can at least pretend to have a little empathy with the customers situation. I mean c’mon, the new Kindle wouldn’t be coming out of his salary.
“Is this the end of the line?” I asked. ”Or is there someone higher up I could talk to?” Asking this question at a Best Buy is really worthless, because all of the people who could possibly help you are all standing there and have heard all of the conversation so far, and they know that you are pissed already and are “one of those” kinds of people, who will bitch until you get what you want. I am one of those types of people, I guess. So he says, that Steve can help me when he is free. Steve is and has been standing five feet from me for the past half an hour. He is the “Manager”, but he looks about 23 years old. I am not against young people, but can’t they find at least one person over 30 to babysit these kids?
I waited for another ten minutes, I think that they thought I would just go away. There was little chance of that at this point. I was invested. While I was waiting for the “Manager”, one of the other workers approached me to see what he could do. He was another very young person, but he was considerate and listened to my dilemma. They couldn’t find my receipt or any record of my buying this Kindle which was only a few months before. As he disappeared behind the Geek Squad Plastic door, I had little hope. While I was waiting for the return of the second kid that was trying to solve my problem, a woman came in with a computer she had purchased sometime in 2006, they immediately found her receipt and dealt with her problem in about 1 minute. I am standing there, and I think my jaw must have been on the floor because her Geek Squad guy looked at me and said, “yeah, usually once it’s in the system it’s easy to find.” I wondered why the Best Buy Gods were pestering me on this beautiful day.
The new kid emerged from the back again, this kid did not act like he was on recess from grunge school, like Chucky did. He had ideas, and he tried again, and what do you know, a receipt was printed and they did have a record of me after all. I did exist!
Here is the real ironic part. Best Buy doesn’t offer returns on Kindles, you just call Amazon, Kindle Support and they will send you a new one if it is still under warranty. The new kid gave me the number to call and explained that Amazon will ship a new one right out. My problem was solved, the new kid saved the day. I hope Chucky was paying attention. I called the number and the Amazon people were fantastic! My new kindle is on the way and they emailed shipping labels for the old one.
The moral of the story is this, Chucky: 1. Treat people with respect and they will understand you are trying to help them and be understanding. 2. Don’t tell the people you are trying to help that they are lying to you. 3. Never stop trying to help a customer until they are satisfied with your effort. 4. It is never wrong to be kind and courteous to a customer. You could learn a lot from the new kid who helped me out. Hopefully you will spend more time paying attention to his ways than to Smitty’s in the back.