Monday, August 02, 2004

The crackheads pay up.

It's because I expected nothing, I think.

That, and I am a KICK-ASS WRITER! Please read the letter I finally sent them, after the dishwasher was NOT DELIVERED on the specified day:

Ms. Alex Mastro
Store Manager, Sears
2375 E. 1st Ave.
Denver, CO 80206

Dear Ms. Mastro:

I have an unfortunate story for you. I hope you have time to read it, because it is about my experience with Sears, and your store in particular. I suggest you sit down.
On July 7, 2004, I went to Sears to purchase a dishwasher. I had visited before to find the one I wanted, and I had saved enough money so that I could purchase it outright, instead of relying on credit. A sales associate helped me with the purchase, but during the course of the transaction, we had to switch computers/cash machines. She swiped my debit card once on one machine, and once on the other.
“Please don’t charge my card twice,” I said to her.
“Oh, no, ma’am, it didn’t even go through at all. I voided it out,” she replied to me.
Alas, as you may be able to guess, this was not the case. My card was, indeed, charged twice. The void did not go through for several days. During this time, I was charged an overdraft fee by my bank, which was deleted after I traveled to the bank myself, to at least correct that error.
You can imagine my dismay when I saw that my card had been charged twice. Perhaps you can imagine my despair, when I realized that I was unable to use my debit card until these charges were actually voided. At this point, my bank balance was $0.00. I talked with Heather, in your Human Resources department, and she was very pleasant to me, and attempted to help. Of course, nothing could be done. (This will be a theme, here; stay tuned.)
Heather had told me to wait until Saturday, (I purchased the dishwasher on Wednesday), to see if the charges righted themselves. In my unwavering hope that there is something good happening in the universe, I checked my bank account on Friday. Can you guess what I found? No need; I’ll tell you. I had been charged yet again, for the dishwasher. This time, the charge came from a Sears store in Cadillac, Michigan. (Cadillac, Michigan? Why?) At this point, my bank account was at negative $400.00.
At the point that I discovered the third charge on my checking account, I was almost out of my mind. I am the only person supporting my family financially, you see. All of the money that we had to live on for the rest of the month was in my checking account. I could not use the account, because Sears had hijacked it. Since it was 10pm on a Friday, I did what any woman would do, who had been driven insane by Sears: I went out back and hand-watered my lawn, while crying my eyes out.
“How will I feed my family? What am I going to do? What did I do to deserve this?” These and other desperate questions went through my mind, until the lawn was sufficiently soaked, and I had rid myself of the massive amounts of adrenaline shooting through my veins, induced from the shock of my bank account balance.
Having been driven insane, I tried yet again to get someone to help me. The folks in your human resources department, while pleasant, could do nothing, of course (I told you there was a theme, here). Did they offer to make it better? Did they offer to do something monetarily, so I could at least cover my baby’s butt with a clean diaper? No, they couldn’t, you see. I was told repeatedly that there was “nothing they could do.” This is, apparently, the mantra of the “Customer Service” department at Sears.
Are you still seated? I hope so, because this story gets quite riveting. And you thought it was over! Alas, no. There are more problems to report. The delivery time for my alleged dishwasher (I now have doubts of its very existence) was for today, July 19, 2004. I called the company to confirm the delivery, and they did so, telling me the alleged dishwasher would arrive and be installed between 2pm and 5pm.
Ms. Mastro, please tell me that you can guess what happened. If you can’t, I really need to work on my foreshadowing skills. Of course, the dishwasher was not delivered. I called the company, and the woman told me that she had called me back, and didn’t I get her message? No, I did not.
Best Yet Lady: “But ma’am, I called you back about an hour after you confirmed. I left you a message letting you know that the dishwasher was backordered until July 23.”
Maligned Customer: “I have received no phone calls on my phone. It lets me know if I have missed a call, and if I have any messages. I have no messages, and no calls.”
Best Yet Lady: “Oh, well, I left a message on someone’s phone. It was kind of a generic message, saying something like, ‘you know what to do.’”
Maligned Customer: “That is not my voice mail. I have my name on my voice mail.”
Best Yet Lady: “Oh, ma’am, I am so sorry. I must have mis-dialed.”
Maligned Customer: “Yes, well, we have been waiting here all day for this delivery.”
Best Yet Lady: “Well, ma’am, I am sorry for that. Our drivers went to the warehouse and they were informed that model has been backordered.”

I’ll leave you with that short version of the conversation. Can you guess what that woman could do about the situation? Of course: nothing.
I have had nothing but grief in my life since I walked into your Sears store at 2375 E. 1st Ave. in Denver. I have had overdraft charges on my checking account, which were unwarranted. I have had my checking account held hostage, because Sears charged it 3 times. I have had to wait for 7 days total before my account was back to “normal,” and I could actually purchase things with cash. (My cash! Not Sears’.) I have received an insufficient funds notice from my bank. Furthermore, and most importantly, I have wasted my time. I have spent countless hours worrying about how I was going to feed my family. I have spent hours in the Human Resources department of your store, crying because I had a negative account balance. I have spent hours crying in my backyard, desperate for answers.
Of course, I know the answer, and so do you. The only answer that I have received, from anyone, is this: “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.”
Ms. Mastro, is this true? Because if it is, then Sears is telling a loyal customer that my time is worth nothing. Furthermore, I am being told the same by companies that Sears hires to deliver appliances. I have wasted my time, my energy, and my sanity dealing with Sears. This is the worst customer service experience I have ever had. My money has been held hostage, my dishwasher has been backordered with no notice to me, and my time is supposedly worth nothing.
Oh, I’m sorry. Not “nothing!” Your associate in Human Resources (I don’t remember his name; he did not give me his card), told me that I might be offered 10% off my purchase, IF the charges didn’t clear from my account and I had to go back there again. Oh, I see. Only if MORE of my time is wasted will a scrap be thrown from the corporate table that is Sears.
If I added up all of the actual hours I have spent on this problem, including going to the bank several times, going to Sears several times, waiting for a non-existent delivery, and typing this tome, the cost is far more than I paid for the dishwasher. This is not an exaggeration. I multiplied it out, using my hourly rate of pay as the base. A bargain isn’t a bargain, if I have to sacrifice my sanity and hours and hours of time to receive the appliance.
Ms. Mastro, what is Sears prepared to do to make me satisfied that I made the right decision to purchase an appliance from Sears? As you can imagine, I am thinking quite the opposite right now. Before you answer, please know that I am a loyal Sears customer. I purchased a washer and dryer and a lawnmower there a few years ago. I did not look anywhere else when I was looking for a dishwasher.
Ms. Mastro, I would appreciate an answer to one more question. I think I’ve earned it. My question is: What did I do to deserve this?

Well, Ms. Alex Mastro gave me a call, and offered to give me 50% back on my purchase. She complimented me no less than 4 times on my "well-written" letter, and apologized for everything that happened. She even sent me the receipt of the money she returned to me (electronically, of course. I was skeptical, but ready to hire a lawyer if they took any more money). The deposit went through. It was a nice gesture, I guess. I'm still leery of shopping at Sears again.

Therefore, the above letter is a sample for my writing portfolio. I can honestly claim that it was effective.

--groovygrrl, queen of snarky letter-writing

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