Saturday, November 26, 2005

What a DVD Deal!

Well, they say it is the busiest shopping day of the year. Since I have both a shopping gene and a parking gene, I had to pay homage to both and venture out for at least one item. My chosen quarry: a portable DVD player.

See, we will be traveling by car to Hometown City, Another State with a 5-year old for Christmas. It is about 550 hours and a good 9-12 hour trip, depending on weather and Sweet Girl's disposition. She is a wonderful traveler (we don't call her Sweet Girl for nuthin'!) but that long in a car seat can get on anyone's nerves. The last time we made the trip she was so good, but we could see that she needed something to help ease the time. So I've been planning this purchase for awhile and thinking I'd have to spend at least $200.00 to get one.

I saw a commercial for Walmart yesterday that caught my eye, so I checked out the internet ad to verify. Yeup, they had an off-brand portable DVD player with a 6.2 inch screen on sale for $68.00 until 11:00 a.m. today. I showed the ad to Champs and hopped in the car. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the snow was fun, but I'm used to that so it wasn't a problem. When I got to Walmart the parking gene was in full effect and I got to park three spots away from the door (no, I don't know why this happens, but it does. My family and friends will verify that I always get a good parking spot!).

They had plenty of the players in stock and I was glad. I had to buy the accompanying carrying case to get the car adapter, which I wasn't too pleased about since that was another $10.00, but oh well. I brought it home and showed it to Champs. He was sufficiently impressed and we went about our day.

Since Friday is date night (and I needed to get to the bank before the drive through closed), Champs and I decided to go out after dinner and check out Best Buy just for the fun of it (because, even when you can't spend the money, sometimes you just have to look at electronics, you know?). Well, I decided to see what they had for portable DVD players. They had a 7 inch Insignia (a Best Buy brand, similar to Radio Shack) player for $119.00 with a $50.00 rebate. It was a nicer quality than the first unit and the end cost would be only $1.00 more than I paid at Walmart. However, the car adapter was included, so that made it $10.00 better than the Walmart deal, even if we did have to wait for the rebate. Hmmm... Bigger picture, more features (like a full control panel on the unit instead of only on the remote) and a better price, but we would have to wait for the money to be returned. We thought about it for a minute, then decided to buy this one and return the Walmart one.

I asked the salesman for one and he looked around and asked a colleague. His teammate told us they had sold out earlier. Then he pulled one out from a top shelf and explained that it was a customer return. He further explained that because it was returned, it was priced at $104.00. Even so, all the pieces were there and we would still get the $50.00 rebate. He suggested we buy it and then take it directly to customer service to open it and confirm everything was there and it was working fine. That sounded good to us, so off we went to buy our new toy.

I asked the gal at the register for the rebate paperwork and she said it would print out with my receipt. OK, that worked for me. So then I went to customer service to confirm everything was there. I checked my receipt and noticed that the rebate portion hadn't printed. So I asked the gal there for it. "Oh", she sighed, "you don't get the rebate on customer returns." I told her that the salesman on the floor had encouraged me to buy the unit and assured me that I would get the rebate. She said, "Sorry".

Now, I've worked in customer service for about the last 13 years. I know all the tricks and nothing much gets by me. I asked for the manager. When she came over, I explained the whole story. She tried to tell me that the customer returns didn't get the rebate. She went on to say that the rebate was a "door buster" and had ended at noon.

I told her "I'm sorry, but your salesman told me about the rebate, sold me the machine, then explained that he was out and encouraged me to buy the returned unit. He assured me, without my asking first, that I would get the rebate. And the sticker on the display said the promotion ended on 11/25, not noon on 11/25. Since your employee assured me that this is the price I would pay, I want that price. If your policy is different, then you need to educate your employees." I didn't yell, but I was very firm.

She asked me to hang on and walked away. When she came back, she said that she had checked with the manager of the TV area. He had already heard about what the salesman told us. He confirmed that he had offered the deal so we should get it, but then set the employee straight so he wouldn't do it again. Then she said that, since she couldn't get the rebate paperwork for me, she would credit me with $50.00 right there. Sweet! That worked for me. Then we opened it up, confirmed that everything was accounted for and worked and brought our new toy home - at an even better deal than we had originally hoped to get. I was pumped!

Yeah, we have to go back to Wally World tomorrow to return the first player, but that's OK... They've got a great deal on a blender I've had my eye on...

Here's a few comments from this post:
Star said...
Good Girl! THat's how to get what you want and still retain your dignity. I am also a CS veteran(23 yeaars).

YellowRose said...
I believe in standing up for oneself, because no one else will in the retail business!!
Thank you so much for all the kind words when you visited "My Garden!" I hope to see you again!
I'll be back here to see your "Rants, Raves & Revelations!" :)

Carmi said...
Hiya BG. It was great crossing words with you on Michele's and my blogs. Thanks for dropping by!
Great job holding your own on this one. I've learned much from reading this entry - I'm never a pushover either, but your experience shows how to really balance your response.
I couldn't agree more about the need for a DVD player on a long car ride. We bought ours - we regularly do 500+ mile trips with our three munchkins, and will be driving to Florida with it in the near future - earlier this year, and it's been a godsend.
I know we didn't have these when we were all kids. But we also weren't belted into car seats like our kids are these days. Times have changes: technology sure helps maintain our sanity.

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