Checkers Complaint

27 Feb

This is a complaint letter I’ve written to Checkers Hyper in Tokai. I’m hosting it here because the character limit on Hello Peter does not allow me enough room to fully express myself. That short complaint links here. So this is really for the Checkers person, but feel free to use this complaint letter as a template for your own troubles with stick blenders and automaton management styles…

To Whom It May Concern,

I recently purchased a ‘Platinum Design’ stick blender set for my wife’s birthday. I used it once to make a milkshake (noting that milk gets in behind the blade-plate and can’t easily come out), and my wife used it once to try and chop some milk chocolate. It broke instantly, because the drive-shaft exerts all its power on a little plastic rotor less than 1mm thick. All this is to say it’s a stupid product designed only to look like one that functions, and cheap or not, you shouldn’t be selling it. Some things are cheap and good, and some things are cheap and nasty. This item is barely good enough to qualify in the ‘nasty’ category, and its awfulness reflected badly on my present-buying skills and more generally on me as a husband.

This is not yet my complaint with you.

Feeling like a chump, I set out with the kids to return the item and hopefully to replace it with one that is designed with function in mind. Due to traffic and no parking, I arrived as an unhappy customer in a bad mood. Your staff, fortunately for them, offered no objection to me returning the item, but I then suggested a solution to the problem that would have been of mutual benefit: because I bought the item on special, and because I was now going to have to replace my wife’s present at a significant cost increase, and because I had to travel all the way back to you on a Saturday to point out what garbage you sold me, I asked whether your returns manager person would be able to offer me a better price on the upgrade item (which is a lot more than I was hoping to spend). I didn’t ask for something free; I didn’t even ask for something at cost price. All I asked is that I be allowed to spend more money at your unhappy-making store in a way that is mutually beneficial to us both.

In response, she kindly said, ‘Sorry, we don’t do that sort of thing’. So, instead of ‘thinking’ or ‘managing’, she pleaded policy. The-computer-made-me-do-it arguments make me extremely angry, which is why I am writing to you, because having a human brain is supposed to equip us to act with reason and empathy, and brains are supposed to override policies when it is clear that it is in everyone’s interest to do so. I was asking to be made into a happy customer (having already been made into a chump by your low-fi product), and I was asking to spend money in your store. Instead, I got invited to take my money and go. Where do you think I bought the somewhat-too-expensive but much-loved Kenwood upgrade that we now have? Hint: it was not at Checkers Hyper.

And why, I ask you, why annoy me? Why have a manager at all when a policy book will do? Sometimes a refund is not good enough. Sometimes it’s your wife’s birthday present and it worked for 20 full seconds before breaking. Sometimes it’s Saturday and you had to haul two small kids through traffic to return the shameful item. Sometimes you just want someone to do you the credit of listening to how they can help before telling you ‘no’.

Yours Sincerely,

Jordan Pickering

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