I have to admit, I avoid confrontation whenever I can. If I order food at a restaurant and they screw it up a little, I don’t say anything, I just eat it. I’m reluctant to return things to a store. If something I buy breaks, I try to fix it before even thinking about returning it. Now, if it’s a big dollar item, oh, like a jetliner or a car, I’ll take it back. Normally, however, I just deal with it.
My wife is a whole other story. If they bring her the wrong food or don’t prepare it the way she asked, they’re either going to fix it or she won’t pay. If she buys an appliance and it doesn’t do what she expects, they’re taking it back. Basically, she demands what she paid for and she’s right. She also can become impossible to argue with if they give her any lip. At 5’3” and barely 120 pounds, she can be deceptive when she returns things. She’s sweet until they give her a reason to be otherwise. Then we grade her response on the hurricane category scale. They never see it coming.
We once had a lawnmower that quit working after a year. I’m a good mechanic, but she insisted on taking it back. We were newly married then and I still hadn’t seen her determination about these things, but I was about to.
ME: You can’t return it.
WIFE: Why not?
ME: It’s over a year old.
WIFE: So? It quit working. A lawnmower shouldn’t quit working after only a year.
ME: Well, also, the place you bought it from went out of business.
WIFE: Why? (Surprisingly, I actually had an answer).
ME: Because Home Depot came and put it out of business.
WIFE: Where’s Home Depot? (I told her where it was located).
I loaded the lawnmower into the Jeep and off she went. An hour later, she came back with a new lawnmower.
ME: You bought a new one?
WIFE: No. I exchanged the old one.
Apparently, when they told her she couldn’t exchange mowers, she moved quickly to a category 4 or 5 on the hurricane scale. In the end, she had a new mower. The argument boiled down to the fact that because they put the other place out of business, it was on them to honor the exchange. Obviously, they gave in.
Although there are other examples, the next one I’ll give you is one of the best.
My second youngest son went to the mall to get a haircut. He came back home with a strange set of hair that didn’t look like anything he would’ve wanted. He was very upset, but like me, he just accepted the haircut without a fight. Now he was visibly unhappy.
My wife couldn’t take his sadness and packed him into the car and headed for the mall. They came back an hour later and his hair looked good again. He was very happy and very impressed.
ME: How’d it go?
SON: She was amazing!
ME: What do you mean?
SON: She went up to the manager and told them exactly what they were going to do and they did it.
ME: She returned your haircut?
ME: That is amazing.
In some circles, my wife would be considered a “difficult customer.” In my circle, and my son’s, she really is amazing. She firmly believes that you should get what you pay for and if you don’t, she will. It’s just another thing I admire her for. As for the businesses, they never see her coming, that’s for sure, especially if she hits category 5!