Our Consumer-Power

(Frd) Goodness has its way of computing out an entire cemetery of new and neat capitals: S, P, W, W, & A.  Could this be the revolution our Foremothers spoke about?  I’ve got the volition of an ant inside & outside of myself, outside of my inner shelf, where blanks of pages weep without a known thought in their loose-leaf wages (college-ruled, that’s what the advice is these days).  But the wide & deep rules of our Knacks-&-Laws wish me into a giant’s nest: two pounds of Nativity, for I’m a native glassblower in this ole town.  My request is to be the grandfather of all, but the joker in the family–can you make that happen?  I’m dancing, can’t you see me.  I’M DANCING TO THE RHYTHMS of your blood-flow.  You should go to the doctor though, seriously, because it’s not beating at the rhythm I’d like it to.  You make it with your high-success-rates, but you haven’t got an imaginative distance between your map and I’m no femur or the better for it.  Thrice have I repeated the 3rd raid–I just never mastered the concept of sounding the siren at the right time.  I’m always early, never late–who am I?  I am me.

Don’t mind my Frd’ing.  Okay, here we go:

Most superpowers are unleashed through gamma radiation–that’s just a fact.  Mine, however, was released through a bad experience with Target: consumer-power.

I ordered a desk online; I waited a week for it to get shipped to me; I opened the box; I took out all of the pieces.  Everything looked decent until the last piece, the biggest piece:

Oh, it's not just a scratch: it's a fatal crack.

Oh, it’s not just a scratch: it’s a fatal crack.

So I decided to give Target a *piece* of my mind (lol, right?).  I called them up and calmly explained the issue: I ordered a desk in time for school, but because of their unintentional mistake (either making a poor-quality product and/or shipping it poorly), I would not have the desk in time for school.  And then I realized something, and it unleashed my powers: I paid for a desk–I didn’t pay for this inconvenience.  I realized that I truly was going to be inconvenienced by this issue: I would either have to re-pack the product (which is impossible) and re-ship it myself and wait for a new desk, or I would have to dump it off at the nearest Target store and wait for a new desk (this is the option I went with).  Here were the inconveniences I ended up with: impossible re-pack, gasoline, wasted time, & not having a desk in time for school.  I don’t mean to whine–but I do mean to not be a pushover.

At the end of this story, Target, like any good business should, patted my belly with a nice $10 gift-card–but I had to work for it.  They weren’t going to give me anything on their own–I had to fight for it.  When I began to articulate my inconveniences over the phone with the friendly Target representative, she apologized and gave me instructions to get a brand new desk.  But because I felt like the inconveniences deserved to be treated as more-than-a-little-annoying, I persisted, and so she threw me a bone in the shape of a $5 gift-card.  That was nice–but I was being inconvenienced more than $5-worth.  (Add up the gas, the time–gets expensive quick.)  So I persisted further (and nicely) and ended up with $10.  Honestly, I thought that was pretty fair.  (Unfortunately for them, I not only left them with a broken desk and squeezed a gift-card out of them, but I ended up buying a significantly cheaper desk in the store lol.)

Another story: Chelsea got an oil-change for our car.  Long-story-short, she didn’t receive all of the services she paid for: Jiffy Lube didn’t vacuum the car…even though they marked on our receipt that they did.  Not a big deal–but since we realized that we needed a light bulb changed in our car anyways, we thought she could take it in again and get it vacuumed while she was at it.  Here’s the thing, though: we wouldn’t have made a trip to the auto-shop for either of these services alone (but together we thought it warranted the trip back).

But before Chelsea went back, my consumer-powers kicked in: I made a call to the auto-shop and told them our story.  They were apologetic, just like Target–but they, too, didn’t offer to compensate for our inconvenience.  I asked if he could work with us on the price of the light bulb to make up for it…and he said he could…and so I asked how much…and he said he could take $2-$3 off.  Right answer, my friend.

I hope I was not pesky in either of these situations (though I might’ve been with Jiffy Lube).  But I do think I’m moving in the right direction as a consumer.  Growing up, you are so used to grown-ups (rightly) having authority over you.  Well guess what, World: I’m an adult now, so I don’t have to get screwed over by Target or Jiffy Lube if I don’t want to.  Now, I’m not trying to villain-ize these businesses–they didn’t want to screw me over either, because they depend on consumers like me: they want to be the nice-guys.  And I don’t intend to fight every consumer “injustice”–but I do want to help keep businesses in check, and I can do that by honestly communicating my bad experiences with them.  Businesses like Target shouldn’t cheap-out on the quality/shipping of their products and expect me to pick up the slack.  Businesses like Jiffy Lube shouldn’t mark that they vacuumed my car when they didn’t.  And (thankfully) neither company cheaped-out on me when I took issue with their products/services: they wanted to make it right.

You don’t need gamma radiation to have consumer-powers–you have them by nature of being a consumer.  So the next time you feel measurably inconvenienced by a business, let ’em know–they’ll probably want to make it up to you if you ask them to.

grapes & capes,


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