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Hell Week

December 8th, 2011 by skippy

Wednesday November 16th:

We begin packing for Thanksgiving travel.  We weren’t looking forward to dealing with eight hours of planes and layovers, but hey the family wanted to see the twins.  The day goes uneventfully, and I spend the evening doing a double load of homework so I can be done ahead of time.

Thursday November 17th:

I wake up to discover Thing 1 has puked in her crib.  She doesn’t appear sick, so maybe it was something she ate, or she had reflux.  Packing continues.  Cheap tablet is purchased to load with Wiggles and Elmo videos to keep the critters quiet on the plane.  I keep an eye on my daughter, but she seems fine all day.

Friday November 18th:

Thing 1 has been quite sick, and has evidently spent the night making “vomit-angels”.  My wife takes her to a health clinic, where she is diagnosed with Strep Throat.  My family is warned, but we are told that travel may be feasible if antibiotics are applied soon enough.

Saturday November 19th:

The wife goes shopping for various travel items.  While she is out Thing 2 begins heaving.  Since we don’t want Thing 1 to have to go through another car trip if we can help it, we decide to let her sleep in.  The wife comes home and takes to boy to the health clinic.

While at the health clinic my wife projectile vomits, poops herself, and keels over.  It appears that she has food poisoning.  Health clinic personnel help with the care of Thing 2 as my wife can no longer move under her own power.  The clinic calls me to come and get her.  This proves impossible as I have a toddler with me and all of the car seats are in the mini-van, which is how my wife got to the clinic in the first place.  Friends are summoned who have to come get drive our car back.  The wife is carried/dragged out of the car and looks like she is trying out for a part in an Exorcist reboot.  She has to be assisted into the bathroom at frequent intervals, which is fortunately not too far from the bed.  Unfortunately any form of motion, such as me touching the bed, will make foul substances fly out of every orifice, so I get to sleep on the floor.  She proves equally sensitive to other stimuli like the lights in the bathroom, and loud noises such as toddlers who have Strep Throat over a baby monitor.

Sunday November 20th:

Children are sick.  Wife is only barely able to move.  We discuss the possibility of attempting to make the trip anyways.  As the only able-bodied member of my family I veto this plan.  Fortunately I purchased trip insurance, and an illness in the immediate family is covered.

I call the airlines and the insurance company and discover that they make it hard to actually collect on travel insurance.  Every person I speak to thinks I need to speak to someone else.  The buck gets repeatedly passed.  I spend most of the day arguing with people about my travel plans.  Nothing is actually resolved.

Monday November 21st:

Everybody is still sick. Children spend the day on the couch watching Sesame Street videos.  A few hours from the time to leave I cancel my flight, and finally reach someone useful at the insurance company.  They assure me that I will receive an email in a few days which will tell me how to finish filing the claim, and as long as I have a note from a doctor specifying no travel, we should be covered.

I spend about half of the afternoon speaking to every person at the medical clinic, trying to track down the Doctor that saw my family.  He is eventually located, and the situation is explained.  He writes us a note forbidding travel, and has his office fax it to our house.  The fax doesn’t go through.  We try again.  The rest of the afternoon is spent listening to a medical assistant learn about fax repair.

Things settle down, we put the children in their cribs and we joke about the worst being over.  And then a power surge takes out my wife’s computer and the television, despite the fact that each one was on a surge protector.

The wife goes to bed out of frustration, leaving me to deal with the problem.  I call the GeekSquad service, since we purchased an extended protection plan, which I was actually feeling pretty good about right then.  I was told that due to the holiday the soonest anyone could come out was on Wednesday.  I asked about a loaner TV, seeing as how the service plan I signed up for came with one.  I was told that a repair person would need to see the TV first.

The computer turns out to be fine, as the surge protector actually took the brunt of the damage.

Tuesday November 22nd:

Sick children aren’t having any of this “no Elmo” bullshit.  I twist my computer monitor around so that it’s facing the living room, and they sit in a beanbag chair and watch videos on my computer.  It’s only a mildly horrible pain in the ass to get anything done.  TV Repair service calls to ask for details about the TV. He explains that it will take at least a week to get the parts needed based on my description of the issue. I ask about a loaner TV.  He informs me that he has loaner TV’s but I need GeekSquad to authorize it.

I call GeekSquad.  They tell me they can’t authorize a loaner, and that I need to call my local Best Buy.

I call Best Buy.  I am told that they no longer give out loaner TV’s but I can buy a TV and then return it when my repair is complete.  I tell him I am not inclined to give him several hundred to a thousand extra dollars.  I also explain that when you have a contract you can’t just decide that you don’t feel like living up to your end any more.  He offers to get me a Best Buy credit card.  I inform him that the last thing I need is another credit card.  He apologizes and suggests that I contact GeekSquad again to see if they can fix it.

So I call GeekSquad.  Again. I am informed that of course I am supposed to get a loaner TV.  It should have happened automatically.  Unfortunately the dispatch people who are supposed to approve it are gone for the day, so i should call first thing in the morning.

Wednesday November 23rd:

Children are still sick and demanding passive entertainment.  The wife is mobile enough to assist with their care.

I call GeekSquad yet again, and after a mere thirty five minutes, I manage to get through to the dispatch department. They take the name of my TV repair specialist, and will send him an authorization for a loaner TV.

I have lunch, and call the TV repair man to ask if he had received the authorization to give me a loaner.  He had not.  He calls distribution and the warranty service department to see if they have the authorization.  Nobody has any fucking idea what he is talking about.

Once again on the phone with GeekSquad.  I explain my problem, at length and with a minimum of foul language once you consider the circumstances.  I threaten to go to my local Best Buy and share my story with the people purchasing high end electronics in an attempt to prevent them from purchasing GeekSquad protection plans.  She offers to get a manager, which I agree is probably a good idea.

A manager is fetched, who informs me that there is a form I can fill out, and then a loaner TV will be sent out to my house.  I ask if this TV will arrive today.  She informs me that it will take two to three days.  Possibly longer due to Thanksgiving coming up. I politely point out that if this form had been presented on the first day, I would already have the TV and that I shouldn’t have to wait because they didn’t adequately train their employees.  I point it out loudly.  I tell the manager that I would like to hear an option where I could get the television today.  I am informed that there is no option to get me a loaner that fast.  I asked to speak with his boss.  I was informed that his boss wasn’t available, but could call me back within a few hours.  After arguing for a bit over this last point I realized that they were not going to budge.  I somewhat graciously accepted the callback option.

Several hours pass, my phone silent and taunting.

So I clean myself up, shave, put on nice clothes and head out to Best Buy to see how much holiday business I can cost them.

On the way in I pass a small tent city which is either some very dedicated Black Friday shoppers, or a very lost OWS contingent.

Once inside I cheerfully introduce myself to the management, and go over my problems once again.  The whole “you could always buy more stuff from us and we totally promise not to fuck you when you try to return it” option was brought up and discarded.  Management informed me that they understood my frustration, but they didn’t have any TVs.  I pointed out the rather large section of TVs not fifty feet away, directly under the ten foot wide “Televisions” sign.  He informed me that he wasn’t authorized to let me have one.

“I really want to help you.  This really sucks what happened.  But if I let you just walk out with a TV I will lose my job.”

I point out that somewhere, above him in the electronics retail chain-of-command, there was a person who could make that decision.  I suggest that he calls that person.  I remind him that there are an awful lot of customers buying service plans in the store right now.  I was going for “quietly intimidating” although I suspect it came out more “enraged Star Trek nerd.”  He offers to attempt to track down the regional manager for me.

I call home to give my wife a status update, and get barraged with a tiny angry voice yelling “Melmo! Melmo! Melmo! Melmo!”

My wife gives me the phone number to Brian Dunn, the CEO of Best Buy.

I call the number.  It turns out that Brian doesn’t answer the phone personally, but he does have some sort of crack customer service commando team that does.

A nice young man listened to my story, including the part where I was minutes from running amok in one of his stores.  He asked me for the address of the store, and the name of the manager I had been speaking to.  He asked me to hold on, and that he would call me back.

Fifteen minutes later the manager came back and informed me that the TV had been entered into the system as an Internet-order with in-store pickup and would be ready for me shortly.

The Customer service commando called be back to make sure the manager was playing nice, and to get my address to send me a $100 gift certificate as a way of saying “sorry I wasted your entire day.”

So I guess the moral of this story is if you are not happy with your service at a large retail chain, throw a giant fit in one of their stores and you will get what you asked for plus extra money in order to make you go away.

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21 Responses to “Hell Week”

  1. Misty Fowler Says:

    Damn, I’m glad I never got my wish for twins.


  2. SKD Says:

    Sorry to hear about your troubles Skippy. It is a sad state of affairs that you have had to go through with customer service. I had always considered Best Buy to be one of the better retailers when it came to honoring their warranty contracts although I never purchased one for anything I could repair myself, so pretty much only when purchasing laptops in the past since consumer laptops are not designed to be serviceable. After your experience I won’t be purchasing one from them again.

    Hope the things and wife are better. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


  3. Signalist Says:

    don’t know why, but this reminds me of one time I bought some beverages that cost more than their price tag said. As in the past I had dealt with many bi-sorry, nice ladies at the register who would just say “life sucks, take it or leave it” or “get out or security will escort you out”, I went back to my apartment to get bunch of old receipts and then returned, I even took photos of the price tag to show at the register. The actually nice lady went to check the tag and then refunded full price, the best part was “keep the drinks, thank you for notifying us.”

    So, free alcohol and thanks from store employees, those were some well spent ten minutes.


  4. Laura Says:

    Wow, this is a horror story to be told around campfires (the ones to keep you warm on Black Friday eve) for years. But seriously, thank you for not only sharing, but giving us all a chuckle (at your expense) in the mean time.

    Best Buy, I’m sure, will be contacting you again to ask you to take this blog down. They don’t like negative publicity.

    Moral: do not piss off a guy with a sick wife, sick twins, and a blog with lots of followers.


  5. Jonathan Says:

    My father and I had a similar experience at a Best Buy. He played the cripple card. What shocked me was that as his frustration mounted a customer got upset with him for setting a bad example for her elementary aged child. The brutal, dehumanizing system has really cowed our society into submission.

    My father pointed out to her that he was setting a good example for her child. That he should grow up into a person who could actually stand up for himself. She seemed unimpressed.


  6. Ziggy Says:

    I’m a little too horribly familiar with what you went through on the illness front.

    I work at a children’s hospital. Being around sick kids has done scary things to my immune system. I think it attacks squirrels in my back yard while I sleep. But none of my co-workers warned me about another effect of spending too much time in the germ cauldron that is a pediatric ER.

    So I’ll just say that we still remember the day that the dark spectre of projectile vomiting followed me home from work.


  7. Jaymo Says:

    Holy Shit, that is one of the more horrible stories of human existence I’ve heard outside of your odd death-march saga! That sort of biorhythmic triple-low cluster-f**k shouldn’t happen to anyone, much less a solid citizen like yourself. Oh, and what was the number of Best Buy’s CEO? I’m going to put that sucker on speed-dial. Thanks for sharing, and you ought to go to Vegas, your luck is due to soar.


    skippy reply on December 8th, 2011 12:07 pm:

    Brian Dunn
    Chief Executive Officer
    7601 Penn Ave. South

    Richfield, MN 55423
    Phone: 612-291-1000
    Fax: 612-292-4001


  8. Twofry Says:

    to be honest, the only part where you were able to get through to someone was when your wife handed you the number to the CEO’s office. otherwise, the manager would have apologized his head off and you would have been there all day, and yet no tv would be coming


  9. Amy Rila Says:

    I applaud your response and actions towards Best Buy. Too many times since purchasing my netbook have we had to deal w/ less than knowledgeable clerks at the Geek Squad center. Luckily, though I had a paper trail to demonstrate what went wrong. Perhaps they should do brain scans to determine if the potential Geek Squad applicant has an actual brain and if it is indeed functioning. Good to hear that everyone has recovered.


    Enzayer reply on January 3rd, 2012 4:03 am:

    I actually have a very inteligent and computer savy friend that took a job as a Best Buy clerk when promised promotion to Geek Squad. It’s been over a year and several places have come and gone….Good thing I never buy thoes Consumer Protection Rackets.


  10. Mike Says:

    Wow. Ouch. That takes “sucks to be you” to a whole new level of suckage.


  11. Psychlycan Says:

    And now I feel like a jerk for emailing you about my finished story. The one without zombies, but with lots more blood.


  12. Charlie Conklin Says:

    Had a similar issue with Sears, after a week of waiting for an expensive tool box that I ordered it came in one part damaged the other part the wrong color. After a rant on facebook I was contacted by Sears marketing, and after sending a complaint letter was called by Sears’s Corporate headquarters and they looked into being sure the next box came on time and in good order.


  13. Angie Stephens Says:

    Skippy, I would NEVER want to deal with an irate you. ever. nope. Sorry it took you so long to get what you paid for. :(

    And now for a shameless plug:

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    Total Access. Total Freedom! (makes me want to paint my face in woad)


  14. Ian M Says:

    Yikes, skippy. I gotta wonder what you did to get Ghod so thoroughly p####d at you. Count it as a miracle that you managed to get through all that without actually harming anyone. Hope your family is feeling better now.


  15. Susan Says:

    OMFG. I’ve had food poisoning, but oddly enough, diarrhea only & temp of 101, no vomiting. Did you ever determine what your wife & the kids ate that you didn’t?

    When I got better, I went through my frig & threw out everything (including condiments) that I’d eaten from before I got sick. Better safe than sorry, and better to waste $5 worth of food than have $500 or $5K in medical bills. I never did figure out exactly what I ate, but I suspect it was a frozen pot pie. I’m now fanatical about overcooking things like that and putting all leftovers in the frig within 2 hours of prep.

    I think the phrase “enraged Star Trek nerd” is gonna stick with me for awhile.


  16. ChefBoy Hardy Says:

    I got a minor case of food poisoning that hit while on a ten hour recce flight. Never ever buy more KFC than you can immediately eat if it is going to spend the next hour in the crew van while the rest of the crew catches up on shopping, laundry and uniform supplies on their day off.


  17. Jim Shuew Says:

    I have a long history of customer service, and am quite at home with the fact that walking into the store at peak hours and repeatedly explaining just how the store was bending me over in ever increasing volume near the high ticket registers is the most effective threat/way to get what is due to you.


  18. Speed Says:

    Way back in the early 90s, I made the mistake of buying a PC from Sears. It died a few weeks later. They “repaired” it and sent it back to me. The first time that I turned it on it popped up with “Your PC is stoned” on the monitor – the stoned virus. The good folks at Sears assured me that I must have loaded the virus as it would never be loaded by them. They took it back and then told us that it could not be repaired and that we couldn’t have a new computer as our model was no longer sold by Sears, less than one month after we had bought it. We didn’t qualify for the new model either. This all took about a month, with the local Sears manager ducking out calls for the bulk of this time. While I was looking for a nearby clock tower to employ my rifle, my wife called a VP at Sears and we ended up with the new model – a 486 – and a public apology from the store and department managers.

    Luckily we weren’t sick at the time and I still have that clock tower if I ever need it in the future.


  19. Richard Brown Says:

    Re Worst Buy and GeekArse’s.

    Bought a HP computer from another store (now closed)

    Still within the warranty period, it failed to boot.

    Local Worst Buy is an ‘Authorized HP Warranty Repair Center’.

    Took it to them, they wanted to charge me to 1. re-image the hd. Told them, re-imaging the hd isn’t the problem, if it won’t even boot.

    2. Then they said it what it would cost to repair said computer.

    Pointed out, it was still under warranty, and they are an ‘Authorized HP Repair Center’.

    They replied that You didn’t buy it here…

    So now, I find local mom/pop computer stores for repairs, and only go into Worst Buy, for total new electronics items, if I cant find them at Wally World, Staples, or Office Depot.

    PS: The problem? Turns out the add on RAM, that I just happened to buy at *guess where*? Worst Buy, died.


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