I just bought a $30 haul of stuff at a thrift shop.  And it was stuff I liked.  And it was sort of free.  I got what I wanted.  Why do I still have a sort of sick feeling in my stomach?  Because I got blamed for something that was not even close to entirely my fault, and I do NOT handle that well.

Last month I saw a cute wooden king-sized headboard, kind of swirly carved wood that resembled a repeating pattern of harps.  It was solid wood and stained like cherry, and I was planning on painting it glossy black.  I paid for it on the spot, even getting a ‘best price’ reduction of about 10%. Nice!  The employee working that day said she would put a SOLD sign on it.  I said that my plan was to come by in a couple of days with a borrowed truck.  I took their store number, they took my home and cell numbers. That was on February 12.  With me so far?

Fast-forward to two days ago.  I finally call and ask about the headboard, and talked to the owner.   Her shop is only open Fridays and Saturdays 9-5, so she was not in the store to see if the headboard was still there.  She says she hasn’t seen it recently.  This is where I think I made a mistake.  I told her that I was having second thoughts about wanting it, so if she did accidentally resell it I won’t be super mad.  If she does still have it, I say we can talk about what to do.  I’m thinking for her trouble I owe her  a percentage for changing my mind at late notice, but I don’t say this part.  She tells me if she doesn’t call back with info by the end of the day, it’s okay to check in with her.  She doesn’t call, I don’t call.  I call today.  She tells me the headboard is not in the shop, and that it resold.

Shopowner: “What can I do to fix this?”

Me:  I would like my money back since the headboard already sold.

Shopwner: I can offer you store credit.

Me:  I appreciate that, but since the headboard sold, I think the money would be better, so I don’t feel pressure to pick something else out NOW.

Shopowner:  Well, how about if you come down and take a look around and see if there is anything you want, and if not, we can go from there?

Me: I would be willing to do that.

I enter the store, little one in tow.  I greet the shopowner and employee, and give the shopowner my receipt to peruse.  I scour the shop.  I find some things I like!  I don’t know if I would normally have scooped up all my ‘likes’ in one trip, but I try to meet shopowner partway.  The headboard cost me $70, and today I accumulate $30 worth of stuff.  I find a federal mirror, a tiny cutting board made of white marble with grey flecks, the exact material I pretend my whitish-greyish formica countertops are made of.  I find a car for little man that he can’t live without (Seriously? another one?), a cute clear vase with gold stripes, and more.  I bring my finds to the front counter as my hands get full, and my child does not break anything. Score!  In fact, he’s never broken anything in a store.  Knock on marble.

I do my best to project the “I’m a nice lady, but please don’t mess with me” vibe.  I make eye contact with the employee up front, and with the owner as I go up with my handfuls of finds.  At last, I am done scouring.  The shopowner is on the phone, so I ask the lady employee, “Did she explain to you my situation?”

Employee:  Store credit.

Me:  I’m sorry, what was that?

Employee:  She said because of the headboard thing that we’d be giving you store credit, so we’ll subtract whatever you found today from your total store credit.

Me:  Yeah…that’s…not exactly what we talked about.

Shopowner (getting off the phone): Yes, we’re going to give you store credit for the headboard you bought.

Me:  When I talked to you on the phone, I had mentioned a refund.  I found some stuff, but I would still like the rest of my money back.

Shopowner: We don’t do that.

Me:  Is that your policy?

Shopowner: Yeah, we don’t do that, and you said you’d be by in a couple of days, and you didn’t call…

Me:  You didn’t call me, either.

Shopowner:  Why would I call you when you said you’d be by in a couple of days?

Me:  Because…you took down both of my numbers.

Shopowner:  We don’t give refunds, we just give store credit.

Me (my husband walking up; he’s planning on joining me outside for lunch):  Is that your policy that I signed to on my receipt?

Shopowner:  Go ahead and give her her credit.  Take the total and subtract her purchases and give her the rest.

Me: Thank you, I appreciate that.

The employee adds up my purchases and makes a hand-written receipt showing the entire transaction.  It takes a little while, and it is all done in silence.  Stony silence, from my perspective.  A lady comes in and grabs up some chicken wall hangings.

Chicken lady:  I just love chickens!

Me (relieved at the diversion, and glad that I get to say ‘chickens.’  It’s such a funny word!): You can’t have too many chickens!

Shopowner: My parents live in Missouri and they have so many chickens that they get four dozen eggs a day!  They have to go out daily to harvest the eggs.  Wait, that sounded weird.

Me: Oo, I wouldn’t have thought that if you hadn’t said that.

Another lady browsing near the counter: It sounded fine to me.  Farmers have been ‘harvesting’ things like wheat for years!

Me:  Yeah…it just sounded like human eggs!

Shopowner:  Yeah…not what I meant

Me (after some more silence): So my question is, did the person sold the headboard to say they were going to paint it glossy black, like me?

Shopowner:  Yeah, that normally doesn’t happen; see, I was sick and not in the store, and…

Me:  Oh, well, I appreciate your taking care of it.  And  (to employee), thank you for itemizing it so nicely.

Employee (warming up): Oh, you’re welcome.

Me (to employee): Have you ever heard this called a ‘federal mirror?’

Employee (almost sort of smiling): Nooo..

Me: I think I saw that in a magazine once.  I’m going to paint this black or white.  I have a spray paint addiction…

Shopowner and employee chuckle a little.

Me:  Thank you, ladies, for fixing this for me.

Shopowner:  Sure, you have a good day.

Me:  Thanks, you too!

Me: (picking up miscellaneous stuff) Okay, I think I’ve got it all…

Employee:  Okay, Hannah, you have a good day.

Me (exiting shop) You too.  Take care.

So, I’m wondering what other people think of this?  I wonder if being a shopowner affects one’s response to this?  Should I have accepted the full store credit?  Should I have fought for the full refund? Should the shopowner held me to my word so firmly, even though she sold the headboard to someone else?  Did I wait too long to get this taken care of?  How long is too long?  There are a lot of factors at play here, and some I’m sure I’m not even aware of.  Keep in mind, though, this isn’t Macy’s.  It’s a small business.  Still, I know what I would have done, and I’m wondering what other’s perspectives are?

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