Thursday, April 8, 2010

It pays to be patient, kind, polite and hopeful

I have a waterproof watch, and I bought it for a trip I took three years ago. I was planning on using this watch in the water, because the destination had beaches and pools. The watch I bought worked great on this trip, and three years later I was planning to bring it on my next vacation. I got the watch out of the jewellry box, and found that the battery was dead. I went around to a few different watch battery/repair shops, and they all told me something different. Some said that they couldn't replace the battery as they don't do waterproof watches, and some said that they'd have to send it away and it would cost a lot of money. I stopped in to a brand new jewellry store last November, Appelt's, and they didn't hesitate by telling me they could fix it right away, for $10.00. I was quite surprised and happy to hear that they could do it, and for a reasonable price. I had mentioned that the other jewellry stores were not giving me much hope, and they happily agreed to look after it. I trusted that they knew what they were doing, and that maybe they had that special machine that helps keep the water out.

I packed my now running, waterproof watch in my suitcase, and away we went on our beach and sand vacation. After the first time in the water, the watch stopped working. I was so upset and angry. We continued our trip, and I was watchless (and I survived!). I was very disappointed and planned to take the watch and receipt back to the jewellry store and report what happened.

I went in to the store, with watch and receipt in hand, and I told them that the watch had stopped working the same day that I had gone into the water with it. As I was telling my story, the wind-up part of the watch fell right off. The watch was working, but was not keeping time. The sales clerk said she would send it in to the watchmaker for an estimate to see what was wrong. I told her my story about it being waterproof and that the sales clerk said she could do it right on the spot, and that I doubted the seal was fixed properly. The clerk that was helping me said that it sounds like it wasn't pressure-sealed. She said the wind-up piece falling off though, had nothing to do with the battery being replaced.

A couple weeks later, the clerk called, and said that the estimate to repair the watch would be $80.00. I told her, nicely, that I didn't think that I would have to pay this, because I thought the watch was damaged due to their error. She ended up talking to a manager, and they said they would take $30.00 off the repair. I said I'd have to think about it, because I didn't remember how much the watch was worth, and I was still unsure about the reason why it wasn't working. I stayed very calm and polite during the whole conversation. I am sure she could sense the disappointment and hesitancy in my voice.

A couple weeks later, I received a call that my watch was in. I assumed that it was a reminder call that my watch was there and we needed to deal with it.

I still didn't know what to do, so I put off going into the jewellry store. About two weeks later, I decided to go into Appelt's to "face the music". I remained very calm, and unsure as to what I was going to do about this watch. A part of me decided that maybe I should just cut my losses, and forget about it. A part of me wanted the watch fixed (and paid for) by them because I felt it was their fault to begin with. A part of me wanted to get the watch fixed for $50. Yet another part of me just wanted my broken watch back and the $10 back that I had paid for the battery. I went in to the store with this big, heavy cloud over me. I must have looked sad, and unsure of myself. I walked into the store, tried to put on a happy face, and said I was there to pick up my watch.

The clerk went into the back, pulled my watch out of the drawer, and said, my watch was fixed and the total was $80.00. I said, "Oh, but I didn't approve the repair". She went over to the manager, and told the manager my response. I remained very calm, and now confused. I was very patient while they briefly talked it over. The sales clerk came back to me with the watch, and at the same time, the manager said, "Don't worry about it. We fixed it for you". I was so shocked and surprised, and very grateful that the decision was finally made for me. I let them know how happy and thankful I was with the outcome.

I learned from this experience that it pays to be patient, kind, polite and hopeful. I know that Appelt's most certainly felt responsible for damaging the watch to an extent, but they were not taking 100% responsibility. This is a true example of good business, and I would do business with them again. If I need a new watch battery in my waterproof watch, I will ensure that they do it right next time, the first time!


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