Monday, February 28, 2005

So... remember the cat pawing me in the face thing?

Yesterday, I got a manicure.  While waiting for my nails to dry, I walked around the mall and spotted an eyeglass shop.  (I wouldn't want to name them, but they craft lots of lenses there.)  My glasses had been sitting a little crooked ever since the kitty attack, so I thought I'd pop on in for a free adjustment.

The nice girl behind the counter tightened the screws on my glasses, but said she didn't see anything wrong with them.  Then she folded them up and saw that one of the stems was way crooked.  She took out her pliers, applied them to the stem and ...

... snapped that sucker right off.

Now, seeing as she has my eyeglasses in her hands, I can't quite tell what's going on.  But from the nature of the loud cracking noise, and her apparent efforts to jam the stem back into the rest of the glasses, I deduce that something bad just happened.

She then asks me, "How'd you say these got bent again?" and I tell her the cat kicked me in the face. 

She then goes to have a whisper with her manager.  I can't hear the entire discussion, but it appears to center around the disappointing fact that they don't have another pair of these frames in stock.  I also think I hear the repair-person explain something about how my cat sat on the glasses.  Classic "not my fault" behavior.

Manager comes over to the repair counter to give me the bad news about the stock situation.  She then gives me the worse news that, since my glasses are more than a year old, they're out of warranty.  And although she'd happily craft me a new set of lenses for free, I gotta pay half the cost of new frames.

Several thoughts go through my head at this point.  The first is that the free lenses thing can't be much of a deal as, although my glasses were more than a year old, the lenses weren't.  But the rather more important thought is, um, they broke the glasses -- no way I'm paying $80 for a new pair.

I reject the offer, and politely point out that I walked in with perfectly functioning glasses, and it was their work with the pliers that resulted in my immediate need for a new pair.  Manager is underwhelmed with the logic of my position, saying something about how the pliers are the tools they use to make an adjustment and I'd asked for an adjustment.

At this point, I did something that I've never done before -- I did my best impression of an immovable object.  I didn't argue; I didn't ask to see her boss; I didn't even say, "Are you really going to make me take you to Small Claims Court over half the cost of a pair of glasses that you broke?"  I just sat there giving her my best, "I'm not leaving without a free pair of glasses" face.

Manager disappears off in back.  I continue to play with my now-broken glasses.

Manager reappears with what is apparently a prepared speech.  It involves phrases like, "We'll make an exception just this one time" and ends with "if you select a frame between $90 and $100, we'll do it for you."  I agree.  She takes me over to the El Cheapo frame section of the store, and we try to look for a pair of frames similar to what I previously had on my face.  She has a pair in her hand which are the same color and size, and only a slightly different shape.  She hands them to me as a suggestion.  They seem fine.  I notice the price tag says $120.  I pretend I didn't see that and say, "These are fine, will you do them?"  She agrees and takes me over to the register.

While putting the order together, she glances at the price.  There's the slightest pause when she notices they're more than she said she'd give me credit for, but she also knows she had selected the damn things as the best replacement for my current frames.

A few hours later and I'm walking out of there with my nice new free glasses.  And the feeling that I played one right.


yakima127 said...

I took my son's glasses back to "the shop" to be repaired (the lens kept falling out) and they broke them, too.  I was never offered a replacement; they just glued them back together!  He had to wear them like that for almost a year!  I am so impressed with you; I am one of those that leaves with my tail tucked after a few half-hearted arguments...they totally love people like me!  You know, the ones they can totally SCREW!!!  Good for you!  JAE

jevanslink said...

I am reminded of that one lone Chinese student standing inn front of the tank that was going to roll over him.  And the tank blinked.  YOU GO GIRL!!!!!  A heartwarming story for a wintry day. Mrs. L  

andreakingme said...

Man, NZ, I got awfully pissed on your behalf just reading this. I can't believe they tried to get away with not taking responsibility for breaking your glasses! But I learned something today ... something I hope I'll put into practice if I'm ever in this kind of situation. Instead of losing my cool, I hope I'll give them my immovable object stare. Silence is, after all, more powerful than we realize.

Well, except for you. Atta girl.

grodygeek said...

You know, I think what makes this even more impressive is that you probably never mentioned you were a lawyer. That you just went to the tried and true, stick to your guns immovable object, they're over a barrel and know it, I have the patience method of attack.

I think you should be very proud of yourself NZ. I wish I was as capable. Then again, maybe that's why I'm not a lawyer?

the cycling curmudgeon