Three years after moving to Georgia, I am still learning the lingo. I am still learning that there is a segment of the population here that is always going to believe that 1) I talk too fast and 2) I am blunt to the point of rudeness. Me, I don’t think I speak particularly fast, nor do I think of myself as rude (though I’ll agree with blunt), but this is a dixie/yankee thing, I guess.
One of the things I’ve learned since moving here is that it’s “polite” to let other people be wrong and/or assholes rather than to stand your ground. That goes over with my personal stance on life (give me honesty or give me death!) about as well as you might imagine. And I’m not even talking about handling a situation with a soft smile and polite words vs. getting angry, I am talking about the flat-out expectation that it is only polite to concede no matter what flavor of bullshit someone is trying to feed you.
This is why I will never be a proper southerner, I guess.
A couple of weeks ago I drove across town to a crappy eyeglass-place-in-the-mall so that Chickadee could get some new glasses. I don’t like the mall places—in fact we were laughing last night over the fact that I still need the GPS to even FIND the mall—but she sees an ophthalmologist for the actual exam, and this store was on the “approved” list for her vision insurance, so off we went.
[Sidebar: Chickadee mostly wears her contacts these days, but she hasn't had new glasses in over a year. And her last pair came from Zenni, which means they were cheap and serviceable but she's often lamented how the frames aren't really her favorite, etc. Fine. I was perfectly willing to go get her a new pair. Of course the eligible shop close to our house had several perfectly lovely frames that she deemed unacceptable, and so I had to make a second, much further trip, to find something befitting the Picky Princess.]
Crappy Mall Store (CMS) had plenty of choices, and after grumping around a bit and rejecting every pair I suggested, Chickadee settled on a perfectly lovely little half-rimless frame. “Sold!” I declared, and I forked over her prescription ready to get our free glasses.
Free glasses? WHY YES. My ex’s vision insurance is supposed to cover a complete set of glasses every two years, and new lenses every year. (Alternatively, you can use the coverage for contacts, which is what we did last year. This year we paid out-of-pocket for the contacts, opting to “save” the insurance for her glasses.) I suspected the frames—one of the cheapest pairs in the store, incidentally—would be a bit over the frame allowance, but I was unprepared for all of the OTHER costs.
The frame was $25 more than the allowance. Fine. And then when it came to lenses, I asked for the anti-reflective coating, which costs $50. (Have I mentioned Zenni? I heart Zenni. Anti-reflective coating at Zenni costs… $5. That’s not a typo.) When I started at the price, they assured me that NORMALLY it’s $100! So really, the insurance is saving us money! And then they wanted to know if we wanted high-index lenses.
Chickadee has a pretty strong prescription, but it’s weakened over the years and her current lenses aren’t terribly thick, so I said we didn’t need high-index. “Well,” pushed the sales associate, “You know, with these half-rimless frames, the lens really shows. You should probably go for the better lens. I mean, I would strongly recommend it.” Okay, fine. She upsold me. We ordered high-index. $150 later (“But the retail is $460!”) we had our “free” glasses ordered.
Yesterday CMS called to say her glasses were ready. After dinner I dispatched Otto and Chickadee to the mall to go pick them up, because we had a busy week ahead of us and I didn’t think we’d have time to do it any other day, plus Chickadee commenced with the “pleasepleaseplease” begging as soon as we got the call. Fine. I did the dishes and they went off to fetch them.
Upon their arrival home, I was horrified to discover that my daughter was wearing coke-bottle-bottom-thick glasses. I mean, she has NEVER had lenses this thick, not even when she was first diagnosed as a half-blind toddler and put into her very first pair of specs.
(I tried very hard not to whirl on Otto and ask him why he hadn’t noticed. I mean, he hadn’t been there when we ordered. Plus he’s a guy.)
I called CMS and got a chirpy sales associate. I explained that I’d sent my husband and daughter in to pick up her glasses, but that there had surely been some mistake, because we had ordered (and paid for) the high-index lenses, and they were terribly thick and clearly not high-index at all.
“Oh, ma’am, yes they are high-index,” said the woman on the phone, dripping with condescension. “I am looking right at the order form and it says they’re high-index.”
“Well yes, of course,” I responded, deliberately slowing down and sounding as pleasant as I could muster, “I understand that that’s what we ORDERED. What I am telling you is that that is not what we RECEIVED. These are not high-index lenses. They’re thicker than the lenses in her old glasses, which have REGULAR lenses and a stronger prescription, to boot.”
“Ma’am,” she said again, clearly much beleaguered by my apparent mental retardation, “the new frames are rimless on the bottom. That’s going to make the lenses APPEAR thicker than if they were hidden in a frame. That’s all it is.”
“I’m sorry, but that’s not correct,” I said. “I have both pairs of her glasses here. I have a ruler, as well. The new lenses are fully TWICE AS THICK as the old ones. It is not possible that these are high-index lenses. An error has been made. Yes, we ordered high-index. But these are not high-index.”
“Yes they are, ma’am,” she replied. “They’re definitely high-index.” I briefly pictured shoving one of the lenses in question deeply into her sinus cavities.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s agree to disagree. These glasses come with a satisfaction guarantee. I am not satisfied, on account of I believe I paid for something we did not receive, and also I’ve seen bullet-proof glass which is thinner than this. How do we resolve this matter?”
“Well, ma’am, you could call back at 10:00 tomorrow… that’s when the manager will be in. You could try talking to him. But we send all of the insurance glasses out to be made, so, we can’t fix it here.”
“That’s fine,” I said, “I’ll happily call back to talk to the manager. What’s his name, please?”
“His name is Phillip
I thanked her for her time and told her I’d call back.
This morning I called at 10:02 and a male voice answered the phone.
“Hello, CMS,” he said. “How may I help you?”
“Hi there, is this the manager?” I asked.
“No it’s not, can I help you with something?”
“Is the manager available, please?” I pressed.
“I’m sorry, he’s not. Can I help you?”
Oh, well. I’d just talk to this guy. I explained the situation, and damned if he didn’t start doing EXACTLY THE SAME ROUTINE of “no no they’re high index ma’am” as the previous woman had.
We went ’round a few times and then he started throwing in “based upon my 30 years of experience in this business” as his justification for his conviction that he’d hand-checked her glasses himself and they were JUST FINE BY GUM.
I silently counted to five and finally said, “Sir, we paid a lot of money for those glasses. I don’t want to argue with you about whether or not we got what we ordered; we can agree that we are not satisfied, yes? I would like to have them replaced with glasses with thinner lenses. Can we make that happen?” And let me tell you, even THAT was killing me because I really want SOMEONE to admit they screwed up. But I was being good and remembering the goal is to get it fixed, not to have morons who work at the mall see the error of their ways. So.
He offered to let me bring them back and they could send them out to be remade, but when I asked what assurance he could offer that they’d be done properly (thinner) this time, he all but laughed at me, saying that the vision insurance place handles it and he didn’t know what to tell me. Fine. I asked for the vision insurance’s phone number and told him that I’d like to call them, first, and that then I’d be happy to bring the glasses back to allow him to send them out to be made properly.
“Well that sounds like a good plan,” he said. “When you come on in feel free to ask for me, my name’s Phillip.”
Based upon his 30 years in the business, I should believe everything that Phillip says because Phillip is an asswipe who lied to me about being the store manager. But I’m SURE he wouldn’t lie to me about whether or not Chickie’s glasses were screwed up, right?
I’m waiting for a call back from the insurance. I predict that they, too, will be utterly convinced that I am stupid and blind and demanding. You know, on account of my unwillingness to pay for and accept something that was not what we ordered. I am such a PUSHY YANKEE!