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It’s a trap!

As a store that only sells batteries, we also have many different battery testers for store use, so when someone walks in and says “This is not working, can you test it?” we can. We also have some scruples, so if their battery is working just fine, we don’t sell them a new one.

A man walks in with his car key fob (the little button that locks & unlocks power doors) and says “can you test this?” I say sure, get the battery out, and test it.

“This here’s a dead battery.”

“Really? Because it still locks my car.” He said it as a challenge, like I was calling him a liar.

He wanted me to test a new battery, so he could get all up in my space and see the result, clearly convinced that our battery tester is rigged to fail everything. Well no, the  new one tested good. Like new, even. So he wanted to test both batteries himself, in case I was using some sort of battery-fail magic. Nope, he got the same results I did. I guess his battery wasn’t working well enough for him (which is what brought him in here in the first place, I assume) so he bought a new one.

Ha ha ha! It was all a scam! I got your $4, sucker!


More warranty grief

All warranties, no matter where from or what they are regarding, have a clause that says something to the effect of “warranty does not cover owner misuse or neglect.” This is to prevent people from abusing the system and getting things for free that they don’t deserve.

A guy came into the store claiming that his battery did not start his motorcycle. At first I thought he meant that we had sold him the wrong battery, so I looked it up and there were no alternatives. When I told him that, he said. “no, it used to work, but then I haven’t used the bike all winter, and now it doesn’t work at all.”

Here’s a technical sidenote that is important to this story: All batteries lose power over time. It may not be much, but depending on the conditions the battery is stored under (i.e. freezing temperatures like those that are found over a winter of non-use), the battery can lose enough power that it can no longer be recharged and thus, used.

So. Knowing this, the first question I ask when I hear a motorcycle battery no longer works after winter is if the owner has been using any sort of battery maintainer. This is a device you can buy that keeps the tiniest charge on the battery over long periods of sitting idly. It’s not enough to overcharge and cause damage, just enough to keep the battery “awake.” No, this guy hasn’t been using one of those. But dag nabbit, his battery doesn’t work and there’s supposed to be a warranty! In fact, since we never told him he needed to use a maintainer, it’s our fault his battery is dead and he should get a new one for free. You know, because of the warranty. The warranty that specifically says that it only covers manufacturer defects and NOT owner neglect. When I point this out to him on his copy of the receipt that he brought with him, he demands to know specific examples of what constitutes owner neglect. So I pull out one of the many thick books that contain our training information (remember that training to work in this store took about 2 months because of all the technical knowledge) and begin to look up the numbers. He storms off in a huff claiming that “he doesn’t have time for this.”

I go ahead and test his battery, since I’ll need the test results for the warranty anyway. Hmmm… the battery tests good. It tests better than new. But of course since he left, I can’t tell him that a warranty won’t replace a perfectly good battery and that just maybe there’s a problem with his bike that he has apparently no idea how to take care of. But something tells me he wouldn’t want to hear that anyway.


Sometimes I am the horrible customer. Obviously I don’t mean to be, but here’s an example:


I dropped my car off at the oil change place at 4:30pm. I told the guy that I would “be back in a coupla hours” rather than hang around watching Fox News in the waiting area. What he didn’t tell me that “in a coupla hours” they would be closed – they close at 6. Honestly, I didn’t think to ask. I just thought I was letting them take their time rather than do a rush job.

So I’m out to eat with a friend, and this place keeps calling me. I can’t hear the messages they leave because their phone keeps breaking up. When I finally answer the phone, the lady on the other end is very upset. Apparently they closed at 6, and it is now almost 7. They need me to come get my car so they can go home (and so I can transport myself around). I apologize and tell her I’m on the way back right now. I pay my bill and walk out the door. Over the course of the 6-mile drive, the lady calls me three more times. I explain to her that I am in fact on my way, and there’s no way I can be there any faster. I apologize again.

When I get there, the lady is understandably upset. I apologize again and explain that I didn’t know what time they closed and nobody told me. It was an honest mistake. She yells at me about how I’m making her family wait for her and blah blah blah and THE HOURS ARE POSTED ON THE DOOR. She says it’s not her responsibility to tell me when they close. I can see her logic, but if someone tells me they’ll be back in a coupla hours and I’ll be closing soon, I make it a point to let them know. But that’s just me.

Anyway, I didn’t remember seeing the hours posted on the door, so I went over to look. Nope. Not a word (or number). Because the lady was being ever so pleasant, I took the trouble to show her that no, her argument against me was invalid. Yes, I should have asked when they closed, but there also needs to be some way of me getting that information without having to ask. I apologized yet again but I took a secret satisfaction in her being wrong.

too bad, so sad

A man brought in a motorcycle battery for an exchange because he bought the wrong one. He didn’t have his receipt, but luckily on the bigger sale items like that, we list it under the customer’s phone number. He didn’t even have the box it came in, but it was our store brand and on motorcyle batteries the box isn’t important.

When I looked up his receipt I had to check the calendar because he had come in exactly 14 days after he purchased it, meaning today was the last possible day to do that. When I mentioned it, he told me that the man that had originally helped him said he had 30 days.

“No he didn’t.” I said, pointing to the numerous places in the store (and on the receipt itself, which he didn’t have) where the return policy is stated in bold – 14 days. “Oh, well, I didn’t see those signs. But he definitely said 30 days.” I asked who had helped him, but of course he didn’t know. (“I didn’t ask for his name or anything!”) No. Why would you.

It turns out that the correct battery he needed hadn’t been filled and charged yet, and I told him so. He said “I can fill it at home” and I said “No, I really can’t sell you something that hasn’t been filled and charged, for warranty purposes.” He didn’t care about the warranty – he’s never had to bring anything back to this store (well, before today, of course) and can’t he just sign a waiver or something? Nope, sorry. The world doesn’t work like that.

Well if he didn’t just throw a fit. “This is already my second trip back here, and I live 30 minutes away! I called last week and they said they had this battery, so I said I’d be down that afternoon!”

So let me get this straight: You have to make a third trip down here because initially you bought the wrong thing. Then you waited until the last possible day to come back and return it, but you didn’t have the receipt or even the box it came in. You say you called last week to check stock. These less common batteries we don’t fill until they are paid for, so just seeing if we have it does not mean that it’s filled (and I know you would have been told it needed to be filled). Then, you said you would be by that day, which you weren’t. For all I know, they did prime a battery for you, but since you waited so long to come get it (and it hadn’t been paid for) they sold it to someone else. And I’m sorry that you live 30 minutes away. The next closest store of this type is an hour in either direction, so depending on  where your 30 minutes is, it might be 3 times that. But yes, you should probably demand to speak to my manager. Who isn’t here because it’s after 5pm.

When that didn’t work, he turned to one of my coworkers for help. That guy has been here less time than me, but he’s a man, so he probably knows best. But guess what? he said the exact same thing, because neither of us has the authority to change store policy, and to be honest, I wouldn’t anyway because you’re a jerk.

He eventually decided that he needed the new battery badly enough to warrant another trip (le sigh). I told him it would be ready tomorrow and his retort was that he “might swing by and get it next time he’s in town.” Dude, you’re the one that needed it soooo bad AND paid for it. Doesn’t affect me in the slighteset when you come back for it.

When I gave him his new receipt, he asked me to write my name on there “since we’re so interested in who helped him before.” I circled where my name is printed on the receipt, and reminded him that if he had his old receipt he would have seen who helped him then, too. “Oh and the reason I wanted to know who helped you before is that it seems they have given you some misinformation. If we know who it is, we can correct them so this doesn’t happen again.”

“Oh sure, because I’m just a big fat liar! I’m the biggest liar in the world!” In my head, I agreed with him, because he is. Out loud, well I didn’t actually say anything – just raised my eyebrows.


When I vented to my coworker about the encounter later, he said “some customers just need to be pampered.”
But I don’t WANT to pamper him! I want him to know he can’t always get his way!

Wise customer

It was an abnormally busy day, and we were short handed to boot.

After being yelled at for several different reasons (all of which were out of my control), I had a resigned sigh and prepared to help the lady who had been nice enough to let all the angry people cut in front of her, and let me answer all the ringing phone lines.

“Something good happens every day, no matter how small. Just focus on that.” she said.

And I did. And it helped.


product error

A guy comes into the store to return an emergency jump-start pack. It’s past our return policy time so I test it out. It works fine – it is putting out the exact amount of power that it’s supposed to.

“But it didn’t start my truck! Well ok, it worked once, but definitely not the second time! And I was told there was a year warranty!”

Yes there is a year warranty, through the manufacturer. See it says here in bold DO NOT RETURN TO THE PLACE OF PURCHASE.

But  maybe you do need a new battery, which would solve the problem of needing an emergency backup at all. So I go out to test his car battery. For you non-car types, we test what is called Cold Cranking Amps. This is basically the surge of power needed to give the car the initial “oomph” required to start. The battery in his car was supposed to supply 530 CCA. It was only giving 350. According to my computer, which is all-knowing, his particular car is recommended to have at least 675. So that’s why he couldn’t start his car, and probably why the emergency pack didn’t help the second time.

“You’re the second person to tell me that this battery is bad.” Hmm, maybe that’s saying something. Especially since I don’t work on commission or anything. I just do my job, and YOU SAW the battery test bad. Oh and your car doesn’t start.

But the guy didn’t want to spend money – he just wanted his money back from the pack. Which I didn’t give him because it wasn’t broken. But then when he couldn’t leave because his car wouldn’t start, well, he begrudgingly bought the new battery, muttering that he “still has his doubts that the battery was the issue.”

Funny, I didn’t hear him complain after that. Maybe because his car started up successfully and he drove away.

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