Last week, my mother and I went in search of a goodbye gift for a friend who is leaving the country. Wanting to get something local, we went into a newly opened home accessories store in Greenbelt 5 to look for something. The store featured really well-made items which we had seen in other bigger department stores so we were happy to see that they had finally put up a store of their own. We settled on a piece which had a frog on it and walked away happy.

A few days later, my mother tells me she had forgotten that the person the gift was meant for was not a frog fan. So much so that she had exterminators get rid of the frogs in her garden. We returned to the store hoping to be able to exchange it for something else. The sales rep however, seemed to be at a loss as to what to do, so she called her manager on the phone. Still not getting an answer, she passed the phone on to my mom who explained the situation, saying she was perfectly willing to pay the price difference of the item exchange. The manager told her that this would not be possible because the item had already been punched into the system and doing the exchange would cause the IT system to fail. She then told us to wait a few minutes while she talked to the IT guy.

More than a few minutes passed, and we still had no word. So I asked the sales rep to give the manager a call to find out what was going on. They talked a bit and then she passed the phone to me. So again, I asked what could be done and whether they had an exchange policy or not. She informed me (again) of the possible IT system crash and said that it was the first time such a situation had arisen. Then, before I could say anything else, the line went dead.

Surprised, I told my mom and the sales rep what had transpired and we decided to leave because nothing was going to come of it, and we had a dinner to get to. The sales rep (a new hire) was very apologetic but could offer no solution. I noticed they had a guest book so I left a comment and an email address hoping that I would hear from them- it didn’t happen.

Since I hadn’t heard from them, I decided to look them up online and sent them an email this morning to let them now what had happened. I was very happy to see a reply from the owner a few hours later expressing profound apologies and a blow-by-blow report as to what had gone wrong that day. Basically, a combination of bad calls, a lack of training and bad luck. She owned up to the lapse in customer service and offered sincere apologies AND an invitation to visit the store again to exchange the item for something that was 50% higher than the original item’s price, at no extra cost.

Despite my not having the time to go back anytime soon, and the fact that the person the gift was intended for has already left (with another gift), their immediate response and offer to make amends ensured that they won’t be out of the running when another gift has to be given. It is nice t know that they made sure that this unfortunate event had a happy ending.


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