A day or two

I walked into the Media—- store in Lublin. I wanted to buy a smartphone for a present. I should have come up with the idea of giving a mobile for a present earlier and ordered it on the internet – faster and cheaper than to get it from an ordinary shop. Mea culpa.

I had set my mind on a particular model, so if it had been in store, I would have bought it straight away. Otherwise I would have to wait a day or two for it to be delivered to the store. There was a member of the store staff hovering around the alley with phones, wearing a characteristic yellow top. As I could not see the mobile I wanted among those phones, I asked the guy about it.

The assistant was young and full of energy, so he dived under the table, pulled out the last phone of that particular model and handed it to me.

Lazienki 3

A sculpture on a bridge in Łazienki Park in Warsaw (Poland).

The mobile had seen better days. The screen was marked with thousands of fingerprints, and in some places it bore what those fingers had touched, as well.

‘It is supposed to be a present for someone.’ – I explained to the assistant.
‘How much can you lower the price?’ – asked my brother standing next to me.
‘Well, I can’t lower it. But I could increase it!’ – The assistant tried to be funny, but did it a bit awkwardly.
‘You can see it’s been on a display; it’s dirty and sticky. You can lower the prices of other display items, for example TV sets.’ My brother did not want to give up.
‘The best I can do is clean it and make it look like it did before,’ the assistant said sounding cheeky. Why hadn’t he done it earlier, then?
‘It’s supposed to be a present!’ I was under impression that no-one was listening to me.

Since I did not want a phone that had been used thousands of times, the assistant ordered a new one for me to be delivered to the store in a day or two.

Lazienki 2

Łazienki Palace in Warsaw.

After a day or two I returned to the Media—- store to collect the phone. Saturday morning, quite a few customers but no exaggeration. I noticed the assistant who had not made a huge impression on me last time. Fortunately, he was busy with other customers. I headed towards a place where behind computers there were two young ladies. I was here only to collect the mobile, after all. The two ladies did not seem to be overloaded with work so I was sure they would serve me fairly quickly.

‘Can you, please, go up to our colleague over there.’ One of them pointed at their co-worker who at that moment was serving a customer who needed a laptop for a present for his godson’s First Communion.

I looked around the shop to see if there was anyone else from the staff who, like those two ladies, did not have any urgent work to do, but every one of them had busied themselves with customers, as if on cue. I waited for my turn. It took some time but I had no choice. With the corner of my eye I could see one of the ladies leaving her desk only to return with a small box which she gave to her colleague.

Lazienki 4

A squirrel in Łazienki Park in Warsaw.

At last the Media—- store assistant drew all his attention to my humble self. In his hands he held the box that the lady had given to him. Clearly impatient, he looked for the box/phone ID number on the system.  I stood quietly, not saying a word, as he did not ask me anything. At last I heard:
‘Did you make the reservation for this phone here or online?’

I answered truthfully that one of the assistants had done it for me in the store.

I did not think that limited information helped as the man still could not find it on the system, Since it took a while, I looked at the computer screen with curiosity. Suddenly, I noticed that the phone on the screen cost twice as much as the one I had intend to buy:
‘The model I’ve reserved costs half this price online.’

The assistant, clearly annoyed, asked me for my name, at last! He looked it up on the system and said that his colleague had brought a wrong phone from the warehouse.

He left and was back within minutes – now with the right phone. As it was supposed to be a present and I would not want it to be faulty in any way, I asked the assistant about the possibility to check it in the store before buying it. He confirmed it was possible and directed me to the tills.

Fryderyk Szopen

Frederic Chopin’s monument in Łazienki Park in Warsaw (Poland)

One of the ladies came up to the till. I asked again if it was possible to check it there before purchasing (as the box was sealed).

‘Yes, just go to see my colleague.’ The lady sent me back to the assistant.

The assistant did not even try to hide his irritation: ‘Surely the phone works properly! Why would it be faulty?’

He opened the box and pulled the phone out of the bag with such a fierceness that the phone fell on the floor. He angrily commented: ‘Now it might be faulty.’

He handed the phone over to me to have a look and slowly moved away. I wa left alone to check it and pack it back in the box.

Are we trying to catch up with the West in a day or two? Well, we are so far behind…

Read also: Customer – always, right?

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