Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Whose Responsibility Is It?

About ten days ago, Erin and I went shopping for a dress for her to wear for Confirmation, which took place last Sunday. Dress shopping is not a happy experience for any of the girls in our family. It is unpleasant for both Brooke and me because we don't wear dresses and because any occasion that requires a dress is usually not one that we will enjoy. Erin, on the other hand, doesn't mind wearing the dresses, it is just difficult to find one that fits her correctly.

So, off we go to the mall. The first few places we looked yielded absolutely nothing. Just as I was about to start panicking, she found one that she liked and that fit. We bought it. She now needed matching shoes, another thing that makes me break out in hives. So, we made our way to another store. Just because we could, we looked at dresses there as well. The pressure was off; now we could just look for fun. Erin did not find another dress she liked. She found two and they both looked great. I'm not sure what I was thinking with that night, but the next thing I knew we were standing in line paying for dresses two and three of the evening. My rationale was that it is hard to find dresses for her so buy them while you can. The only problem, they too required shoes!

When we got home that night, Erin tried on the dresses again with the shoes and accessories that she convinced me were necessary. She discovered that the security tag had not been removed from one of them. My first thought was that those things are a waste since obviously we made it out of the store without setting off any alarms that would cause mall security to descend upon us. Upon reading the print on the tag, we discovered that it was an ink tag. If we tried to remove it, the dress would be instantly covered in black ink and would be ruined.

Since this was not the dress that Erin intended to wear to church the following Sunday, I figured that getting the tag taken off was not an immediate emergency. I finally got around to taking the dress back to the store today. It was still on its hanger and in the long bag with the store's name displayed prominently on it. I walked in to the nearest checkout counter and explained my tale of woe to the unfriendly clerk.

"Give me your receipt."

"I don't think I still have my receipt."

"How do you expect me to do anything about this if you don't have your receipt?"

"It was the failure of your employee to remove it at the time of purchase."

"Those things happen. I still can't do anything without a receipt."

"If that is the case, you are going to be dealing with one unhappy customer. Is there a manager I can speak with?

"I'll see."

The clerk then turned and spoke in almost a whisper to what I assume was a manager. I suspect she was saying something about the bitchy woman who was too stupid to hold on to her receipt just in case some incompetent sales clerk neglected to remove a security tag. Truthfully, I really didn't care what she had to day about me. I just wanted the damn tag removed so I could move on to more important things, like a cup of coffee.

The clerk finally hung up the phone and turned slowly around giving me one of those looks like a teacher gives a student when the student is asking for mercy because the dog has eaten his homework - again. Very laboriously she put the dress's tag on the little gizmo that releases the tag safely and gave it the magic pop while simultaneously lecturing me on the importance of keeping track of my receipts. Why did I need to keep my receipt? The dress fit and we had no intention of returning it for a refund. I had no need to retain the receipt. So I didn't. I refrained from giving her an equally annoying lecture on the necessity of brains and manners in the work place.

AT the point in the morning that this all took place, I had had no caffeine and nothing to eat so my energy reserves were low. I decided that I had wasted enough time with the Nazi clerk so I left. As I sat in the car fantasizing about the imminent cup of caffeine, I found myself wondering why it is my responsibility to take precautions in case of the incompetence of store clerks. I have enough to worry about. I don't need to save every single receipt just in case. I can't even manage to keep track of the ones that I need to get reimbursed for show props.

This is not my responsibility!