Holiday Returns

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Holiday Returns

          It was Christmas Eve and we were exchanging gifts around the tree with all of the holiday lights illuminated. It was a festive atmosphere as we had decided to bypass church until Christmas and were dressed in our finest warm pajamas. The kids were beside themselves as they ripped with malicious intent at many wrapped boxes and other strangely shaped objects. My wife and I stood back and enjoyed their fury as they soon had their loot unwrapped and removed from their box confines. I took this time to sort through the paper debris to find our presents and we opened with care. My wife had opened all of her gifts which included a new jacket of her own choosing. I was also thankful for my many gifts that included a video recorder I had requested. In recent years my wife and I had picked out our primary gifts as it proved to be the best fit for us. Not to mention that you get what you wanted.

          I quickly unboxed the video recorder and assembled the components. To my surprise the video recorder didn't power on. I attached it to my laptop for charging and thought an hour would at least give me something. I collected up some adult beverages for my wife and myself and returned to the fray of playing children. These cocktails helped ease the passing of time and after being shot multiple times by a dart gun I realized that the battery had charged for an hour. I went to my computer to remove the video recorder and it was still dead. I thought for a moment and decided another thirty minutes of charging couldn't hurt. I departed the room and reentered the ring with the children and was attacked with vicious playtime.

          I wondered in to check the video recorder after an hour or so and disappointment slapped me in my face once again. There was no hope for this device and I realized a trip to the electronics store was in my near future. I broke the bad news of the recorder to my wife and she suggested that I put batteries in the device and try again. I figured her brilliant suggestion was worth a try and after obtaining the correct batteries I tried again. I was thwarted once again and felt it was not to be. I disconnected the device and placed it neatly back into the packaging. When I updated my wife she started to laugh and told me the story of her fiasco in purchasing the device.

          Her purchasing adventure started with my request of a specific make and model of video recorder. I thought this task would be easy as the device was very popular and would be easily obtained. She took the information I had given her and headed to the local electronic store. She was greeted by an eager associate who took her to the digital imaging department. Apparently the associate thought the camera department was not a good title and wanted the name to be more impressive. My wife handed her the make and model of the video recorder and the associate looked at the paper with a blank expression. It was as though someone had hit pause as she was motionless for quite a long time. My wife finally broke the silence and asked the associate again about the device and purchasing it. This nudge seemed to bring her back to reality and she moved towards one of the locked cabinets below the displayed video recorders.

          The associate searched in the cabinet for quite some time and when she emerged my wife was excited as she had something in her hand. The associate handed her a box and when my wife did a further examination it was the wrong device. When my wife pointed out the mistake the associate responded quickly that they didn't have that make and model. The associate continued to enlighten my wife that the device she sought was not popular and that they were junk. This seemed to throw my wife for a bit of a spin. After some time of thought my wife asked if the associate could order one for her to purchase. The associate's response was yet another display of blankness that ended with her moving to a nearby PC. The associate started to type and continued for some time until she finally looked up. There would be a shipment of these devices coming in the following day. My wife was confused but didn't question the associate and said she would be back the next day.

          My wife returned the following day to obtain the video recorder and when she reached the counter was not thrilled to see the same associate. The associate greeted her and my wife explained the prior day's conversation and wanted to pick up the device. The associate had forgotten about the meeting the day prior and looked puzzled. My wife was beyond frustrated at this point and stopped trying to jog her memory of their first meeting. She just wanted to purchase the device and leave without any further interruptions. The associate complied with her request and headed towards another locked cabinet where she emerged with a box. My wife inspected the box and to her delight it was the correct make and model. She told the associate she was glad that the shipment had come in and turned to depart with the device. The associate interrupted her departure and said that there was no shipment that came in today and that those were in stock. My wife couldn't believe what she was hearing but didn't turn and acknowledge her existence for fear of yelling.

          Several days later when the kids went back to school I arrived at the electronics store as they opened. The line at the door was already lengthy and to my delight they were all waiting to return gifts. I thought that working in a returns department would be a horrible job especially right after Christmas. I am sure that they have heard every story and took quite a bit of abuse that they didn't deserve. These thoughts allowed me to have a bit more patience than normal as I waited in line. As time passed I watched the people in line before me showing ill will towards one another and especially the return agents. I was horrified by the language and actions of these individuals and wished that I had Santa's number so I could text him for next year's naughty list. The negative attitudes were so powerful that they started to rub off on the staff in the return's department. The line seemed to come to a standstill and I tried to remain calm and positive as my life passed me by.

          After about thirty five minutes I had reached one of the ladies at the return's counter and tried to show my positive attitude towards her. I greeted her with small talk about her holiday and how her glass eye sparkled with Christmas cheer. This didn't seem to break the force field that surrounded her and in fact I think she ignored it completely. She only seemed interested in what I wanted so I quickly complied. I put the device on the counter and explained that it was dead. She started the standard questions if I had charged or even connected the battery correctly. As I answered that I had done both she didn't appear to hear me as she removed the device from its packaging. The next thing I knew she had handed me the camera and asked me to put the battery in and turn it on. I reluctantly agreed to her request and completed the task to her satisfaction. She examined the device and shook her head as though confirming the complete inoperability of the device. She then handed it back to me and indicated that I needed to repackage it. As I dismantled the device and put it back into the packaging she asked for my receipt. I told her that it was lost but I was sure it was purchased here and I could provide her the type of credit card used and my wife's name. This statement didn't seem to reach her ears as she only wanted to know the credit card number that I didn't have. I again offered her the information I did have and after some time of her deep sighs of frustration she began typing on the computer. She soon reappeared from behind the monitor and had retrieved the transaction. She hastily handed me a reprinted receipt and a bunch of other printed forms. Her instructions were to visit the camera department for a replacement video recorder and then proceed to the checkout line as the returns department was too busy to complete the transaction. I was happy to have made it out alive and even with a bit of my ass still intact.

          Thankfully the associate working the camera counter was very nice and eager to help me. I handed her the paperwork from the returns department and she glanced through it. After a few minutes she handed it back and said that they had plenty of the video recorders in stock and to give her a few minutes. While she was gone I thought back to my wife's story about how they didn't stock the devices and all the grief she had received. My thoughts were interrupted as the associate returned with a box in hand and wished me a great day. As I left the department I browsed around the store looking at some of the latest music, games and televisions.

          When I made my way to the checkout lane it was busy with customers waiting to be helped. I took the next spot in line and as we marched around the corner I saw only three lanes open. I watched the cashiers working with the customers and realized they were not very happy. The customers in line were agitated by the lack of customer support and again it seemed like the line was slowed by this heightened sense of tension. There were loud rumblings from random people in line about having to wait and why the associates couldn't check people out quicker. It seemed as though there only needed to be a spark to set off the whole thing. As I pondered the thought in my mind it happened. A rather large, boisterous and rude lady emerged and started rambling through the line bypassing those waiting. This event was the catalyst for the customers in line to unleash language not fit for the young ears present. The boisterous and self-important lady told those in line that she wasn't waiting and they could kiss her ass. This seemed to put fuel on the fire as the front most people in line grabbed her as she tried to pass. The struggle that proceeded was something out of a low budget wrestling match between a one legged drunk beggar and a blind squirrel. The funny part of the confrontation is that the cashiers didn't stop and after a few minutes it was the store manager that intervened. The distraction was all that I needed as a cashier waved me to her lane and I completed my transaction.

          As I drove home with my new video recorder I reflected on the events and just how anti holiday people are or have become. It seems that people have too much time on their hands for movies or watching big screen televisions. I do believe that the wrestling match could have been avoided if the large and boisterous lady had a life or took up exercise instead of sitting on her butt watching movies.

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