Another two weeks passed before I finally found time to go to the store. I stood in line for ten minutes while the clerk and another customer raved on and on about how much they loved David Sedaris. Finally I get up to the counter and the clerk said, "We'll have to give you store credit for this."
I wrinkled my brows in confusion, "But I thought you had a 30 day return policy."
She flipped the book over to examine the back cover, "No. It's been 14 days for awhile now. Was there anything wrong with the book?"
Shaking my head, I replied. "No, my manager suggested I get another book."
"Do you want to look around?" She said, picking up the intercom to call for a store manager.
"No, I'm fine thanks. I'll just take the store credit."
"Manager to the back of the store. Manager to the back of the store for a return, please."
And so, I'm waiting...again.
Ten minutes later, the manager appeared and asked me the same set of questions. "No...No, I'm fine...Yes, store credit...No, that's fine...No, nothing was wrong with it...No, I don't need to look around. Thanks." She turned the book over several times, examined the corners, and flipped through the pages looking for god knows what. Finally she seemed satisfied and started punching away on the register. Hallelujah! I filled out a return form, they handed me my store credit, and I stepped away from the line.
No, not really. I decided to linger about and read the latest issue of Us Weekly, where Denise Richards tells us the "real truth" behind the Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora. I could hear the two ladies whispering behind the counter. There was a loud thud and the manager yelled out, "Excuse me ma'am? Excuse me?"
I turned to find the two of them staring at me with unhappy faces. "Uh yes?" The next person in line looked back and forth between us and then stepped quietly back into the line.
"Can you give me back that card?" The manager said, her lips tightened in a straight line.
I'm thinking maybe there was something wrong with the card, or that the transaction didn't process correctly. "Uh, sure. Here you go."
She quickly grabbed the card off of the counter. "You see this?! Do you see it? I can't give you store credit." She held up the book with both hands and shook it in my face. "There's a coffee ring on it, it looks like you left this on your table for a month with a coffee mug on it. I CANNOT take this back."
I'm staring at them in disbelief. "Uh. ... OK. That's fine." But I really wanted to tell them they were crazy.
There were actually two ring marks, but it was hard to see against the glossy cover, which was probably why they missed it the first four times they looked over the book. They were water marks too, I was sure of that. But I wasn't going to make a scene with four other people in line staring as though I had tried to run out of the store with a pile of books. I wasn't about to comment on the fact that they made me wait twenty minutes to do a return and then figure out they didn't want to do the return.
Instead I took the book to the car and wiped the marks off with a tissue. Tomorrow, I'm taking it down to the Emeryville Barnes & Noble. Hopefully someone normal will help me do the return.
I called my best friend on the way home, screaming about the crazy employees. She just laughed and laughed, "That lady will probably go home to her husband tonight and talk about how she caught you in the act of cheating them. Hahaha... You made her day, Kimmie. Hahaha... You can't get one up on those employees at Barnes. Hahaha... "