Monday, February 16, 2009

Problems of a shop keeper.

So the other shoe dropped and the customer who had a problem with her coat came to the store. To recap she had purchased this beautiful coat in pristine condition and brought it to Las Vegas for New Years Eve. This was a special order because she had seen one that someone else had purchased and she demanded one in red which we had to special order for her and fight with the company to get it in time for her vacation. When she comes back she calls to tell us that she got ketchup on the coat and sent it out to the dry cleaner and that the coat was ruined and she wanted to return it. I have been investigating what the legalities and the customs of the trade are and no where does it seem is it my problem. She took the coat, stained it, did not bring it to a dry cleaner who knew how to clean angora and messed up her coat. How is that on me? Why should I have to pay for her mistakes? She enjoyed the coat and then her sloppiness got it damaged and she didn't take the proper precautions to clean it properly. Now she wants me to eat it. I don't think that's right.

Anyway she storms into the store on Saturday when we have a full store with the coat. The stain was on the inside bottom of the back of the collar. How she did that I don't know. She comes in with the same rap."You know I spend a lot of money in here and I feel you should do something." Now this implies a couple of things.

One is that we would blow off someone who only bought one thing in our store which is totally untrue. If someone buys something from our store that is defective we stand by it. Last season a woman bought a coat in which the lining ripped as soon as she wore it and we replaced the lining for her. The coats on that line also had buttons that came off as soon as you put it on. We told anyone who bought it about that and even cut the price by $20 so they could take it to the tailor to reinforce the buttons. We got crap for it on Yelp for being honest. But that's how we operate. We don't gauge people by how much money they spend. This woman got a lot of considerations for her patronage. She got a discount on the coat and a free scarf to wear with it for her holiday. None of that counts of course. We have to eat it and fix her mistakes.

The second implication is that she would not shop in the store anymore. Well we kind of know that she is not going to do that anyway. She has kind of poisoned the atmosphere. My wife treats her customers like family and helps dress them like they were her sister. You can't get that back when someone is trying to get over on you like this. So we really don't want her as a customer anymore. It's like a bad relationship. It's better to end it right now. It's never gonna get better.

The real icing on the cake is what she said. "I could still wear the coat, it's wearable but I don't like it anymore." Now she came bursting in the store like the Gestapo with her friend the judge who heard her say this along with several of our other customers who couldn't believe what she was trying to pull. All of these people are people I intend to call as witnesses if it comes to it. This customer is a lawyer and the next thing she said was that she came to us first before she called the credit card company to cancel the charge. Now that is a threat if I ever heard one. I called the credit card company and they said she doesn't have a leg to stand on but I fear it is going to go to court. Easy for her because she is a lawyer and doesn't have to pay for one. Plus her friend the judge will know whoever will hear the case and the fix will be in. But we can't give in and roll over. It just sucks and we are going to have to fight it out all summer. Not what you need when you are trying to survive in this economy.

35 comments:

Darcy said...

Trooper, if you do have to get a lawyer, please make sure they file a Counter Complaint on the attempt to intimidate you and affect your business. You do have witnesses, and please make a list right now of them. It may end up requiring her to pay for your costs.

I'm sorry you are going through this and I really hope she drops this selfish, unjust action. I wish I had a friend who practiced in NY!

Hang in there.

Trooper York said...

Thanks Darcy. My cousin will represent me so I am not worried about that. It is just you hate to have this hanging over your head. Not something I want to do.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Hey Trooper- Bear in mind I know as much about NY law as I do teh back side of the moon, but I would make sure I subpoena the judge too; she heard in teh store about the damage, the fact that it is hidden and that she knows why its there...

Trooper York said...

Oh I intend to call the judge. But I think it will be in small claims court since the number is under $1,500 so that is where she will go. American Express says as long as I have a signed credit card slip from her they will go by the store policies. If it comes to a he said/she said I want to put the judge under oath and then the four other girls in the store who are just customers and heard the whole thing since they were talking very loudly to make trouble for us. So it is going to get nasty one way or another. The real problem is that they are hooked into the Brooklyn courts and will most likely be friends with whoever is hearing the case. Can I ask for a change of venue? Somehow I don't think they will do that for such a small amount.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

What? You think you'd get a fairer trial in another burough?

Maybe Queens or Manhattan?

I know how you feel about Attorneys, but not all of them are crooked, and even the crooked ones can't be seen to ignore the evidence completely or not follow precedent.

What sucks is that she has decided to try and screw you over in the store (probabaly because she knows she can't win in court); she may not even file a claim because she doesn't want to lose- she wants to intimidate you into giving in.

Check with your cousin; if she pulls the same stunt again you may be able to slap her with a restraining order; that will do wonders for her career! But my guess is she is probably a prime ass in her profession as well, and the fact that she has had a TRO placed against her will suprise none of her 'friends'.

Freeman Hunt said...

Sheesh, this woman is a real piece of work.

Original Mike said...

I've got nothing to offer you Trooper, except sympathy (I know, that and a dollar ...). But man, how she thinks you owe her anything is beyond incredible.

Trooper York said...

I agree Redneck. I mean I am not afraid that she will tell all of her friends not to shop in the store because I doubt she has any friends that would shop in the store anyway. So we will play it out.

But it is exactly like ricpic said: Chutzpah.

Trooper York said...

But I think the last few weeks let you see where I get my attitudes toward lawyers and journalists.

Darcy said...

Hey! You're getting some help from Althouse! :)

traditionalguy said...

All of the lawyers will hate her more than you do if she makes all lawyers look bad by being a super jerk.The problem comes from the Slander for a living nature of all litigation attorneys. Treat her like you would any bully: attack her back. Being a "woman" does not give her a certified victim status. She needs to learn a good lesson.

Trooper York said...

I hope you are right traditional guy. It's just that the Brooklyn court house is very incestous. One hand washes the other. I just don't think I can get a fair hearing if it comes to court. I have zero confidence in the legal system.

MadisonMan said...

I also have little to add except sympathy. It sucks that this woman is sucking joy from your life.

Well, it's Spring soon. Can I hope she's gained 15 pounds over winter so that nothing in her closet fits?

Trooper York said...

But Madison Man, if that happens she would have even more reason to shop in my store! So I lose either way. See if we give in and give her a credit, she will only spend up to the amount of the credit and think she showed me! So it's really a no win situation. You know all of the guys in government or who just work for somebody do not understand how it works for someone who owns his own little business. There are a million things against you and you are struggling to swim upstream every day.

MadisonMan said...

There's no way I would credit her for a ruined coat. Her beef should be with the dry cleaner, not with you; she's only come to you 'cause the dry cleaner is out in Vegas and she's not. What a lazy woman! I would just politely and repeatedly point this out to her. How can you be responsible for a dry cleaner's errors? If she'd decided to have it altered and the tailor accidentally cut off the sleeve -- is that your problem too?

I hope the legal system in NYC is not as broken as you suggest; I should think any judge is going to show this woman the door PDQ. If not, I think publicity would shame her. But maybe things are different there.

Original Mike said...

What possible grounds could she claim to take it to court? My guess is it ain't going to happen (that said, our legal system is seriously screwed up).

I'm Full of Soup said...

I bet you could use the internets to find someone that would arrange an accident for this beeeeyatch. Heh.

I would do it for free.

AlgonquinS said...

Have her whacked.

JAL said...

Yeah, MM, I thought the dry cleaner also. (What makes you think the DC is out in Vegas? I didn't read the first blog post about this.)

She take it to one of those one price places? >;-)

What a jerk.

I'm Full of Soup said...

This story has all the makings for a Law & Order episode.

Trooper York said...

Thanks for all the support guys. And thanks to the professor for the link. While you are here don't forget to vote in the comfort food poll. I want to figure what to cook if we lose the case.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Hey, not as bad as $54 million for a pair of lost trousers.

Whenever I get in line behind one of those idiots I clear my throat a lot and hope they around and say something. Unless of course they are huge and probably carrying a deer skinning knife.

Christy said...

Trooper, take what comfort you can from the fact that this woman has just screwed herself over. If she is a larger lady, she has just reduced the already few options she has for good looking clothes. If she is a more traditional size, she has just lost what appears to be her own personal buyer. Few joys compare to having a store with such personal service.

Good luck with all this.

dr kill said...

I thin I saw that movie. Your cousin is named Vinnie, and the judge is Herman Munster.

It's problems like this that make The Godfather a realistic alternative. Don't tell me you don't agree.

dr kill said...

Now that I read the comments I see I'm not the only one paying attention to what passes for justice here in what used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

You have some sadly experienced readers.

If you do it don't tell no one. Do it yourself.

Methadras said...

Good luck, Trooper. Kick this bitch in the nuts. I hate these kinds of people, thinking that you are some kind of retail charity that should accommodate their idiocy whenever they don't like the outcome of that idiocy and try to make you pay for it.

joewxman said...

My sister worked for Lord & Taylor and Nieman Marcus years ago where it was customary for rich women to buy dresses with 4 figures on them before the decimal point..wear them...and them rip them at the seam and return them. This was a regular event especially during the high spring and summer social event seasons. Store always took them back but they could afford to eat the loss. Just because someone has money doesn't mean they have any class or honesty.

Call her bluff. i'll bet she wont call it.

John Burgess said...

Trooper: I'm quite sure you're not going to lose on this. You've both the law and the evidence on your side.

But welcome to the world of retail! As joewxman points out, this is nothing new; it's just your first time.

When I worked retail, we'd see people come in on a Thursday or a Friday morning and buy all sorts of expensive clothing and jewelry. No later than the next Tuesday, but sometimes as soon as Saturday morning, they'd be back to return it for any number of reasons.

The items had the tags removed, they were frequently stained or scratched. They had clearly been worn. Nobody was fooled.

This caused a fracas at my place of employments because most of those big-ticket items were sold on commission. The salesperson had already chalked up the income, but then had it deducted because the store--as a matter of customer relations policy--always took the item back, no questions asked.

The store management finally had to accede to employee demand that if the store was to take back items sold at commission, it would not dock the commissions.

That store chain is now bankrupted out of business. I'm sure it wasn't a result of this policy, but I'm also sure the policy hit their bottom line.

Just remember, in the words of Jean Paul Satre: "L'Enfer C'est les autres".

blake said...

Take her to The People's Court!

Then we could all watch Judge Milian rip her a new one!

Plus, I think you split $5,000 minus the judgment.

jeff said...

"When she comes back she calls to tell us that she got ketchup on the coat and sent it out to the dry cleaner and that the coat was ruined and she wanted to return it."

Umm, what? Based on what? The only possible way to sue and win would be to lie and say she bought it like that. Sounds like she is one of the people a few others mentioned who like to buy expensive things and then return them when finished. I find it hard to believe she would take this as far as court.
I suspect the credit card people laughed at her when she told them why she wanted to stop the payment.

Trooper York said...

I hope you are right jeff. She hasn't called the company yet. I did and they told me as long as I have a signed slip they go by the store policy. So we will see what happens.

Donna B. said...

I have two outfits hanging in my closet that still have the tags on them. When I got home, I decided I hated them, but I didn't around to returning them.

When I finally thought about it again, I couldn't find the receipt and figured since it 6 weeks later they wouldn't take them back anyway.

It would never even occur to me to try what this woman is trying to do to you.

Oh, and don't hate all lawyers! My daughter is one and she wouldn't do that to you either.

Michael Haz said...

I have fired several prospective customers during my time as a builder of custom homes. It was never easy, but in the end, it was always the best thing to have done.

The one that kept me awake for many nights was when I told a couple who wanted me to build their $3 million home to take their blueprints and leave my office. They were so demanding, so negative, so unable to make any decisions on a timely basis that they were impossible to work with.

They threatened to sue, didn't, and eventually hired a friend of mine to build their house. It was a disaster. He would up being bankrupted by legal proceedings, the couple divorced, the house stood uncompleted for two years.

I never again hesitated to say 'I'm sorry, but I think we'd both be happier if you took your business to another company' to someone who gave me a bad feeling.

Original Mike said...

Store always took them back but they could afford to eat the loss. Just because someone has money doesn't mean they have any class or honesty.

People like this raise prices for everybody. There's a word for that: selfish.

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