Tweeter is a major high(er) end audio retailer. I wasn’t really aware of this when I walked into the place a couple of weeks ago to look at something in the way of what I hope will become a home stereo system. I spent over three hours in there, learning about all of the available options: hard-drive based stuff with networked satellite clients, crazy nice speakers, super current cleaners, and the features and options on every receiver and speaker set in the place. Literally. I wasn’t going down easy.
I bought a good receiver that I can grow with, and some speakers which came with an interesting promise: if you maintain the packaging and the speakers, and bring them back within 12 months, and you want to upgrade to speakers that are at least 50% more than the ones you’re trading in, they’ll credit you the *full purchase price* of your traded-in speakers toward the new ones! So, if you spend $800 on speakers today, and go back within a year for the nice $1200 ones, you only pay $400, and you turn in your old speakers! NICE!
But you have to “maintain the speakers and packaging”. This was told to me by the salesperson, and then again by a manager that happened to be at the counter when I was paying. But what happened next sparked my paranoid side.
We’re out back at the Tweeter loading dock, and the salesperson was getting the speakers. Apparently, there was a spider on the speakers, so the guy kicked the spider, which was on my speaker box. When I got home, I noticed that the speaker box now had a hole in it! Ack! I stewed on this for awhile, and the mental images just got worse. I had nightmares about investigations involving hidden cameras to blow the cover off of Tweeter’s secret ploy to lure in customers with this great deal, only to not honor it on account of a hole in the packaging that was put there by the salesperson. The plan came from the highest ranks of management. Corporate. It was scandalous. The press, the FBI, the National Guard, all involved.
I finally called up Tweeter today to tell them of my problem, and the guy on the other end of the line says “well, I have them in stock. We’re not gonna bat an eyelash over a hole in the packaging, but we’ll exchange it out”. Already I’m feeling a little ridiculous. I drive down there, and the guy who was on the phone comes out of the loading dock door and sees that the box has never been opened. Then he sees the hole in the box and I think he was trying *not* to look at me like I was a moron. I wanted to thank him for trying, because now I felt like an idiot. He said that when they say “maintain packaging”, they usually mean “just to keep it around for when you return it”.
“But we’ll exchange this right out”. And he did. I went home with a new speaker, in a nice, new box, untouched by human hands, and presumably, spiders.
I did feel like a total dweeb, and then I thought “well, if all businesses treated their customers this way, then I guess I’d be justified in feeling like this”. Fact is, Tweeter has, thus far, treated me better than most companies who have happily taken my money for less. Those Tweeter folks are okay.