Customer service? Well …

Customer service isn’t what it used to be, or is it? Well, yes and no based on our experiences last week. Saturday, my wife, son Joe and I drove to Tupelo to run a couple of errands.

Our first stop was Petsmart to get a new light bulb for the small aquarium on our kitchen counter. The bulb burned out a week ago and I had been unable to find a match for it in New Albany.
What a pleasant experience! A well-dressed sales clerk met us at the door and asked if he could help us find anything. I showed him the burned-out bulb and he walked us to the proper aisle and pointed out two bulbs, one clear and the other with a pink cast.
We picked the clear one and then he took it out of the box to demonstrate it was an exact match. After putting it back in the box, he volunteered to dispose of the used bulb we had brought.
I handed him the bulb, and after a couple-minutes detour to pet the puppies from the humane society waiting to be adopted, we paid for the bulb and left.
After a stop for lunch at Chili’s, we headed to Best Buy. Joe wanted to return a Metallica band T-shirt he had bought Jan. 19 with a gift card he had gotten for Christmas. When he got home and took the shirt out of the bag, he found it had a guy dying in an electric chair on the back.
He thought it wasn’t the right kind of thing to wear to school and wanted to trade for something else. Jenny told him to put it back in the plastic bag, save the receipt, and the next time we were in Tupelo, he could exchange it.
Wrong. At the return counter, Joe was told by a matter-of-fact young woman that Best Buy wouldn’t exchange the shirt. Company policy is that nothing can be returned after 30 days, she said. It had been 34 days.
Jenny intervened. But the shirt was in the original package and Joe had the receipt, she said. And we don’t live in a city that has a Best Buy store, she added.
It didn’t matter one bit to Best Buy. That was the rule.
Jenny was incensed. Over the years we have bought TVs, stereos, cameras, iPods and who knows what else for us and our kids at Best Buys in South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi.
“We’ll never be back,” she said.
Best Buy lost a long-time customer over a $17.99 T-shirt.
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Speaking of customer service, a customer of the Gazette has complained that we littered her neighborhood by throwing unwanted newspapers in all the yards during last week’s rain.
I assured her that it was not the Gazette that was the culprit. We pay for all of the Gazette’s home-delivered newspapers and our Gazette Guide shopper to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to your mail box. We do not throw newspapers on driveways or in yards.
We dislike littering as much as you do.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by telephone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at