At the end of Part 1 of The Television Saga, we had the new Westinghouse television and the old small television hidden behind it. Life seemed good. C-Man had his big shiny television that did not emit a high-pitched whining noise. I had the emotional security of knowing that my long-time companion was waiting for the day when I regained a room of my own. C-Man made a few speculative comments about selling the Westinghouse on craigslist so he could buy something at Costco due to their superior return policy, and I told him to do whatever he wanted as long as I didn’t have to hear about it. Nothing happened. I was fine with that.
At the beginning of the holiday shopping season, the PS3 was released. To make a long story short, C-Man spent about 100 hours engaged in PS3-hunting, and ended up with exactly one (1) PS3, which he was completely unable to sell on craigslist or EBay for a profit, so he kept it. I agreed to accept that as long as it would play my beloved Max Headroom DVDs better than the XBox does, which turned out to be true.
Then my sorrows began.
The thing you must understand about lawyers is this: when they feel like they’re being screwed over, they can lawyer up FOR FREE. And it turned out that the Westinghouse and the PS3 didn’t talk to each other correctly, so C-Man was feeling very screwed over indeed.
C-Man called Westinghouse. Then he emailed Westinghouse. They argued. He spent an entire evening with boxes stacked on the coffee table and the digital camera perched atop the boxes. He took pictures of the television screen. He took Quicktime movies of the television screen. He emailed them to Westinghouse. He emailed them to Sony. He did internet research. He took the PS3 to Costco to plug it into other televisions. He took it to work to plug it into another monitor. He argued with Westinghouse some more. Westinghouse blamed the PS3. Sony blamed Westinghouse.
He finally decided to return the Westinghouse to Best Buy on the grounds that Westinghouse was refusing to honor the warranty. He had built his evidence file to support his case. He also had the citation for the federal law that allows chargebacks to credit cards for transactions in which the cardholder is not able to resolve a dispute with the merchant, and he was prepared to quote that law to the Best Buy customer service staff.
The original packaging for the television, however, was missing. Disposed of by someone who shall remain nameless (who is not C-Man and me and not The Dog). Even assuming that Best Buy would accept the return of a television over six months after purchase, the restocking fee would be 15% of the purchase price. C-Man announced his intention to hold the disposer accountable for the sum we would forfeit due to lack of packaging.
We bundled the television into the back seat, restrained it with a seat belt, and cushioned it with blankets. C-Man put together his evidence file, and we set off for the Best Buy in Georgetown. Since the television had been charged on my credit card, I had to go. My plan was to dissociate from the entire experience, because I’ve seen the look on this man’s face when he’s angrily typing a retort to someone on a message board about copyright issues and I didn’t want to see how bad this was going to get.
We parked in the loading area and carried the television to the customer service desk, then C-Man went to move the car. A customer service person approached me.
Customer Service Person: So what’s going on with this television?
Me: I am not talking to you about this. He is talking to you about this. He is moving the car out of the loading zone.
Customer Service Person (backing away slowly): OK, sounds good.
As soon as C-Man came in, I put my credit card on the counter and ran away to hide between the rows of refrigerators.
Not long after, C-Man appeared.
He was smiling.
It was scary.
I figured he’d killed that nice boy at the customer service desk.
While I waited for the alarms to go off and security to appear, I thought I would make conversation.
Me (backing away slowly): So, what happened?
C-Man: They took it back.
C-Man: I’m really glad you have a digital camera.
Yes, it’s true, the photographic evidence brandished by my dear husband had been enough to convince the customer service person that the television just did not work. No law citations were needed, no annotated warranty and paper trail of customer service interactions. Just a printed photograph of some squiggly silver lines on a television screen. And they had been apologetic that they had to give us store credit because it had been too long to do a credit card rebate. They didn’t even charge us the restocking fee.
As we left, C-Man started to veer towards the television section.
I said “You told me to remind you that you’re only allowed to buy cutting-edge electronics at Costco.”
So we left.
To be concluded in Part 3