The Everything But Shop was the unkind - in my view - title given to Woolworths, the high street store that sold, and still sells, everything...but what you want. I recalled this after bagging a bargain this weekend: electric cool box, half price, reduced from £60 to £29.99. Ha! I said to myself, Woolworths' detractors can scoff all they like, but I for one will defend dear old Woolies to the hilt. Imagine then my chagrin when I discovered today that only two days later they had knocked a futher fiver off the price. Not one to turn down a fiver when there's one going, I paraded back into the Oldham store with a boxed 25litre electric cool box and recipt under one arm; picked up another under the other and marched smartly up to the till demandeing fair play of the three or so bored assistants waiting for home time (this was at 17.25h...they shut at 17.30h).
I explained that I simply wanted to return the cool box I had bought on Saturday and then purchase the second one at the lower price of £22 (actually that's a seven pounds difference isn't it...even better).
"You can't do that" replied the first assistant,
"Why not? You have a no quibble returns policy don't you." I boldly asserted,
"It's not right, bringing something back just to get more money off" she replied, obviously oblivious to the meaning of quibble.
"What if I hadn't delivered two cool boxes here, but returned one, got my refund and then walked over there and picked up the other, what would you have done then?" I persisted,
"I don't know, but it's not right" she said digging in her heels. With the scent of blood in my nostrils I rose to the fight and parried,
" Who do I have to see then to discuss your company policy on no quibble returns", I was getting a liking for 'quibble' and tried to effect a Mr Bean voice as I said it.
"Brenda", she replied
"Brenda?" I asked,
"Brenda, upstairs" she added helpfully. Her colleague reached for the telephone,
"I'll ring Brenda' she said. I folded my arms and stubbornly stood my ground, ready to do battle with Brenda from upstairs.
As we were stood, one of the other assistants idly eyed my receipt and then nonchalantly reached over and pressed down the telephone button, cutting off the Brenda call. I felt a chill run up my spine at the way she matched my gaze eye-to- eye as she did so.
"You were only charged £22 for this on Saturday" she said, her quiet calm voice clearly audible over her suddenly silent colleagues. I blustered that I was sure I had been charged £29.99, but in my heart I knew the battle was lost. I gazed folornly at the receipt thrust under my nose and picked up my cool box.
"Right then" I said, turning to leave, head bowed. Then I had a spark of inspiration:
"How do you know I'm not the mystery shopper testing your knowledge of company policy on returns and no quibble guarantees" I said, and walked smartly away, that got them.
So, normally when I write about a store or product it is by way of a cheeky invitation to offer me an incentive to return; on this occasion it's simply to humbly say: I was wrong - and I don't like it.