Lyle's Blog

Jaywalkers and Office Max

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What do they have in common.....nothing really, they just both became large parts of my day.

To start off with, I headed out after lunch to get Jayden from school. Now, the intersection in front of Jake's at Hwy 20 is a busy intersection. On our side we have cars coming and going from us, the homes behind us, the shopping center in front of us, Hyundai, Subaru, and Chevron. Across the road, two small shopping centers have been built and the road goes back to more houses. Hwy 20 is already a busy road and trying to cross it by foot is treacherous. A couple of years back, a man nearly lost his life trying it.

I pulled up to the intersection and noticed that the traffic was quite heavy. I watched and waited as a string of cars came from the east towards town. I noticed three cars with their turn signals on and realized my chance for moving out into the first lane. As I pulled out, I suddenly noticed that the inside lane had stopped. And then I noticed why. A woman was walking an older man across the road. They were now crossing in front of the blocked traffic in the inside lane. I hit my brakes and stopped to allow this to happen. My initial look was probably shock and then disbelief that someone would attempt such a thing especially as busy as the road was. But my stopping was not good enough for the woman who was walking the man. As she walked in front of the car, she glared at me with angry eyes. Then as she was about to pass, she began screaming at me. I could not tell what she was yelling and raised my hands to let her know that I didn't know what she was angry about. This only seemed to make her more angry and she stopped on the sidewalk and continued to yell. I just shook my head, shrugged, and drove on.

A few hours later, I had my second interesting confrontation. My bookkeeper, Summer, informed me that I needed to pick up a case of paper as we were just about out and she needed to print out some internal documents. So, I stopped down at Office Max thinking that it would be easier to get it there than the busier Costco. I grabbed a cart and as I came in the front door, noticed a stack of paper just inside the door with a sale tag on top. The sign said, "As Advertised, $19.99". Now, I normally pay between 25 and 30 for a case so this looked pretty good. I thought of getting two but figured that the loss of space in the office was not worth the few dollars saved so I just put one case in the cart and rolled towards the check out.

I came up to the counter and placed my Office Max Rewards card and my Credit Card out on the counter. The lady who was quite nice said, "That will be $39.99." I could see the sign across the room so I showed it to her and said, "No, it is $19.99.". She could not change it so she called over either a manager or a lead person who told me that their was small print on the sign that explained itself better and went over and retrieved the sign. He placed it on the counter and showed me the small print that said something like 'For the same as' $19.99 or something like that. On the other side of the sign, it stated that you would receive a $20 gift card from the rewards card program. I showed him the sign sitting right next to another 'as advertised' sign and asked them both if that did not look kind of same. I said, "I think this is kind of misleading.".

The man just shrugged and said, "This is how they market it. That is the way it is.".

So, since I had a Office Max rewards card, I figured I could just deal with it until I realized something. "Well, now that I think of it, I have not received my rebates back from last year. Do you know when they send them out?". He looked at me and stated, "They changed that program last year. On January 1, 2010, they began to give the rebates out online.". "Oh", I said, "So, if I get online, I can get my rebates from last year.". "No, actually only for the last 100 days.", he explained calmly.

Now, I was starting to get a little irked. I can be a strong buyer, I know that. And, in my game, I often have to keep that kind of pressure up to get the best price for the product so that I can sell our product for a reasonable price. But, I also have to be cognisant of two big things. First, my witness. I profess my Christianity so I need to live it the best that I can. And second, the other person is also a potential customer and I want to keep as many of them as happy as possible.

I noticed that the cashier was red in the face and embarrassed. So was I. I looked at her and said, "I am not mad at you. I am angry at the situation, however, and this is not something that you did.". Then I turned to the man and said, "Let me get this straight. You changed your program last January, no one told me about it, and now all of my rebates earned over 100 days are gone?". "Yes", he said, "That is their policy. As a matter of fact, many people are not even messing with the cards anymore as they say it is not worth their time.".

I had had enough. I now had to decide what to do. "I am sorry. I don't agree with their policies and what they have done. I also see that add there as extremely misleading and I think I am going to buy my paper at Costco.". "OK", he said and just wheeled the cart away. He seemed to not care either way.

I drove over to Costco, got my $28 case of paper and was checked out quite quickly.

I don't blame the man for calling the corporate line but I guess I am a bit frustrated over the attitude of it all. Maybe I was not the first that had complained or maybe he thought the price was a fair price in the first place. I know he had no choice in regards to the rules but I guess I was looking for something that he might have lacked in, compassion. I am not sure.

Anyway, on a brighter note, I had a busy day and all of the other transactions and conversations were quite good. I enjoyed talking to many friends and customers. Had a great breakfast with guys from the Model A group. Took Judy out to get her passport and fix up her social security card with her new citizenship info. Both the lady at the county and the one at the Social Security office were so nice. We mused and complimented to ourselves that we had found two very nice government employees. The guys at the bank were super friendly and when I stopped down to Papa Johns for a pizza dinner for Jayden and I to watch a movie with, the lady there was extra nice also.

The trick is....to laugh at the bad experiences. You cannot change how a person acts or reacts. You have that small circle around you that you can control. And that circle is how you act and react. None of us our perfect.

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