27 and a PhD

Home » Grad school » Enough is enough with the stupid “restocking” fee – a Guest Post

Enough is enough with the stupid “restocking” fee – a Guest Post

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.

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Normally, all the entries that appear on the blog are written by me. I usually have a few ideas in my brain every week and throughout it I pick the one(s) that I feel are more pressing and write about that. But today, I’m featuring the awesome Mr. 27 and a PhD (also known as honey). A few weeks ago, Mr. Honey’s laptop died. Since then he’s been looking for a new one. He set his sights on one, bought is, but it came defective and had to return it. Hon’s mom noticed his computer was at a local outlet and then he went and purchased it there. Again, the computer started showing up some problems, after which he returned it. The first computer he bought, he sent back and was not slammed with this stupid thing known as restocking fee (yet another way of companies passing the costs out to consumers when products are defective out of the box). Hon mentions the companies by name, and you can read more about the details in the post. Suffice it to say that, like my experience with United, hon is none too pleased with the “service” from the brick-and-mortar store. Here’s the story:

I´d like to tell you a little story. Three weeks ago, I bought a computer through Amazon.com. Unfortunately, when I received the computer, it turned out to be defective. I returned it to Amazon and they refunded my money, no questions asked. One week later, I went to our local Office Max and I bought the same computer for more money, but I figured it was better in case I had any problems with the computer. Boy was I wrong!
 
The computer had problems too. Apparently, it´s a shitty computer. It crashed twice in less than two weeks. The first time, it turned itself off and would not turn on for ~10 minutes. The next time, today, it turned off and began a sort of loop where it would turn off and turn on by itself until, finally, it did a system restart and that seemed to make things better. Of course, I can´t keep a new computer that crashed twice like this in less than two weeks. I took it to your store and, predictably, the computer was working fine so one of your store managers told me that they can offer me the same computer (hell no! twice is enough for that piece of crap) or he can refund my money minus 15% of a restocking fee. Basically, the ¨liars¨ fee.  Because that´s what they treated me like (not to mention, they made me feel like a moron for inquiring as to what is the basis for this restocking fee). Like I told the young man at this store, when you have a baby that´s epileptic, you usually take him to the hospital after the convulsion has passed. Does that mean it didn´t happen? Or that there´s nothing wrong with the baby? No, it just means that you can´t see it. Well, the young man (you would be proud) stuck to his ¨store policy¨ and refused to issue me a full refund. He kept 91 dollars just for his ¨troubles¨.  As I was leaving, I told him, ¨enjoy those 91 dollars, because I´ll never buy anything else from you¨.
 
Of course, I still needed a new computer. Alas, which company do you think I chose for the replacement computer? One hint: It wasn´t your company.
 
Amazon also has a 15% restocking fee policy. But they were smart enough to choose a client over a few bucks. They gave me a full refund and now I´ve rewarded that flexibility by buying another computer from them. And you know what? I go through computers very fast, so I´ll probably need another one in a few years, and guess where I´ll go? Same hint as before.
 
Perhaps you´re not aware, but we´re not in good times right now. Blockbuster, Borders Books, and many other chains have filed for bankruptcy and have had to liquidate all their assets. Do you really think it´s wise to alienate those who still buy from you? Well, I hope you enjoy those 91 dollars. You paid a hell of a price for them.
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