Friday, January 18, 2008

Day Before Children's

(Editor's Note: This started out as a post about the appointments, but I started writing about the day before. Now it's late, and I am just getting to the "appointment" part of the story. I'll post about that tomorrow).

I promised I would talk about our appointment results earlier this week...but I didn't have time to get to it until tonight. Evan was seen by Audiology, Urology, Craniofacial, Dietician, ENT, and Nephrology. It was quite a day. As is typical for most of our trips to Children's, we spend a lot of time waiting around and didn't really change anything we are doing. At least we got some good shopping in the day before...

I really should start the story with our drive up on Sunday morning. It was beautifully sunny and the roads over the mountain pass were bare and dry. This was a nice change from the snowy/cloudy weather we've had the past couple of weeks. We stopped at the Cle Elum office to pick up a table to return to IKEA (it ended up being too large for where I wanted to put it) and a couple of other small items. I thought the receipt was on my desk in Cle Elum, but as we were loading up I couldn't find it anywhere. Since we were 30 miles from home already, we decided to just take our chances returning without a receipt (I just wanted store much of a problem could it really be???).

We arrived at IKEA, and of course the closest parking spot on a Sunday afternoon was the third parking garage out. Jeremy loaded the unwieldy box into a cart, put Evan in his stroller, and hike back to the store. As soon as we got to the returns department, I see the giant sign: "Returns or exchanges can only be processed within 90 days with the original receipt." Of course. We take a number and wait about 10 minutes. The young woman who calls my number is hearing impaired, and has bilateral behind the ear hearing aides (just like Evan!). Her speech is very difficult for me to understand (and there is lots of background noise in the store, so I'm sure I'm hard for her to understand as well). Of course I try to be very patient, because in my mind I'm seeing Evan in 20 years, doing this same job (Evan working at cool would that be?!).

I explain to her right away that I don't have my receipt, BUT I only want a store credit. Plus I used my credit card and I remember the exact date I made my purchase. She scans the items and says I can get back about $60 of my $80 (at least that's what I figured out she said the time I thought she was saying something else), BUT she has to have the manager look up my receipt. They NEVER do this, but because it was a credit card AND I knew the purchase date AND an approximate total amount the search wouldn't be too long. She went to find the manager, who it turns out just left on break. She asks if we can wait 10-15 minutes for the manager to come back. Not wanting to haul the stupid piece of flat-packed, glorified MDF back to our truck, we agree. During this whole time, the return line has become longer...a lot longer. The manager comes back from break (after about 20 minutes) and our cashier approaches her. I see the manager make a face, shake her head very obviously "no," and call the next number as she opens another register. The cashier tells us the manager "was with another customer" (as if we didn't just see the order everything really did unfold...), and asks if we can come back "later." She suggests having lunch at the cafe...of all the places to eat around South-Center, the IKEA cafe is not on my top 10. I ask if 30 minutes is long enough and she says "sure" (are you as convinced as I am??).

By this time I am a little bit irritated (OK...more than a little. Images of whacking certain individuals with the previously mentioned boxed piece of furniture are dancing through my head). Since there isn't anything else we can do with the box, we head back out to the third parking garage. We reload the truck. I decide to call my credit card company to verify the date and the exact amount to make the receipt search that much easier when we come back. Earlier in the day, Jeremy had agreed to eat lunch at Zoopa, aka "the salad restaurant." If you aren't familiar, it's a cafeteria-style place with a giant salad bar, soups, breads, pasta. I like eating there. Jeremy not so much, but he had agreed to go earlier (and I guess knew better than to try and back out at this point).

Zoopa is very family-friendly. There are cute little sectioned trays for the kids, and they have wheeled high-chairs with their own little rack for the tray right by the door. You plunk your kid down and can push them along as you load your tray. The kids are at the perfect level to reach the rack the trays are resting on as salad is piled high...I cannot believe this was never seen as a problem BE (before Evan). Maybe most kids are distracted by the tray of salad hooked on to the high-chair in front of them. We removed the rack because we immediately saw Evan would have sent that tray flying--we're not idiots...we think about these things. Jeremy and I each have a tray. Jeremy is behind me, pushing Evan in the high chair. I had just finished going through the first salad bar and was moving on to the "prepared salads." Jeremy is putting the dressing on his salad, and I hear this "Evan, No! CLATTER-CLATTER-CRASH!" Let's just say Evan gave new meaning to the phrase "Ranch, on the side." One side of his face had ranch dressing, and the other didn't. Enough lettuce fell into the high-chair behind his back to make a small dinner salad. The floor was covered. Jeremy did not escape unscathed. Other customers are gingerly stepping around the scene of the accident to finish their salads. We were both mortified. Evan was pretty unfazed. The waitress was very nice about the whole thing. She got a new high chair for Evan, brought Jeremy a wet towel, and cleaned up the mess as she explained she had a 4-year-old at home. I waited for Jeremy to go through the line again, and then we paid for two adults. I'm sure the cashier thought we were trying to pull a fast one by not paying for a child's meal too (I guess after the whole tray incident we should have). The rest of lunch was pretty uneventful.

We headed back to IKEA (instead of driving around looking for a parking spot, we just went straight to the third garage), loaded the piece of "furniture" into a cart and went back to the returns department. All during lunch, we kept hoping the managers worked half days and the previous one had been replaced. I pick a number. The hearing-impaired cashier is still working. I'm not sure if I want her to help me again. A different cashier calls our number. As I'm wheeling up, I'm waving my credit card and blurting out that I don't have my receipt but I know that I spent exactly X amount of dollars on November 28th 2007 I'm sorry I don't know the time of day but they said the manager could look up my receipt if I came back later today and now it's later... He looked at me, scanned my items and asked if I was going to be spending $80 dollars that day so he could give me a store credit. I asked well don't you need to look up my receipt. He said if I wanted to, he could do it that way. I must have looked a bit bewildered, and then he realized what had happened. He apologized for the "inconvenience" (really?) I had experienced with my return and gave all three of us free meal vouchers at the IKEA cafe. I was just happy to see someone else have to wheel that box away. Then we actually went into the store to shop, and bought GUESS WHAT...a book shelf that came in three more of those big, unwieldy boxes (for our very good friend Julie). I think Jeremy and I have had our fill of IKEA furniture for awhile.


Eva Nichole said...

WOW!! Not only that you had to go through that but that I read all that and now I am tired....LOL!
I am not sure but the 1st girl may have been somewhat new and was not sure of everything and the manager well he/she sounds like they need a lesson in manners.
When I worked at the photo studio before I had Eva we had a girl working there who was deaf in one ear and she asked us always to talk in the other ear. Well the manager never thought much about it and would always talk to her on the wrong side and she would never hear her and the manager called her stupid. I was very mad and upset with that statement.
Its sad but so many people just see the disablity and not the person and sometimes when its at a work place it affects the customers too.
But all in all I am glad you were able to return it and get something new (even if its not for you).
Crystal and Eva

Linden said...

Sarah, I'm glad the story had a happy ending...although I'm sorry you had to go through so much stress to get that outcome. (smile)
Cameron and Nathan's mom

ellen charge said...

its great to have disabled people workignm there but then everyone should have an understnading of that persons disability