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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 25-Sep-16


Sunday 25-September-16

A shoe negotiation, and how to turn happy customers into irritated ones

Recently, my wife decided to return a pair of Merrill trainers to the store after the upper started coming away from the sole. The shoes were just over a year old, but they had a two year guarantee, so we headed for the Cardiff Cotswolds store.

We got in, presented shoes and receipt and were told to choose a replacement pair. After trying on a number of shoes, my wife found a pair that felt right. We took them to the counter, which is where things got interesting.

The assistant looked a bit sheepish and called the manager, who explained that due to the wear on the shoe, he could only offer 50% of the original price towards a new pair of shoes. How fascinating, i thought. Time for some negotiation.

I pointed out that our expectations had already been set, and that anything less than a replacement would be disappointing. He reiterated his point, saying the wear was excessive. I asked if the shoes were designed to last one year, and noted that the problem was not about sole wear but upper detatchment. I then paused, letting silence increase the tension the manager was clearly feeling.

Then he cracked, saying that as we had been promised a replacement, we would not have to pay extra. I thanked him for this good customer service.

Then something extraordinary happened. He told us that because we had gained this advantage, it would go on our record and be taken into account in the future. Amazing! In one swoop we went from delighted customers to insulted, appalled and never going there again. I was so shocked, I lost track and just muttered about not taking advantage.

He then scanned the replacement and was surprised to find it cost only 60℅ of the original shoes. Now it was his turn to be embarrassed as he asked if we wanted more expensive shoes. No, my wife said, these were fine.

And we left. Not delighted, as we should have been, but puzzled and more than a little irritated.

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