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This is why I’ll never shop at OfficeMax again—even if everything is free

I’ve typically remarked to anybody who would hear that robots have gotten extra like people, and people have gotten extra like robots.

In terms of the latter, nowhere is that extra true than in my current dealings with cashiers, managers, and so-called “customer support” brokers on the merged office-supply powerhouse of Workplace Depot and OfficeMax.

“I do apologize” or phrases to that impact was the robotic mantra I acquired actually dozens of occasions when talking to firm staff on the cellphone, and in individual, about OfficeMax’s completely asinine company return coverage, and the corporate’s incapacity to truly perform that asinine company return coverage.

I’m penning this as my first step towards recovering from an ordeal that began with the straightforward activity of buying a router—a standard chore that the majority of us have executed, or will do, sooner or later. And I confess, nevertheless, that I lacked the willpower to chorus from being a jerk to most each OfficeMax worker I handled. I plead responsible. I actually couldn’t assist myself. I had my causes. However I do apologize.

Mesh Wi-Fi

I’m operating an outdated Airport Excessive router from Apple, and I did not wish to be overlooked of the brand new client mesh Wi-Fi frenzy that everyone, including Ars, is speaking about. I suspected my Airport Excessive was failing, because the sign at my California East Bay residence was intermittently turning my regular connection of 500 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up right into a crawl.

After studying a number of opinions, including one here at Ars, I selected the Velop Entire-Dwelling Mesh Wi-Fi product from Linksys. The only unit was marketed in all places for $199.99. However OfficeMax had it for $179.99.

The primary signal that I ought to have averted OfficeMax was the web checkout web page. The $179.99 marketed worth, when clicking to purchase, was $199.99.  As I used to be scratching my head about how bogus this was, up popped the location’s chatbot. Both a robotic or a human robotic gave me their identify and typed, “It will likely be my pleasure to help you at this time.”

The chatbot replied that OfficeMax would honor the $179.99 worth. All I needed to do was buy the product on-line, provide the chatbot with the order quantity, and the $179.99 worth could be honored. I used to be skeptical however clicked buy anyway as a result of I used to be enthusiastic about getting a brand new router—and I may instantly go choose it up on the retail retailer a couple of mile from my home.

The $20 distinction by no means confirmed on my bill, even after I picked up my new router. So earlier than I unboxed the product, I known as the “customer support” cellphone line. I manipulated by way of the corporate’s automated answering service that I believe OfficeMax executives have by no means skilled or are too embarrassed to confess to having ever used. I lastly received a human on the road and loudly defined my state of affairs repeatedly.

“I do apologize” was the agent’s response.

The corporate honored the $20 low cost. I mentioned just a few extra issues I shouldn’t have mentioned.

“I do apologize,” was the agent’s response.

This was solely the start of my OfficeMax nightmare.

Take me to your chief

I started to arrange my router, and I downloaded the Linksys iPhone app from the Apple App retailer. I lastly received it up and operating after a number of makes an attempt utilizing the app. Regardless of this setup failure, the app was fairly beast. It gave me all types of choices, together with one to chop Web to any related gadget I wished. I had nice enjoyable secretly chopping off the Xbox connection whereas my two sons had been enjoying—a number of occasions. “DAD!”

However such shenanigans weren’t definitely worth the $179 worth. This router was working no higher, and, in actual fact, was functioning worse than my Apple router. And each time I unplugged it to check it towards the Apple router, I needed to undergo the identical preliminary setup course of after powering it again on.

So realizing that OfficeMax had a 14-day return policy, two days later, I packed up the product and drove it again to the OfficeMax the place I bought it.

I waited in line, gave the cashier my receipt, and set the Velop on the counter. After a couple of minutes of attempting to present me a refund, the cashier known as over a supervisor. As a result of I purchased the router on-line, they mentioned, I could not return the product to the shop the place I picked it up. The supervisor advised me I wanted to name their “customer support” quantity to rearrange a courier to come back choose it up from my residence.

I haggled for a couple of minutes, to no avail. I left with all people within the retailer’s cavernous warehouse listening to about how dumb I believed they had been.

I drove the mile’s distance residence and made the decision. After ping-ponging my approach by way of the automated company phone strains once more, “I do apologize” was the response I received from the customer support agent after I defined my displeasure with the return coverage.

That was on Friday, October 20. The consultant mentioned a courier could be over someday between 8am and 5pm on Monday. After I mentioned I wasn’t going to attend at residence all day, she mentioned the courier would name to present a more in-depth time window.

“I do apologize.”

Monday got here and went with neither a pickup nor a name from OfficeMax. So the following morning, I suffered by way of the company’s automated cellphone line once more and advised my story—once more.

“I do apologize.”

A courier, I used to be advised, would choose it up between 2pm and 4pm at this time (Tuesday). My response was unfit to print.

“I do apologize.”

No person confirmed.

After struggling by way of the company automated cellphone line one other time, I defined my story—but once more. Someone, they mentioned, would come Wednesday between 8am and 5pm to select up the router.

“I do apologize.”

I mentioned I won’t be there. I used to be advised that I ought to simply brown-box it up and take the product to a UPS retailer. I responded that I already took it to the OfficeMax retailer the place I purchased it and was rejected. So I mentioned I wasn’t going to drive it to a UPS retailer. Come get it was the G-rated clarification of what I mentioned.

“I do apologize.”

Later that day, Wednesday, I acquired a name from OfficeMax saying the bundle could be picked up not at this time however someday between 8am and 5pm Thursday. The G-rated model of my response was the identical. They mentioned they’d name earlier than coming to ensure I’d be at residence.

“I do apologize.”

Thursday morning, a courier knocked on the door and picked up the router. I signed for it. I requested for a receipt, however the expertise apparently did not exist to present me one.

About an hour later, I received a name from OfficeMax informing me courier could be coming later that afternoon between 2pm and 4pm to select up the router.

Click on.

I’m a dumb Luddite

Because it seems, this whole ordeal may have been averted within the first place. I used to be so excited to leap into the mesh-networking sport that I dedicated a grave IT error. What I did not do was run a pace take a look at immediately related to my Web supplier’s modem. Had I executed so, I’d have realized instantly that it wasn’t my Apple router malfunctioning. As an alternative, it was both Wave Broadband’s provided modem or one thing else.

As I used to be ready for OfficeMax to select up their router, I known as Wave Broadband. The cable man got here out and provided me with a brand new modem. My speeds returned to improbable, and every little thing was good. However like earlier than, unexpectedly my community returned to a snail’s tempo. Clearly, there was a bigger concern.

A special cable man returned a few days later, ran every kind of exams, and concluded there wanted to be some work executed on the phone pole outdoors my residence. The following day, the service was carried out.

My Apple router is now buzzing once more at monster, Star Trek-like speeds.

All of that mentioned, my enterprise dealings with OfficeMax continued for one more week after the courier picked up my return router. That is how lengthy it took for my refund to point out up on my PayPal account.

I am by no means procuring once more at OfficeMax, even when every little thing is free.

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