Cathy Beer struggles over a refund and finds herself caught up in a car park altercation…

[New City Magazine – July 2023, page 6-7]

The cordless vacuum cleaner from Lidl was a great buy, a very good make and light. However, just a year later it became faulty. We were not in a rush to take it back as on the box it had said it was guaranteed for three years.

When I did take it back I was told it was guaranteed for only one year. The manager explained that it was only the vacuum cleaner company who guaranteed it for three years, not Lidl. I was about to argue, get annoyed and quote trading standards but then stopped to take in what he was saying – that after Lidl’s guarantee expires, items aren’t recognised at the till, much as they would want to help. He told me I could ring customer services on the number stuck on the outside of the entrance door, and that if I was fortunate enough for them to answer they might ask me to post it back. However, as we no longer had the box it was very unlikely we would get a replacement or refund. I thought to myself that this money is the capital of God, not mine and so I had to have faith that all these obstacles would not get in the way.

The shouting match

Standing outside the door in front of the phone number with my trolley and the vacuum cleaner balanced on top, I finally got through but couldn’t hear what the customer services lady was saying because a loud shouting match had broken out between a man and woman on the other side of the carpark. They weren’t near me, but the row was so loud that I couldn’t hear anything on the phone. So I shouted myself, to ask them to stop shouting as I was on the phone! The woman started shouting and swearing at me, saying if I wanted to make a phone call I should go somewhere else. I was so shocked at the swearing and with the woman on the other end of the phone being put on hold by this scene. I was afraid she would put the phone down, so I couldn’t start explaining to the carpark woman that I was ‘somewhere else’, not near them at all and that there was nowhere else to go!

Fortunately the customer services lady had not hung up and apologizing for the interruption I continued with the call, though I was trembling. She was very sympathetic as she had heard it all. She too was so shocked at the language being used that she didn’t even ask me what the fault in the vacuum cleaner was. She told me to take it back home, that a letter would arrive in the post and that we might receive a refund but that she couldn’t promise anything.

No one should pass us by in vain

I was about to wheel the trolley over to my car but then I stopped. I remembered a meditation I had read by Chiara Lubich in which she wrote: ‘no one should pass us by in vain’ – I thought ‘if I am living for a more united world by building relationships how could I leave this one in tatters?’ So I carefully wheeled my trolley back into Lidl and looked up and down all the isles until I found the ‘shouting lady’. She was still aggressive towards me telling me a man had bashed into her car with his trolley. I said ‘Oh how awful for you. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. Was your car badly damaged?’ She replied abruptly that no it wasn’t, told me off again and walked off. However, I hoped the fact that I had not argued with her or tried to justify myself, left her in a more positive frame of mind…

Two days later we received a lovely letter from Lidl stating we would get a full refund and hoped that our ‘faith in Lidl was restored’. Faith is a wonderful thing!

Image: Rawpixel

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