Logic in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 3

by allthoughtswork

Search photos "chocolate splash"


Two weeks ago, during what I can only surmise was a small stroke, I purchased a bottle of Hershey’s Sugar Free Syrup. I guess I figured if I was going to ride out the apocalypse and stay keto, I might as well do it with something fun in my morning coffee.

Whatever was in the bottle crawled out slowly like toothpaste and tasted…well…like toothpaste. It did not tick any of my “fun” boxes. In fact, it highlighted quite a few of my “contagion” ones. I went back to the store a few hours later.

In that space of time, without warning, Fred Meyer had undergone a nationwide Coronapocalypse policy change and I was turned away from the customer service desk with my bottle of squeezable disappointment by a surly young female clearly upset by her failure to impress the casting director at the Swamp People auditions.

What she told me made my head hurt. What Fred Meyer confirmed later on the phone is relayed below, minus all the swear words that ran through my brain.

ME: “So, what’s your return policy these days?”

THEM: “We’re not returning any items right now.”

ME: “Not even, say, a steak that’s green in the middle?”

THEM: “You can return perishable items like meat, seafood, and produce.”

ME: “You just said you’re not returning any items.”

THEM: “No, we’re not returning items that we would restock on a shelf.”

ME: “M’kay. What about something with the safety seal removed for consumption?”

THEM: “That’s a non-perishable item, we cannot accept that.”

ME: (looking at my bottle of death syrup) “It says right here ‘Refrigerate after opening.’ That’s not perishable? Are you saying you’d restock that?”

THEM: “No, we don’t restock items with the safety seal broken.”

ME: “What about the steak?”

THEM: “We’d throw that away.”

ME: “So, both items would go straight into the trash but you’re only offering a refund on one of them?”

THEM: “We don’t know if the non-perishable item would go back on the shelf or not.”

ME: “Why not? You can tell just by looking at it that the seal is broken.”

THEM: “The department that makes those decisions is remotely located.”

ME: “What?”

THEM: “Our quality control department is located in another state.”

ME: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

THEM: “We can’t make that decision here.”

ME: “Yeah, I understand what you’re saying but what you’re saying doesn’t make any sense.”

THEM: “Look, we just can’t allow anything into our store right now that was purchased since the outbreak began.”

ME: “What if the steak was purchased yesterday?”

THEM: “That we would accept.”

ME: “–“

THEM: “It’s our policy.”

ME: “Wait, you’ve received tons of merchandise into your store from your suppliers since the outbreak began, right? Why is the onus to prevent product contamination on your customers but not yourself?”

THEM: “I don’t know what to tell you.”

ME: “Anyway, where’s the logic if I have to walk all the way through the store to customer service with my potentially contaminated steak to get a refund?”

THEM: “You don’t need to bring your item back, you just need a receipt to return perishable items.”

ME: “You mean somebody could buy ten pounds of sirloin steak, eat it all, then bring back the receipt for a full refund, sight unseen?”

THEM: “–“

ME: “This is bizarre, when did this happen?”

THEM: “There are signs posted at the entrance to the store.”

ME: “They weren’t there this morning.”

THEM: “Yes, they were.”

ME: “No, they weren’t.”

THEM: “Yes, they were.”

ME: “No, they weren’t. My receipt says 10:33 A.M. and there weren’t any signs posted at that time.”

THEM: [has brief confab with her associate] “The signs were posted this afternoon.”

ME: “–“

THEM: “Is there anything else I can help you w–?”

ME: “Are they in Spanish?”

THEM: “What?”

ME: “Are these signs telling people all sales are final also posted in Spanish?”

THEM: “I don’t know, I don’t speak Spanish.”

ME: “But a lot of your customers do, especially in this area. If they’re bringing potentially contaminated merchandise back into the store and walking all the way up to the customer service desk with it like I did only to learn that it isn’t refundable, doesn’t that negate the storewide quarantine you’re imposing? If Fred Meyer’s merchandise, once purchased, is so toxic, why isn’t someone stationed at the store entrance preventing people bringing it back inside? Why are all the signs about this only in English? Why isn’t there a notice on the Fred Meyer website with this breaking policy news? What are people supposed to do if they plunk down hundreds of dollars for, say, an emergency smartphone replacement from your electronics department, bring it home, and learn it doesn’t work? Are they aware that Fred Meyer is perfectly willing to sell them broken and/or contaminated merchandise with zero quality control and zero responsibility?”

THEM: [long pause] “Let me have you speak to my manager…”

ME: [sits on hold for 8 minutes, hangs up]


Maybe it's just me...: DADT Drama: 9th Circuit has issued a temporary stay of the DADT Injunction


Moral: Stay carnivore, avoid a stroke.


Logic in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 1

Logic in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 2

Logic in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 4

Logic in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 5

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