“I’d like to return this, please.” The woman placed a plastic bag on the Customer Services counter.
Jacqui behind the counter barely glanced at the bag. “What is it?” she said.
“It was my husband’s. Well, he bought it from here just a week ago. So it’s still within warranty, or whatever you call it. The receipt’s in the bag as well.”
Jacqui nodded. She picked up the plastic bag and peered inside. She shook her head.
“No, I’m sorry, love. Can’t accept it. Because it’s been used, you see.”
“Well, of course it has been used. Why would he buy it if he wasn’t going to use it?”
“No, love. There are certain things we can’t accept as returns if they’ve been opened. Toothbrushes, underwear, you know.”
“But he only used it once!”
“Doesn’t matter. You can see the thread at the end. It’ll have his DNA all over it.”
“Well, of course. That’s where he screwed it into his knuckle. Look, I’ll be honest. I need the money back.”
Tears sprang from the woman’s eyes. Jacqui’s eyes darted in alarm.
“Okay, love, calm down. Would you like to speak to my supervisor?”
She waved a manicured hand to beckon Tracy from the nearby hearing-enhancer section.
“Good day, modom,” Tracy oozed. “How may I assist you this day?”
The woman handed the supervisor the plastic bag. “It was my husband’s. I don’t want it in the house any more. I want a refund.”
Tracy the supervisor peered into the bag. “As I’m sure my colleague has explained, we can’t accept items of this nature as returns.”
The woman let out an alarming wail. Customers trying on the hearing-enhancers winced.
“Is the unit faulty?” Tracy struggled to maintain a smile. “Would a replacement –?”
“No! A replacement’s no good to me. I need a refund. I need the money!”
Well, at least the woman wasn’t wailing any more.
“An alternative, then?” Tracy offered. “Something for yourself. One of our hair-alterers, perhaps? Or eye-changers? You could have a different colour for every outfit.”
“No!” the woman snapped. “Just the refund. Oh, I told him not to buy the bloody thing, but he never listened to me. Look, he said when he’d got it, when he’d attached it, I won’t need another power tool ever again. You’re always complaining about me cluttering the place with my drills and saws and sanders and what-not. Well, this superfinger will do the job of all of those. I can hammer in nails, screw in screws, drill holes, you name it. Oh, he went on and on about it.”
“It sounds as though he was happy with it.”
“Oh, he was.”
“So why is he returning it?”
“He’s not returning it, I am,” said the woman with a sniff. “He’s dead.”
Jacqui and Tracy adopted suitable expressions according to their corporate training.
“I see,” said Tracy. “Well, then of course. Jacqui, put through this lady’s refund at once.”
She turned on her heels and strode away.
Jacqui’s manicured fingernails danced on the register, tapping in codes and overrides.
“Can I ask, love? What happened? To your husband? If you don’t mind.”
The woman rolled her eyes. “The daft twat was so chuffed to have his superfinger fitted. He wasn’t thinking straight, you see. Time and time again I’ve told him not to pick his nose.”