Customer Service Saturday

November 21, 2009

Journal, Lauren, Lloyd

I had some stuff I wanted to get done in Lincoln, and though Lloyd wanted to wait until Sunday, I made him shower at 2 o’clock and go with me. Good thing I did, too, since I needed his Stern Face dealing with the CoinStar fiasco.

CoinStar machines have a great deal going on now – if you exchange $40 in change for a gift certificate (to Lowe’s, iTunes, Amazon, or some others) there is no processing fee and you get an additional $10 on your gift certificate! Free money – that’s a no-brainer.

I went to the CoinStar website to find a machine in Lincoln that processes gift certificates. (Some locations only give vouchers.) There was one at a grocery store across from the tree hugger store, so there we went. We selected an Amazon gift certificate, since it can be used for many things.

Then: dump, dump, dump, count, count, count.

It's from the Crock of Change.

We could hear a modem inside the machine and laughed at its ancient sound. We weren’t laughing when this happened, though.

What the what??

Who in their right mind would use a machine that kept nearly a tenth of their money?

No warning, no ‘do over’ button – just BAM! They kept my money after charging 8.9%!! Holy Mechanical Robbery, Batman! I came here for $125 dollars, not $95!! We went to customer service, where the Young Manager Girl told us, “Yeah, that one doesn’t give out gift certificates.”

Enter Stern Lloyd, who was remarkably calm, yet scary: “That’s not what the screen on the machine says.”

YMG, “Well, that’s all we can do. You can call CoinStar customer service.”

SL, in his deadly calm voice, “Would you call them for me?” (I think his eyes might have turned all-black then.)

YMG pales and goes to the phone.

Meanwhile I am dying and listening to my LOUD heart trying to pummel its way out of my chest. (I hate conflict.)

Long, 40-minute story short, they called CoinStar and got it fixed. The store gave us our $95, and we’ll have $19 on credit at Amazon. I thanked the girl for her help, and she seemed to fear and hate Lloyd a little less.

Couple of pointers: 1. If you are going to cash in change at a machine that works, you’ll only get the extra $10 for any amount over $40 you put in. If you have $80, run it through in two batches so each batch will get the bonus. 2. Don’t go to SunMart on South Street in Lincoln.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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9 Responses to “Customer Service Saturday”

  1. Peggy Said on:

    Way to stand up for what’s right SL! Maybe you could start an advice column to help us stern-challenged individuals. I’ll get you started:

    Dear SL,

    The other day a friend & I were having coffee & donuts at a not crowded Dunkin’ Donuts. We were seated at a table with 4 chairs & had only been there about 10 minutes when all of a sudden the chair right next to me at our table was pulled out making makind a spine chilling squeal. I turned to see the owner sweeping under our table & then he said, ‘Would you mind moving?’ I said, ‘You’re kidding right?’ He just stared at us & stood there with his broom waiting. We left in shock & I’ll never ever go back there. But we should have done something besides just leaving…what would SL have done?

    Bullied in Balto.


    • Lloyd Said on:

      In a case like that where they just aren’t thinking, I usually just give them the “seriously?” look. I have to give that look a fair amount at school (sometimes to students), so I have it down.

      It’s vitally important here (as with all SL tactics) that you are not, then, the first person to say anything. They will eventually break the uncomfortable silence and bend to your will.


  2. Keren Lowell Said on:

    Any day you can ask the question that makes the ones who are taking your money away from you (and then act like it’s something you did wrong) do the right thing is a good day. I will hand-knit you a super-hero costume, Stern Lloyd. Send measurements.


  3. Brad Said on:

    Don’t the banks in Seward count change for free?


  4. Kristi Said on:

    Way to go, Stern-Face Lloyd.

    And Happy Birthday to my Joanna! She’s 7 years old today!


  5. Deborah Said on:

    The machine also had a grammatical error. Stupid machine.


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