Saturday, February 16, 2008

Funny Story and Honouring Prices

For those who have known me for a while in person you know that I like to treat people well but that I'm also not afraid to stand up for what I believe is right. I'll try to be kind about it but I will follow through with things.

Going back a number of years, I'll share a story with you of what I mean. (Not one of my shining moments in life but one that has given Sharon and I many chuckles over the years!)

Situation: Her home was on the market and an identical house up the street was also for sale...or so we thought and that's where the fun(?) begins.

It was a Sunday afternoon and the house up the street had open-house signs in the neighbourhood, at the corner of our street as well as one in front of their home. They even a 10' mini version of the company's hot-air balloon blown up on the front yard. The real estate signs read 'Open House BBQ.'

I'm not sure if you're like me but given the opportunity to view a home the same as mine and see how they've decorated it is always inviting. We hopped in the car (as we were going elsewhere after) and then stopped at the open house. We let ourselves into the home, checked out the downstairs bathroom, the laundry room and were in the family room when a gentleman approached us and asked us if he could help us. We said, 'No thank you. We're just looking right now.' He then asked us what I felt to be a kinda silly question given all the balloons and signs that were up in our neighbourhood. He said, 'Did you think this was an open house?' By this time Sharon's already half way to the front door but not me...I'm looking at him with a 'ya...what else would it be?' kinda look and said 'yes.' (Sadly, probably with some attitude. Like I say, not one of my 'shining moments.')

He explained that this was his home, he was a real estate agent and that this was an appreciation BBQ for some of his clients, not an open house. Oops!

Now, any sane person would have apologized and left quickly. This was Sharon's plan and a very good one I might add. By this time she had the front door open and her eyes were pleading with me not to say anything and just leave.

Did I do that?? Would you believe I looked him full in the face and said, 'But the signs say it's an open house!' (kindly....but really Cath....just leave already!) He explained again about it being an appreciation thing so we left (I think by this time Sharon was already slumped in the passenger seat of the car and she was silently pleading/begging me to get my butt in the car so that we could leave already!!!)

We did leave (of course with me still 'sharing' my thoughts with her about his improper signange) and we made our way home. Their home (where I was boarding at the time) was only about 8 houses up from the one with the 'open house' so if I remember correctly we took the l-o-n-g way home and I either parked the car around the corner or in the garage so that we didn't give ourselves away as being neighbours.)

Heh...there you have it! The 'But the sign says it's an open house' story. Sadly, it's a true story. LOL!

As you can well imagine, we've had many opportunities to share this story over the years since it happened. What's also come out of it is that I'll say to Sharon, 'I had to use my "What do you mean it's not an open house?" voice when maybe I've had to 'encourage' someone to understand where I'm coming from.

Fast forward to this morning when that little 'What do you mean it's not an open house?' voice arose once again.

Today's situation. After cleaning the house sitting watching some recorded TV shows from this past week, I made my way upstairs with the intent to actually begin cleaning. Ya...I started checking emails and blogs instead so still have much cleaning ahead of me...but I digress.

One of the new emails was the new 'Babies R Us' flyer that I decided to check out. As I opened that email what jumped out at me was an item (Prince Lionheart Two Stage Car Seat Protection) that Mary-Mia and Rod had highly recommended was advertised at 50% off! Wahoo! It wasn't an expensive item but I'm all about saving pennies where I can and $12.50 is $ tax! :o)

While making plans to head to Toys 'R Us this afternoon (yes, once again to avoid cleaning) and pick up the bargoon, something jumped out at me that I hadn't noticed at first. The sale dates were identified as Nov 10 - Nov 16. What? It's February and the flyer just arrived in my in box this moring! That's weird!!!

My first course of action was to call the 1-800 number listed on the flyer, explain the situation and see if they would honour the price. The girl I spoke with was very nice, agreed that it had their error and then after speaking with a supervisor agreed that they would honour the price but that I would be required to pay an additional $5.99 in shipping costs. Well, that would eat much of the amount I was saving so I decided, with her encouragement, to call my local store and see if they would honour the price.

I called my local store but they said that since the error was made by the online flyer they were not responsible to honour the flyer. Disappointed but yes, I couldn't really argue with their thoughts. The girl at the store recommended I call the 1-800 number back and ask them to absorb the shipping costs since it was their error.

Back to the phone I went and called again but this time had to use my 'What do you mean it's not an open house' voice with the supervisor and after about 15 mins. of negotiating he agreed to the advertised price and not charge me any shipping. Yeah!

I never raised my voice. I never said anything rude but I firmly and yes, repeatedly, reiterated that in reality I was doing them a favour by letting them know of the error they had made in their flyer mailing today. I wonder how many people will go to stores across Canada anticipating an item be on sale only to be disappointed and return home to see the error of the mailing? (A second mailing was received about 2 hours later - after my discussions with them - attaching the correct flyer but not mentioning that the first one sent was incorrect.)

It may be a little thing but I support company's that stand behind their products and their advertising.

Now, I'm off to Wal*Mart with my correct Feb 16th Toys 'R Us flyer in hand to pick up something for Hannah that I've had my eye on for over a year. The Leap Frog Mix and Match Fridge Farm Phonics. It's 50% off today too and since Wal*Mart price matches and is 3 mins away rather than 20, I'm going there.

I posted this adorable video of my nephew enjoying the Fridge Farm a little over a year ago. For those of you who missed it, this is what sold me on it being a 'must have' item for Hannah.


  1. That is so flippin' hilarious. I can't imagine being that guy and meeting two complete strangers in my livingroom.

    You'll have to teach me how to use the "What do mean it's not an open house" voice cause it seems to work. :)


  2. Too funny! Had I heard this story before? Maybe my sister was too embarassed to share!!!! I can see her sneaking out and hiding in the car - too funny!!!
    There are many days where I could use your "What do you mean it's not an open house" voice....but then again...I'd prefer to have YOU as I can't imagine myself ever using it!!!
    Spent my day very similar to you.
    Enjoy your evening - and NO OPEN HOUSES!!!

  3. Catherine,

    Great post! Thank you for those stories.


    PS. I find it funny how this commuter seems to call me when I should be doing something else!

  4. You are so funny.!

    Maddy loves her fridge phonics. She has the farm and the ABC's one so far.

  5. What a great story and love that you were able to get them to honor their mistake!

  6. Always be careful how you word your signage. It could lead to trouble.

    Glad you got everything sorted out with the products. The magnets look like they'll be a lot of fun.

  7. That would totally be something I would do... except I would retreat very quickly like your friend did... with my face completely red.
    And, standing up for yourself without yelling is a skill. It seems like the yelling people get answers more quickly, but that is completely not my style. And people do listen to polite insistence!

  8. What a hilarious story! And the video is so cute!

  9. That is a funny story! I totally understand how you mistook his "Open House" for an Open House. I'll bet you weren't the only ones who made that mistake that day.


  10. I just had to post.
    That is the funniest story .....

    Those magnets are great by the way. They are one of my daughter's favorite toys ...:)

  11. Good for you! Polite but forceful is the key to go.

    That Fridge Farm is awesome! Loads of fun! Let me know if Walmart honours the price difference/sale.

    Keep smilin!

  12. Good for you! Polite but forceful is the key to go.

    That Fridge Farm is awesome! Loads of fun! Let me know if Walmart honours the price difference/sale.

    Keep smilin!

  13. Oh, that is too funny!!!!! I have a funny story of my own I will have to blog about soon :-)

  14. "It's a cow-horse!"
    The papaya loved that toy.
    You are one tough negotiator!

    BTW, you've been tagged! Drop by my blog for your "instructions"!

  15. Oh Catherine, Hannah will just love the farm fridge match game. Olivia has been playing with hers ever since we came home last year. She still plays with it to this day.


  16. I think a lot of us out there need a voice like you! Keep going girl. Like your style!

  17. LOL ok now I'm scared of you!! HA HA

    Oh by the way!! Kudos on the Leapfrog products! Emily loves them and I was actually going to blog that she is learning the ABC song with the ABC Fridge may want to get that too!!!!

  18. I love it...that story is priceless.

    No one is gonna take my girl down.

    I've had that fridge farm on my fridge for 2 years now. I was hoping the pig noises would keep me out of the fridge, so luck :0)


  19. Funny OPEN house story!! I cannot even imagine you as ever being a little rude or mean.... Great assertiveness of the TRU thing.

    Glad you got the fridge magnet. I experienced it at Eliza's house and ran right our a bought it!!! It was too cute to pass up!



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