Max buys a new DVD player



or, making a purchase in the Czech Republic

First of all, you have to understand how I make electronics purchases. It’s very simple – I get someone else to do all the work. I suppose I could do the research myself, but I actually have no interest. And I know people who actually like that sort of thing.

Monkey chose my digital camera and my brother picked out my iPod. kd went with me to find my first DVD player, but I had to return it because, contrary to what had been displayed, it did not play American DVDs. So Tvaroh offered to choose my DVD player. He’s Czech, he’s cheap and he’s an IT dude – brilliant.

So back in February I ordered the DVD player chosen by Tvaroh from an internet shop. I asked that it be delivered by post because, even though I would not be home, the post office is literally 20 metres from my front door, which makes it most convenient for picking things up the next morning.

I got the notice in my post box, I picked the DVD player up, and then I left it sitting in the box for 10 days. When I finally took it out, the DVD player played both European and American DVDs, but the place where you attach the scart was loose and it was therefore unusable. I called Tvaroh and he came over for the DVD player so that he could return it in person, explain the problem and make sure they would handle it properly.

Things work differently here in the Czech Republic. You don’t just take something back to the shop and get a new one. Instead, they have to send it to their claims department for inspection or back to the manufacturer – I don’t even know, but it always takes at least a month.

They had chosen to repair my DVD player and it was ready for delivery in the middle of April. This time they sent it by courier, but of course I wasn’t home because I was at work. They called Tvaroh, and he asked me for my office address so they could deliver it to me there. I didn’t want it at my office, but they refused to send it by post again. So I got the DVD player at my office and then left it sitting there for a few days because I don’t always go home straight from work.

When I did finally take it home, it wasn’t really a big deal. The DVD player was small and light and the box had a little plastic carrying handle on it. It’s just that I am kind of a princess and I like to have things my way. I tried the DVD player as soon as I got home. It didn’t work at all. I called Tvaroh. He wanted to come over and check it because he thought I might have hooked it up wrong or something. Fair enough, I’m not an IT dude. Tvaroh came over that night, saw for himself that the DVD player really didn’t work, and he took it away with him so that he could once again return it in person.

But then there was a family emergency and Tvaroh had to go away. He didn’t send the DVD player back to the shop until he returned 10 days later.

Then finally on the 30th of May I got a call at 8.30 in the morning from an unknown number. It was the courier looking for me at my house, but I was already on my way to work. He asked me for an address where he could deliver the DVD player, and I told him that I wanted it by post. He didn’t like that at all, but I can be very stubborn.

I got another call around the same time the next morning, but I didn’t answer my phone. The guy left a voicemail, but I didn’t call him back.

I emailed the shop and asked them to send the DVD by post as I had originally ordered, and even explained how much more convenient the post office was for me.

The man in the shop emailed me back a couple of hours later: “I recommend that you change your delivery address, or the driver is just going to call you again…otherwise the package is going to be returned to us.”

But, remember, I am stubborn, so I emailed him back asking him to explain why they couldn’t send the DVD player by post, as I had originally ordered.

He answered that they always send returns by courier, and they would send by post only by special request.

So I sent an email that identified itself as a special request and asked that they send my DVD player by post. That was last Thursday. No response.

This morning at 9.30 my phone rang. It was an unknown number, so I ignored it. At 11, the same number, but this time the courier dude left a voicemail.

I had had enough, the game was over. I emailed Tvaroh:


I am attaching the latest emails between me and the shop. Would you please do me a favour and call Petr #%@! (numbers below) and insist that they use the post because my post office is right around the corner from my house and I would like to pick the DVD player up there. And if they keep trying to deliver it to me by courier and I am not answering my phone, they are just going to break it again. I would call myself, but I’ll just end up yelling at him.

Also, if they say that the post costs extra, ask them to check their records because they initially overcharged me anyway – therefore I have already paid for it.

Thank you.


And a couple of hours later, Tvaroh emailed to tell me that Petr #%@! had promised to send me my DVD player by post.

Getting my own way is pretty sweet, even if I do have to enlist help to do it.




5 Responses to Max buys a new DVD player

  1. Dane says:

    Several thoughts:

    1) This entry made me snort so loudly, I’m afraid I woke my mother. It’s bad enough actually just buying something in a store in the CR, but to have to return it? I *never* had the Czech for that. The price you pay, Max, for living in a place where folks don’t give a shit about g-d or customer service. I think it’s somewhat telling that customer service people (eg waitresses) in the more bible-thumper parts of the US are generally obscenely friendly and even helpful, whereas the g-dless north waiters are more like Czechs.

    2) Bush’s visit has finally hit the US mainstream news. And while venting to an acquaintance of mine about the stupidity of the whole thing, he asked what the point of building the bases in Poland was, because isn’t Poland separated from the CR by, like, six countries or something? I should point out that this friend is a college-educated upper middle class scholar of European history. When I expressed my level of irritated shock, he shrugged and said, “Come on, it’s *Poland*. It gets regularly wiped off the map every hundred years!” And honestly, at that moment, I couldn’t really argue, just giggle in the way of the weary and crazy.

    3) I had an experience several days ago in which my younger sister sent a pasta dish back to the kitchen at a restaurant. I almost stopped her. Why? Because two simultaneous thoughts went off in my head like fireworks:

    1. Wait, you can’t *do* that! Who *does* that? They’ll never accept it – just eat what you can and you’ll eat at home.
    2. Shit, you’re complaining about a little too much cream on your pasta? Are you for real? They got your order *right* – what more do you want?

    And then the waitress happily took the order back to the kitchen, apologized to my sister for not getting it right, and brought her back a steaming cream-less plate without charging her for the other one. I don’t think I spoke for whole minutes after that (which, for me, is generally a feat). Welcome back, Dane.

  2. Heddy says:

    Talk about master (or should that be mistress?) of the understatement, Max.

    “I can be very stubborn”


    Love Ya!

  3. Max says:

    Hi Heddy! How about dominatrix of the understatement? xo

    Dane, I could tell you lots more stories, mostly about shoe shops. Advice: send your friend a link to a map of Central Europe.

    Was your sister legitimately unhappy with her pasta? Because if she ordered pasta with a cream sauce and then decided it was just a bit too creamy for her taste, that should be put down to bad luck and not warrant a demand for a new meal. People like that should cook their own food at home.

  4. Dane says:

    *shrug* She ordered pasta with pesto, which generally doesn’t have cream, but this one did. She said eating too much cream makes her sick, so my mother urged her to send it back.

    We (my mother and I) are in the process of teaching her to cook for herself. Last night was my turn: chicken, bok choy, mushrooms and rice noodles stir-fried in spicy peanut sauce.

  5. Max says:

    Your dinner sounds yummy. Hooray for spicy peanut sauce! Too much cream makes me sick too, unless it’s ice cream, of course.

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