I despise Black Friday. Not only does it involve spending money (never a favorite activity of mine), it also means dealing with the chaos of overcrowded retail stores.
Last night, before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, I was dispatched to Toys R Us to pick up some of the Christmas shopping. (Thanks American retailers, for ruining yet another holiday!)
After buying a cartload of toys, I was presented with a $10 off card for a future visit. “It’s only good for tomorrow,” the checker told me.
I was puzzled. The card clearly stated, “Valid 12/1 – 12/7.”
“How come the card says December 1 through 7?” I asked.
“That’s wrong,” said the checker. “It’s only good tomorrow.”
It was at this point that I said the fateful words, “Are you sure about that?”
“Definitely,” the checker said with a firm, confident tone. None of the other personnel within earshot said anything. “We open at 5 AM tomorrow morning. You can come back then.”
Fast forward to this morning. I drove Marissa and my sister to Toys R Us to look for some items I hadn’t been able to find the night before. As I checked out, I gave today’s checker the $10 off card.
“It’s not valid yet,” she said. “See, it says so right here.”
I could feel myself tensing. “The guy last night was very specific. He told me the card was wrong, and that I needed to come back today. That’s why I’m here.”
“Sorry,” she said, “But you can’t use the card.”
As we drove back home, I was furious. I wouldn’t mind being prevented from using the card if I had made a mistake, or been negligent. But I was very specifically told to disregard the date on the card. I had even asked, “Are you sure?”
When someone asks you, “Are you sure?”, you’d damn well better be sure. Because if I ask someone, “Are you sure?” and the answer is a firm “Yes,” I’ve got no way to escalate without seeming like a raging asshole.
I could say, “I don’t believe you. I want to talk with your manager,” but that’s basically like saying, “You’re incompetent, I want to talk with someone who isn’t an idiot.” I could also do what my sister suggested afterwards, which is to pull out my phone and say, “Can you say that again for the camera, just in case?” But neither is a kind thing to do.
Therefore, the onus is on the person being asked. If you aren’t sure, just say so, dammit.