Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by reading these posts first:
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Thank you for contacting us.
We will be happy to advance ship the new appliance to you without the photo of the disabled unit.
Please allow 7-10 business days for the new toaster to arrive, however, it may arrive sooner. We will be happy to send the UPS tracking number for your new appliance once it is available.
Once you receive your new appliance, please unplug your defective appliance, cut off the plug, and send a picture of the disabled unit to email@example.com. Please be sure to include your consumer number (1504480) in the subject line as well as your name and address in the body of the email.
Thank you again for contacting Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.
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It’s just a guess, but here’s what I think happened:
Hamilton Beach HQ, Southern Pines, NC, Board Room
G.H. Trepp, Hamilton Beach Brands CEO, rubbed his temples. He was offered two aspirin and a glass of water by a lackey who entered the room. Refusing the water, he grabbed the aspirin and swallowed them dry, chasing them with a handful of chewable antacids.
“Now let me get this straight,” he said to the two women at the table. “She told you she didn’t have a receipt so you asked her for the model number. A model number that determined that the product warranty was expired. Why didn’t it end there?”
“She was very persistent, sir,” said Betty, the first woman. “She explained that she just bought the toaster on October 25, 2013 and that the warranty should’ve lasted longer than three weeks. And then she started talking about the Brady Bunch … and finding an earring in her burrito … and, well, I wasn’t sure what to do.”
“So what did you do, Betty?” asked Trepp, removing his glasses and sitting back in his chair.
“Well,” Betty began nervously, “I called Veronica in on the claim. She’s used to dealing with claimants like this nut job in New Orleans.”
“Now, Betty. We don’t call them nut jobs. The New Orleans woman is a valued customer just like everyone —”
“Excuse me, Mr. Trepp,” interrupted Veronica, the second woman. “Betty is absolutely right. This woman is crazy.”
“Oh?” said Trepp, taking in Veronica’s face carefully so he could vividly remember the person who’d just cut him off so abruptly. “You have something to add, Veronica?”
“Yes, sir. I have to support Betty on this one. The woman from New Orleans … Mrs. Poche … she does seem a little crazy. I mean, well, her emails certainly seem crazy.”
“Can you please elaborate on these ‘crazy’ emails, Veronica?” he patronized, using his fingers to indicate quotation marks in the air.
“Well … yes, sir,” Veronica answered, a little rattled. “You see,” she began, “I offered to send Mrs. Poche a new toaster. And I even offered to pay the shipping on it.”
“You offered to pay the shipping??” injected Trepp. “That’s insane! You offered to pay the shipping on a toaster for which the customer has no receipt AND the product warranty was expired?”
Veronica was red-faced. “Y-y-yes sir, I did,” she stammered. “But —”
“And THEN what happened, Veronica? I am just DYING to hear what happened next.” Trepp went back to rubbing his temples.
“And then, sir, I followed standard protocol.” Veronica’s body relaxed a little, relieved that she remembered to follow company policy. “I asked Mrs. Poche to cut off the cord for the toaster and email us a picture of the disabled machine.” She started to get nervous again.
“And???” Trepp shot out.
“AND SHE REFUSED TO DO IT!” Veronica screamed, now full on crying. ”She kept talking about amputations and euthanasia and … and … she accused us of being a bunch of Mafia overlords!!” Betty jumped to her feet to console her friend.
The two women stared desperately into Trepp’s eyes. They needed answers. And they needed them now. “What do you want us to do now, sir?” Betty finally managed.
Trepp walked over the refreshment table and poured himself a tall glass of something. From across the room, the women were not able to discern the label on the bottle. He took several fast, dramatic slugs from the glass, set it down and walked back to the conference table.
With his hands folded under his chin, he looked at the two women and said, deliberately and through gritted teeth, “What do we have to do to make this problem go away … forever?”
The silence was deafening for a moment.
Then Veronica spoke up. “I think we need to send Mrs. Poche a new toaster to replace the old one with the expired warranty for which she doesn’t have a receipt. We will pay the shipping. And we’ll send it without asking her to disable the old one first.” She screwed up all of her courage and then said, “Right, sir?”
Trepp turned away to face the window. “Make it happen,” he mumbled stoically, staring blankly through the glass at something in the distance as he gestured for them to leave.
The two women jumped up to flee the room and put the plan into action when suddenly Trepp swiveled back in his chair to face them. “But ladies!” he called out, smiling shrewdly. “Please tell Mrs. Poche that we’ll still expect her to ‘amputate’ her old toaster and send us a picture, won’t you? Once she gets the new one, of course. Do make sure that part’s in there for me, please, ladies.”
The women nodded compliantly and slowly backed out of the room. Trepp swiveled back to the window laughing, almost maniacally.
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Well played, Mr. Trepp. Well played.
I emailed back, of course, and will post my reply right here soon. Thanks for following along. Now go make sure your turkey is thawing!