Lectura Avanzada en Inglés No. 5


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Customer Service

It is a little after 9 AM on Monday at ‘Stolz Electronics’, a neighborhood store that sells a variety of gadgets and home appliances. Hugo, the manager of the store and his assistant Paolo are just helping a customer pick out a portable DVD player.

“You can’t go wrong with this one” says Paolo. “The audio isn’t the best, but the image is great. I would recommend watching movies with headphones plugged in.”

The customer opens the box and looks suspiciously at the DVD player. “Hmm, it’s kind of expensive. And with the headphones…”

“I can throw in the headphones for free, if you like” replies Paolo immediately. “Here you go. Will that be cash or credit?”

“Thank you! But the DVD player itself is still rather expensive. Can you offer me any kind of a discount?”

Paolo glances over at Hugo. “If I’m not mistaken, this model goes on sale this weekend, right? Forty percent off?”

Hugo nods. “We can let him have it at the sale price today. He really seems to want it.”

“Hey thanks!” The customer pulls out his wallet. “Can I use a credit card?”

“You sure can” replies Hugo with a smile while Paolo puts the items in a bag and takes his credit card.

“Have a nice day!” says Paolo as he hands the customer his bag and his receipt. The customer thanks them and leaves the store.

“Sold another one” says Paolo as he picks up the newspaper to read the sports section. “I don’t know what we’re going to do with the rest. People are going to start catching on.”

“I know” replies Hugo.  “They’re really bad quality. Some of them don’t even last a month. I gave one to a friend last week and he told me it set off his smoke detector.”

“A great gift for my ex-wife” says Paolo with a grin. “Maybe she’ll stop inviting me to her silly birthday parties.” Both of them laugh.

Hugo stands up and stretches. “Well, I have to go to the restroom. I had a pile of steak and ribs last night so I could be in there a while.”

“Take your time” replies Paolo, still reading the sports section. “Don’t rush it.”

A few minutes later, a man walks in. His hair is a mess and his beard is partially shaved. “Do you work here?” he asks impatiently.

“Uhhh…Yes” replies Paolo walking behind the counter and putting down his newspaper. “How can I help you?”

The man slams a box down on the counter. “This electric shaver is a piece of junk. I paid almost a $100 for it and it suddenly stopped working while I was shaving this morning. Look at my face!”

Paolo opens the box and takes out the shaver. “Let me take a look at it.” He examines it from all angles. “Let me ask you something. Have you dropped it recently?”

“No!” replies the man.

“Have you used it to shave animal fur?”

“What? No!”

“How about using it for things… shall we say… other than its intended purpose?”

The man looks at Paolo with disbelief. “Are you serious? I’m not even sure I know what you mean but I’m pretty sure the answer is no!”

“Ok, ok, no reason to get testy.” Paolo examines the shaver closely. “Do you leave it plugged in when you are not using it?”


“Aha, you know they get burned out that way. You should always unplug these devices when you are not using them.”

“WHAT??? That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I demand my money back.”

“Well, would you like to exchange it for something else? We have some excellent portable DVD players I can offer you for roughly the same price.”

“Why would I need a portable DVD player? I have 2 regular ones at home already. I have never had the need to carry them around. I want my money back or there’s going to be trouble.”

“Fine!” replies Paolo rolling his eyes. “Do you have the receipt?”

The man slams a crumpled piece of paper down on the counter. “Here!”

Paolo opens the crumpled receipt, looks at it and drops it back on the counter. “This receipt is ripped. I can’t read the date on it.”

The furious customer opens the receipt and points to the date “It’s right here in black and white, 11/11/2012”.

“There’s a hole in the receipt. The year looks like 2010. For all I know, you could have bought this thing two years ago and are trying to return it because it got burned out by keeping it plugged in all the time. Now please step aside as there are other customers waiting.”

The man looks behind him and sees a lady waiting in line behind him. “Customers? There is ONE person behind me and she got here 2 seconds ago. I am not going anywhere until you give me my money back! What kind of place are you running here? The name of your store is ‘Stolz’. That means ‘pride’ in German. Do you stand behind your products or not?”

Paolo sighs. “Look sir. I don’t understand German. I believe the store is named ‘Stolz Electronics’ because the owner’s name is Eric Stolz. However, I do understand how ironic this situation must seem given your knowledge of the German language and all.”

“Don’t get sarcastic with me! I’m not in the mood. Are you going to give me a refund or do I have to call the police?”

A few more customers are now waiting in line whispering to each other.

Paolo wants to make sure that Hugo can hear him from the bathroom so he answers in a loud and clear voice. “Sir, there is no need to call the police. You can have your refund; however, only the store manager can process the transaction without a valid receipt. The problem is that I have to scan in a copy of your receipt in order to complete the transaction and it won’t work since the receipt is somewhat damaged. The manager will be in later today. You can come back later or you can wait if you prefer.”

“I’ll wait here till he gets in” replies the customer crossing his arms. “I don’t have any other plans. I want my refund today.”

Paolo raises his voice a bit louder to make sure Hugo can hear him in the restroom. “As you wish. Please take a seat over there. THE MANAGER SHOULD BE IN LATER. HE WILL REFUND YOUR MONEY.”

“Why are you shouting all of a sudden?” asks the customer, confused.

“Was I shouting? My apologies” replies Paolo in his normal voice. “People have told me I speak too loud sometimes.”

About 30 seconds later they hear a crash. Everyone in the store except Paolo turns toward the restroom. “What was that?” asks the customer suspiciously. “That sounded like something breaking or being forced open.”

“Damn raccoons! I’ll have to go check it out later. Take a seat while I help the next customer. The manager should be in any moment now.”

The customer takes a seat by the window and looks out. He spots Hugo sprinting to the parking lot. Then he sees him jumping into his car and driving off. The customer points at the window. “Who the heck was that???”

“I didn’t see anyone” replies Paolo trying to sound casual. “Probably just the janitor leaving to get more cleaning supplies. May I help the next customer please?”


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