Monday, September 5, 2011

My first bike accident and the amazing Walmart

This was a pretty eventful day. Right from my Puneri maaj to American customer service, today I went through everything. The beginning was not that great. Generally I bike up to my shuttle stop where I board the shuttle to Tesla. I was at an intersection traffic light in my left lane. The light went green and I raced my bike to turn left. A car, directly in front, facing me, was in her left lane supposed to turn to her left. I don’t know what the driver was thinking he started taking a wrong right turn.

Seeing me he stopped in between. But… I kept looking at him, my eyes fixed on him, and giving all Puneri khunnas I had in me! :D My expressions were clear enough that I didn’t have to utter any word. The next thing I saw when I turned my head was the curb that I was going to hit! I slammed my brakes hard, my rear wheel skid through a 90 deg rotation and it had a rough interaction with the curb. The brakes were awesome and I came to a dead stop within seconds. Realizing I was completely in an awesome condition, I forced my bike pedal to cruise ahead, but it refused to go. Curious, I looked at my rear wheel and it was totally warped and distorted, like a circular rim of metal heated in a furnace!!!!

I couldn’t go home as I would then miss my last shuttle, and the stop was still far enough to drag the bike there and reach in time. I had no option but to opt for the second choice. Lifting my rear wheel dragging the bike all way along and cursing myself for the unnecessary khunnas I gave to him, I finally made to the stop just in time! All the way to Tesla I was thinking what should be done next! At Tesla, I was a star attraction and I had to narrate the story at least 4 to 5 times before I reached the lab

During the day I called some bike shops to check if there was any possibility to straighten the wheel. They suggested me to bring the bike to the shop to inspect. In case it was not possible to straighten (which I think was the case!) it was going to cost me about $70 to fix it. Instead I would as well get a new bike!!

So, without having any hope, I thought of calling Walmart to see if they can help me out (I had got my bike from Walmart). I had heard about Walmart’s return policy, but it was all fantasy to me until I experienced it. My bike was just 3 weeks old and hence I called Walmart for replacement. My shuttle driver was kind enough to give me a ride to Walmart in the evening. There I asked them if I can get a new wheel. Looking at the bikes condition (everything being in awesome condition except a really screwed rear wheel) the manager asked the sports section to see if it can be fixed. The answer was no.

Supposedly, you cannot replace items that you order online from Walmart, so the manager herself suggested me to return the bike for a full refund. I was awestruck! “What.. that means I would get a full refund??” I asked her three times to double check if what I was hearing was correct. “Yes, absolutely”, she said, “one can return anything for a full refund until it’s within the return policy guideline period”.

Apparently, there were many customers in the “return items” line at Walmart. Come to think of it, has this policy made Walmart grow? No wonder Walmart is leading everyone with its annual turnover of $421.849 billion! Being in retailing sector, customer service and customer satisfaction are kept on highest priority. This may be the reason why despite of giving full refunds on so many products still they make huge profits.

I was amazed. It kept me thinking. The very night I ordered the same bike, obviously from Walmart.