Thursday, 1 July 2021

A Story about Corté Inglés in Lockdown

 I thought, “Ah, I’ve got another idea about what to buy my wife!”

After 56 years of marriage we’d more or less given up thoughts about what to get for each other. We’d both reached the age of 77 Sunset Strip, and I’d already booked a break at s small, luxury hotel an easy drive inland, only 2 hours away.

It was in an idyllic location and we were the only British couple staying there. Everyone else, staff included, was Spanish, which suited us as we wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary in solitude.

I’d already had her expensive Longines watch repaired and serviced, after it had lain idle in a drawer at home for many years since it had stopped. I’d bought it for our 30th anniversary and it was increasingly of sentimental value.

This was to be a practical, small gift. Don’t laugh, it was 3 packs of undies (the Spanish call them bragas) and they came in packs of 2. She chose them, after close scrutiny, in Hipercor, within Corté Inglés in Elche on the 8th June, 2021.

On the day of our anniversary, she proudly opened the first pack. With dismay, she held them up to show me each of them in turn. They were in tatters, with the seam of each parting company around the legs. It was an undetectable flaw when packed.

Luckily, it was only the first two that were defective, the others being okay when the packs were opened.

I reassured her, “We’ll take them back when we return. It’s Corté Inglés!, so there’ll be no problem”

To keep the story short, on the 28th June we drove to the store and joined a short queue at the Complaints (‘Reclamaciones’) desk.

When our turn claim, the young female assistant looked at the damaged undies briefly, called another assistant across and told us (in Spanish),

“Sorry we don’t accept returned undergarments because of Covid. It’s unhygienic!”

You can imagine my reaction, as I asked to speak to their boss (La Jefa).

“She looked at me sadly and said, “There’s no point, you’ll get the same decision!”

We returned home, having wasted at least 2 litres of petrol in making a futile journey. The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got. As far as I was concerned, Covid was an excuse not a reason. My logic was,

“Do they expect a customer to open a packet beforehand, to check the quality of the contents? This must apply to every item on display within the category of socks, where fastened together, women’s nylon stockings (medias), swimsuits, packs of tee-shirts and so on. It’s crazy and simply a way of cancelling aspects of the sale of goods act!”

I decided to make a formal complaint via the official email system. I would also ask if customers were expected to visit the store armed with scissors (tijeras) so they could inspect ‘interior wear’ to gauge their condition?

I attached a photo of the defective undies and a copy of the receipt. This was on the 28th June. I also pointed out that I’d had a waste journey costing me at least 2 litres of gasolina.

Reading the small print on the ticket more closely, I noted that I was permitted to return any such item that was ‘defecto’’. I knew then that I had them ‘bang to rights’.

Within the day of submission, I had a phone call from a male member of the management at Corté Inglés in Elche, saying that the assistants I’d spoken to originally had confirmed that the brags were defective and I was going to be reimbursed. Exito! I duly recited my card details as shown on the original receipts and was told the details would soon appear on my account.

The manager concerned was clearly satisfied that he’d dealt with matter.

I shall be writing to the CEO at Elche, praising the person who’d resolved the matter for the magnanimous, empathetic way he’d applied the justice of Solomon and his eternal gratitude for me having kept Corté Inglés out of the news and court for malpractice.

If the CEO has any sense of perspective, I would love to see his or her face upon being told the amount sitting in my account.

It is for 6€, the sale value of the defective bragas. I cannot imagine that the manager who corresponded with me is truly fit for high office.

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