Saturday, September 03, 2016

A "little" Adventure in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

The microwave died in the guest house last week.  The current tenant only uses it to heat her coffee in the morning, but I realize it would be an aggravation to have to pour it in a pan to heat up..........so off I went
to look for a new microwave on Monday.  At La Comer, they were big and expensive.  Check.

You see in Mexico, unlike the USA, there is not a place on every corner or strip malls or Target.  Here we go to the grocery store to see what appliances might be available. 

Since La Comer (previously called Mega) did not have what was needed, the next day I went off to Bodega Aurrerea which is the low end of Walmart.




This is what greeted me.  A "wall" of shopping carts protecting the newly striped area of the parking lot.  There was a tiny place close to the tree to pass through.  It made me smile to myself because it was an
effective way to keep people from driving on the stripes without orange cones.  The ingenuity of the people of Mexico always delights me.


Inside the store I found a Daewoo that was the right size and right price of microwave. Making sure to get a box that had not been open and then finding someone to get it into the cart was the beginning of the adventure.  Mission accomplished.  Microwave checked out and paid for.  Now to get the thing loaded
in the car.

The only person I saw who could possibly assist me in this transaction was a man sweeping the parking lot.
I asked if he could help me and he came over to do so.  The only change I had for a tip was 20 pesos which
is about one US dollar and I gave it to him.  The broad smile and look of disbelief on his face stayed with me
all the way home.

Then of course, getting the thing up a flight of stairs and into the guest house was the next hurdle.  Luckily, Javier the gardener was here.  He lifted and transported the box into the guest house and I hooked the thing up to make sure it worked.  Well, I thought it did............

A couple of days later I found out that, in fact, it did not work.  The door would not stay closed and it would not turn on.  Oy vey!  The box had not been saved........a BIG deal in Mexico!  In the past when I have needed to return anything, if the original packaging was not brought, it was a "No Deal" as to a return, even with the receipt of purchase.

No words can describe how I dreaded taking the microwave back to the store yesterday.  I was braced for disappointment and frustration.  I fully expected to have to buy a whole other microwave for just a little less
then $100USD!

In I went to the Service Desk.  Of course no one speaks English which always makes me nervous that my Spanish will not stand up to the test.  In fact, usually I practice in my mind what I'm going to say before I get
there and what they are possibly going to say in return.  I was ready. 

The girl behind the counter understood my Spanish, thankfully, and called for someone to come to help me get the microwave out of the back of my car.......without a box, of course.  Out came the man who I had seen a few days prior.  When he saw me, again, he grinned and greeted me with a big smile.  Turns out he spoke some English!

The saga continues with a young man from the Electronics Dept coming to stand and look at the microwave and leaving.  No, he did not plug it in to prove that it didn't work.  He just left.  Then I asked if there was a
manager.  Ahhh,  a "jefe" to help.  And, voila, eventually, the manager of the store, Bruno, appeared and could speak some English.  He listened intently, as we spoke in English and Spanish.  He called the young man who had disappeared previously to come.  He told him to get a new microwave in a box and to check it in the store before I took it home.  (All of this was in Spanish, but, amazingly, I understood it all). 

This happened!  It was brought, checked, and loaded in my car without anything else needing to be done.
Amazing!

Driving home, after this little adventure, I was relieved, happy and realized that Customer Service has finally come to Mexico!

Another "little" adventure has been successfully completed.  


10 comments:

Retired Teacher said...

Glad everything with the microwave turned out well in the end.
I had to laugh at your story about giving the fellow a 20 peso tip. In the grocery stores I always tip the person who bags the groceries 10 pesos. Alejandro says that is too much, but I always get a smile from the packer... and since it is often an elderly lady who is probably living on a pittance, I don't mind giving a whopping 50 cents US.

Croft said...

I have heard of the difficulties of returning anything in Mexico so it is nice to hear of your positive experience.

Shelagh Kouwenhoven said...

Customer service does not exist in France if my friends can weigh in a return policies. Returns are more of an american and canadian thing.

adrian jo said...

Daewoo is crap...And apparently Bodega sells Refurbished goods. I'd opt for La Comer (On Sale) or Costco

William Stoneman said...

Glad your "adventure" turned into a positive ending.

John Calypso said...

we have had improved purchase policies in recent times in our parts of Mexico. Good observation ;-

Charles said...

I had a similar experience when I tried to buy a refrigerator from Coppel...she swiped my credit card 3 times and said the transaction was denied. I finally gave up and went elsewhere for the refrigerator and had no problem. I started thinking about it after I got home...went on line to check my credit card account...lo and behold all 3 of the transactions at Coppel were on there...she was evidently trying to make a few pesos on the side by pocketing the money. I have never shopped at Coppel since...

Most experiences with merchants have been pleasant and without hassle...but there is a "tope' on the road occasionally!

Babs said...

Wow, Charles, possibly she had no idea it had gone through........I've had good luck at Coppel, but never thought about them for the microwave....Duh. Sorry you had that
experience.

John Calypso - so HAPPY to see your comment. Haven't heard from you in eons. Donde esta?

Thanks William, me too!

Adrian Jo - Too late. All I did was exchange for another one. We'll see what happens since others only seem to use their microwave to heat things up, like coffee. Hopefully it will last as long as the last one which was 16 years!

Shelagh and Croft - The times are changing....possibly because of all the US chains in Mexico now like Crate & Barrel, Chili's, PF Chang's, etc etc etc. Mexico is certainly no longer a "third world country".

alton brecker said...

Hi, your recent post mentioning friends from Savannah caught my eye....I live in Savannah too.
Recently I received an invite to the closing of a gallery here in Savannah...Meryl Truett Gallery. I never met her and I guess my email was had from some list or ???
When I did some research and found out Meryl and here husband were moving to San Miguel I was filled with envy. For quit a long time I have followed your stories about SM as well as view the camera in the Jardin ( though it has not been working the last several weeks.)
I went to visit Meryl Truitt at her gallery.....but sadly I did not catch her in. I just wanted to tell her Bravo for moving to SM.
I've never been....but then I had never visited Hawaii, Southern California or Savannah for that matter before I made the move to make those places my home.
As you well know....life gets in the way. Until I can get out from under my business and figure out how to maintain my pre exsisting conditions south of the border....here I will stay. When time permits though.....it will be the next trip I take.
Thanks so much for the window into your world. I wish you would do live broadcasts from a Facebook account....that would be brilliant. For now...my view is from the camera in the Jardin....

Babs said...

Hi Alton! Thanks for taking time to post. Ironically, Savannah is a place that I have always wanted to visit! Over the years, I have met several people who have homes in San Miguel and previously lived in Savannah. The architecture is the draw
for me. Sorry you did not get to meet Meryl Truett. I will try to remember that name in case our paths ever cross.

I marvel at the fact that I made the decision to move her, sold a business, a home and most of my worldly possessions. It took about five months, but it happened.

The thought of Live broadcasts from Facebook are horrifying, ha. Not in the cards for me.

Please let me know if and when you head to San Miguel. A cup of coffee or a seat on the bench to meet would be lovely.