… continued from last post
YT and the Nicelandic Consumers Union [Neytendasamtökin] go back a long way. Or – well – a few years. We first became acquainted about seven years ago when I owned a dud of a computer that had broken down about six times in two years. I happened to relate the story to EPI’s niece, who was working there at the time as a lawyer. She promptly put me in touch with a co-worker who was, and is, a serious force to be reckoned with. About a month later my computer dud was back with its [not-too-happy] seller, whereas in its place I had a new high-end laptop that turned out to be an absolute workhorse and ran non-stop for about five years without so much as a hiccup. I’ve been a Consumers Union member ever since and am a big fan because they kick ass up there.
Anyway, I called them up and they put me through to the same woman as before, who totally commiserated with my sad story about the phone and its hideous logo. When I got to the part about being stonewalled by the Vodafone manageress, she was indignant. “No. No. Of course she can refund you the money. They sold you a different phone from the display model. You should get your money back.” She asked me to send her an email relating the main points and she’d speak to them. Less than two hours later, she called me back. “Take the phone back to the store in Kringlan and they’ll give you a full refund.”
[Incidentally: this sort of thing NEVER happens in Iceland. The Icelanders can be assertive as hell, but they’re LOUSY consumers – they’re forever being handed wooden nickels and just taking them. Refunds for anything are practically unheard of here. One notable exception is the fabulous ZARA, which when it opened its first store here about six years ago started offering full refunds on clothes that were returned in the same condition as when bought, within a specific time frame. Hats off! – and now a few more stores have followed suit. But I digress.]
So later that day, I found myself in Kringlan, heading for old Vodafone. I had on my tough front, all prepared to be cross-examined or to have to go through the same shit as with the people on the phone, but lo! – nothing of that sort happened, the apathetic kid perched on his stool behind the counter just took the phone and mumbled something about not knowing how to do refunds [you don’t say? ] and then asked someone else before just … opening the till and giving me the refund, in cash. Get that? – IN CASH. I was floored. Because if there’s one thing more outrageously surprising than getting a refund in an Icelandic store, it’s getting that refund in cold hard cash.
Truly, I could hardly believe my good fortune. So what I did was leave the store, walk exactly ten steps across the corridor, and straight into the store of the competition, which I happened to know had that very same phone but WITHOUT the branding on it. Heh heh. I knew this because I’d been there the previous day, but had due to some weird sense of obligation ended up buying from my phone provider, with the aforementioned disastrous results.
So the girl who had been serving me the previous day came up to me and we got chatting and I told her my little story and that I wanted the same phone, and did they have it in white. Alas, they did not. However, she suddenly got this mischievous little look on her face. “I have JUST the phone for you,” she said, and disappeared, only to return very conspiratorially with a little box that she opened. “There are only fourteen of these in the entire country,” she said, almost whispering. “They only ordered six of this colour; the buyers – who are all guys – thought it was a joke, that nobody would buy them.” She raised an eyebrow. “They sold out within an hour – to people in-house. I got one myself.” She pulled it out and proceeded to demonstrate, taking YT through the navigation menu and such. “They tried to order more, but there were only nine left. We don’t even have them on display. We keep them under the counter.”
Whell! With that kind of hard-sell, how could I possibly refuse?
[semi-nauseating gush ahead]
So I now have a gorgeous new phone, that I am absolutely smitten with. Seriously – this is a major departure for our YT. I’m more the classic subdued type, easy on the flash. Not only does my new phone have serious BLING, it’s also not a Nokia [gasp!] and was considerably more expensive than the phone I planned to buy. The screen is crystal clear, the navigation is genius [I much prefer it to any Nokia phone I have ever owned], the buttons are easy to push [i.e. aren’t all jammed up against each other] and it knows intuitively what I want to do, before I do it. [“Do you want to copy your contacts from the SIM card?” – why, yes I do, little phone!] If you want, you can check it out here [it’s the pink one – you can even try it out in their super-duper online virtual phone world].
Okay then! So you see, all’s well that ends well. And now I must sign off because I’m heading off tomorrow to search for polar bears. Cheerio!
WE HAD A TROPICAL STORM TODAY
I kid you not. It’s what the weatherman said: “The remnants of a tropical storm will pass over the Land today.” Mostly what this meant was a lot of rain, and fairly warm temps – for us, at least. It’s no great shakes at the moment, 12°C [54F] and still raining, sunrise was at 4 am, and sunset at 11.05.