We’ve had a pretty good experience while here in the city. We have felt safer than we ever did in Salt Lake, and the people are generally so kind and helpful.
Until the other day of course. I had an experience I was sure would make me hate New York forever. Needless to say, I got over it the next day when so many good people again proved to me that there are more good citizens than bad in the City.
My dear friend Kaitlin was in town last week from Arizona. Wednesday was our day to spend together out in the city. We got dressed up all cute, or as cute as I possibly can with my terribly awkward grown out hair, took lots of pictures, went to the temple, got sushi, and of course, shopped Canal Street. Well, TRIED to shop Canal Street.
And that is where our adventure begins…
We arrived to Canal street as the sun was setting with a few things in mind of what we were looking for. I went with a list my mom had given me to buy for her for Christmas presents, and Kaitlin with a list for herself, as any tourist should do. I quickly found my list and met back up with them to help Kait shop for a satchel.
We came upon a store, a store I’ll have nightmares of forevermore.
Kaitlin ended up finding a beautiful pastel pink purse. I always, and will always, admire and long for a cute purse when I walk Canal Street but rarely leave with anything, cause let’s be honest, we don’t have a money tree and the word tuition is still a large part of our vocabulary.
Kaitlin got a good deal on the purse, but not as good as the deal the sweet, or so we thought, Asian lady threw out at me if we bought a second bag. “I give you good price. You buy second bag, I give you for fifteen dollar. Good price. Good price.” I expressed to her that I wasn’t interested in the same pink bag as my friend. She asked about other bags. There was one bag I had eyed previously that I was fighting the desire to buy. Well I justified enough good reasons and got the bag I wanted for almost as good of a deal. Well, ALMOST.
Now here is how the purchase went down. Brace yourselves.
Before buying the bag I noticed some yucky marks on the bag. The lady claimed she could get it off “no problem”. I stupidly handed her the money as she was supposedly fixing my purse. It looked great. The yuck was gone. Magic. Well a couple minutes went by as Kaitlin looked around the little shop a bit longer, until Kathy, Kaitlin’s mom, noticed the purse had been ruined by whatever the lady wiped on the bag.
In my mind I thought, no problem. I’ll show her, she’ll apologize, switch my purse out for another black one just like it, and we’ll go on our merry way. I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong.
I showed her the bag she had ruined. Without hesitation she tells me, “Store policy. No return. Only exchange.” Again, no big deal, I’ll just exchange it for another one just like it. Problem being, they didn’t have another purse like it. But I didn’t just want any purse. I couldn’t afford to just buy just any ol’ purse. I bought that one cause I really liked it and it fit our camera great.
Frustrated, but very calm, we all took turns trying to explain that she was not being fair. She had just ruined the purse and she needed to give my money back. I don’t know if she expected me to just lay myself on the ground and let her walk all over me. She started this game, and I was going to finish it fair and square. I started out with 100% confidence she would give in and refund the money. Boy was I wrong, AGAIN. I wasn’t about to leave with the loss of 20 bucks. That’s precious money when you’ve got a husband in grad school!!
About 30 minutes went by, and other customers started to question what was going on. The lady began yelling, calling us idiot, crazy, stupid, wouldn’t look at me when I tried to speak to her, and began to get aggressive. Other shoppers learned of the situation, became frustrated, and tried talking to her. No luck. She began to get rude and aggressive with other innocent shoppers that had nothing to do with what was going on. I decided that if she wanted to play this game, I’d play right back and I began talking customers into leaving and not shopping there.
Another customer came in to buy 20 dollars worth of merchandise, so Kathy came up with the genius idea to make that our exchange and the customer could just pay us. The owner was furious and would not allow it because it was “against store policy”. It made absolutely no sense. Let me remind you that she is the owner of the store and there is hardly anything legal about these shops to begin with. She was rude to the customer, mishandled the lady’s stuff she was buying, and broke it. I became so frustrated that she was treating so many others so badly over a situation having to do with me.
Next thing we know she is screaming at us, “Get out of my store! I’m going to lock you in here!” At the time the idea of getting locked in terrified us. Later on we realized we could have pulled a buddy the elf and decorated the store, called the cops, they’d get us out, and she’d go to jail for kidnapping us. Sounded so perfect later that night.
Feeling panicked since the lights had been turned off and she appeared to be locking us in, I quickly grabbed a bag of the same value, and used my phone light to guide us out of the shop. We calmly walk out without discussion, get about 20 feet away, when we hear footsteps running at us. My heart started pounding. We tried to just keep walking but next thing I know I was being grabbed and yanked all while she is yelling, “You’re stealing! You stole my purse!” Talk about embarrassing. Luckily people around could see what was really going on and didn’t think I was an actual thief.
She gave the bag a big yank at the same time I was letting go. It was an accident, I swear. A convenient one may I rudely add. She fell to the ground, got back up and came at me swinging the purse. Luckily Kaitlin ran to grab cops parked near by. She quickly told them what happened while the Asian family of 3 ran away after seeing the cops. The cops ran after them, held a guy they thought was maybe the husband, but they had the wrong guy. Crap. I thought we had lost.
I was still determined to make this right. Not because 20 dollars is the most important thing in the world, but because of how badly she treated so many people. It made my heart pound and my stomach sick. I was over the 20 bucks at this point.
Well after much explanation to the cops, it didn’t seem much could be done because they didn’t see what had just happened. One of the cops walked back to the cop car with me and asked some more questions about the situation. When we got to the car, he surprised me by saying, “I’m going to get your money back. Maybe double. Don’t you worry.” He took down my information, the store number, and we further discussed my schedule the next day. I was working all day and didn’t have a way of coming down to meet him. He kindly offered to bring the money up to me on the other end of Manhattan. Wow. SO NICE.
I left feeling a little better, yet still with a heart beating a million miles an hour. The more I thought about what the cop did, the more I wondered if he was just saying he’d help me out to get us out of his hair and get on his way. Obviously he has better things to do. He’s a NYC cop!
Well the next day I was at work when I got a text from an unknown number. “I’ve got your money. Where are you at?”
He kept his word!! I wasn’t even excited about the 20 bucks, I just wished I could have seen her reaction when he showed up.
“You’re the coolest! I’m at work on the Upper West Side.”
“K I’m on my way to you.”
This was for reals. I was texting a cop that had just done the nicest favor and set this crazy lady straight.
When he arrived, he so kindly volunteered to bring the money up since the kiddies were sleeping.
GET THIS. Not only did he get my money, he also decided after she started “being pissy” with him, that she needed to learn a little lesson. He charged her for attacking a customer and she has to appear in court. Say waaaaa?! So cool.
After he told me and I said goodbye and closed the door, I practically skipped down the hall. After a few seconds, I began feeling terrible about myself for being so happy about her having to give my money back and go to court. I called Derek to ask if I was a bad person, he said no, so I continued feeling giddy about what had happened.
I hope that she learns her lesson and doesn’t treat other customers the way she treated me and others that night.
Rought night. Good story. Good friends. Seriously, shout out to my awesome bestie Kaitlin and second mom Kathy for sticking with me through the craziness. Sure love them. We had a good memorable 12/12/12.
Where were you on 12/12/12? Did you do anything to celebrate? Hopefully your 12/12/12 was a little less traumatic than mine.
Here is a pic I snapped at the beautiful Time Warner Center mall on Central Park. Christmas in New York is as dreamy as it sounds.
And whatever you do, DON'T SHOP AT 363.