Back in April of 2015, I found myself eager to take care all those little, annoying, but necessary tasks that one avoids or doesn’t have time for while working full time. One in particular errand I was determined to tackle was having my Cartier watch serviced by Tourneau – yet again!
I had this luxurious pre-owned timepiece for 11 years now; an impulsive purchase I made while on vacation in Las Vegas – after being handed a few cocktails at the Tourneau store. “It’s my birthday! Why not?” These words would haunt me to this day. The deal was: pay nothing upfront, instead in monthly installments, and this beautiful mother-of-pearl with a light pink face, sterling silver watch that resembles a bracelet and makes your arm feel like Kate Middleton’s arm. I bought into the fantasy with the aid of alcohol. Yes.
When I crashed landed into reality in NYC, a few months had passed, then years – only to discover my beautiful refurbished “heiress-like” watch was always 15 minutes behind. “I have to replace the battery again?” I thought. Who really made this watch? Fisher Price?
After replacing the battery countless times for over a decade, I took it in and had the Tourneau people look into the problem. A knowledgeable and charming Spanish female employee told me I could trade it in and receive a $1,600 – $1,750 credit toward a new watch or have it repaired for $575. I was given a hefty and shiny Tourneau catalogue filled with fancy watches waaaay out of my price range. A refurbished $12,000 Rolex – Wow! They’re just giving it way. I didn’t want to think how much the original asking price was. I told the Tourneau employee I had to think about it. I didn’t want to invest any more money into this watch, although vintage now – I was annoyed that it never really worked properly for me.
After a few weeks, the Tourneau associate and I exchanged emails. I was torn. She was insistent on me making a decision. Commission, I thought. That’s her motivation to stay in touch!
Month 2 – I went in to the store and decided I wanted to repair the Cartier and forego buying a new timepiece. “Hi, I’m looking for Danielle.” “Who?” The person behind the counter answered. I fumbled for her card and asked for her again with her last name. Baffled, the employee went to get the assistant manager, Rosa. She apologetically told me Danielle was let go. I was a little shocked as Danielle didn’t mention anything in our email exchanges and we had about 5 of them. After I explained my situation, the assistant manager said I would not receive a trade in for a couple thousand, instead $600. “American?” I said. She chuckled, “Yeah, I’m not sure where Danielle received her information. “Well, since I’m not on any meds or haven’t been diagnosed with a mental disorder, I know what Danielle quoted me. What can we do here?” She advised that I have my Cartier watch repaired. “I don’t want to pay $575 for the watch to be repaired with no guarantees that it will work correctly.” Rosa agreed to reduce the repair cost to: $375. I complied.
Month 3: Four weeks pass by and I contact Rosa. She says it’s taking more time than she thought because the watch technician think it’s a more complex problem to fix. It was sent to the Long Island Tourneau repair plant. I’m okay with this.
Month 4: I was busy with life. Freelancing, interviewing, not thinking about this watch. Meanwhile, I hadn’t heard a peep from Tourneau.
Month 5: I email Rosa few times. No response. I came in to the store, see her there and she tells me the watch has been sent to Switzerland. “I beg your pardon?” I asked. She gives me this matter-of-factly gaze, as if was telling me established life’s truths. Such as: Everybody knows all dogs go to heaven. Or you live on this earth, pay taxes and die; similar to the Geico commercials. “I didn’t consent to that. When did this happen? Why is my watch in Switzerland? I’ve never been to Switzerland!”
She shrugged her shoulders and said. “Well, the watch is there and being serviced by the best technicians at Tourneau.” “That’s fabulous, but I didn’t given written consent to have that done. What if something goes wrong or they lose the watch?” I asked. “You have my guarantee that if anything happens we are solely responsible.” She said. I left the store feeling uncertain and not very satisfied, just weary.
Month 6: It’s now October. I had started this odyessy in April. I receive a voicemail from Rosa. “Your watch is ready for pick up or we can ship it to your home. There’s a $20 an additional shipping fee, should you choose the latter option. I’m annoyed. I have to spend either $6 to come into the city to pick up this watch or spend $20 to receive it at home. I was stewing in anger for a day or two when I receive an automatic email from Tourneau stating the repair cost is: $0. Yippeee! Light at the end of this never-ending tunnel! I emailed and left Rosa a voicemail regarding the automatic email. Her response: “I have no idea where that came from. It must be a glitch in the system?” “Glitch or not, you should honor this, especially with everything that has gone on.” My point fell to Rosa’s deaf ears. I went into the store; she was either “out” or “unavailable” according to the dimwits under her leadership. Said dimwits stated I could pay the $375 by credit card or check and receive a 2-year warranty to repair the watch. By this point, I had emailed Rosa the automatic Tourneau email stating my repair cost was $0 three times and I printed the email for the Tourneau dimwits to look at and make a copy of. Instead they briefly showed me my Cartier watch and immediately tucked it away in this fancy red velvet pouch with the words Cartier inscribed in gold. Oh, that’s a nice little robe for my watch to keep warm in, I thought. “Okay, you don’t seem to comprehend what I’m saying. I’m not paying anything. Look at this email!” They looked at me as if I was speaking pig or cow Latin. I left.
In these moments of frustration and blinding rage you either accept the way things are or take a stand. I chose the latter! F–k these f–k–g f–ks! I called Tourneau’s corporate customer service department and spoke to the sweetest agent named: Marjorie. I briefly explained my situation and she suggested I contact: The VP of Operations of Tourneau for the tri-state area. “Do you think he’ll get back to me?” “Oh, yes, ma’am” And did he, within 10 minutes of leaving my voicemail, Andrew Foster returned my call and said it’s been taken care of. “You may pick up your Cartier timepiece with no additional cost to you. I apologize for the ill treatment and I hope you continue to choose Tourneau for your timepiece needs.
I gave Rosa the heads up about my conversation with Andrew Foster and she immediately responded and said to pick up my watch. I went into the 6th Avenue Tourneau store for the last time and a new face helped me. They gave me my Cartier watch in a plastic zip-lock. I saw the red velvet pouch in a drawer from the corner of my eye. “Give me the red pouch, now!” I scoffed.”Oh, yes of course (as if it was an oversight)…let me get if for you.” I was on to them. Ridiculous Rosa had left word to not give me the pouch and the 2-year warranty they had offered me in a previous visit. Bitter much? I hope this tale leaves you feeling hopeful that when the man or woman tries to stick to you, you stand up for yourself and know there’s always someone more powerful rude assistant managers have to answer to.