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. Continue reading →