Look, it’s not as easy as it seems.
In the last two weeks, the Czar has had issues with Chinese products. Indeed, nearly the same issue with both.
The Царевич wanted a small, portable hard drive so that he could back up and transfer important files to and from his laptop, as well as his friends’ devices. No problem: the Czar found a decent one for $40 on Amazon.com and ordered it. It arrived, dead as a doornail, with no real packaging instructions.
Well, we’d obviously like to return it, so the Czar started the usual return process on Amazon for a defective product. Instead of Amazon customer service, we received a broken-English reply from China. China? There was no indication at any point in the ordering process that this product was arriving from overseas, although you can’t be too surprised with technology accessories these days. The seller was quite apologetic for the defective drive, and indicated that sending it back would cost more than the drive was worth.
Really? How much was this thing marked up? Since it was defective, one supposes, the drive was of course worth nothing—which is precisely what the Czar calculates the seller knew. In exchange, the seller offered, how about he offer a 45% refund, and the Czar could use that cash to have it repaired?
We took the refund and pitched the drive–this would be the last time we did business with an off-shore Amazon partner. Trying to get the rest of the cash back would be a waste of time. Thanks, Amazon. Next time, maybe, you could warn us: Please Note: This product is being sent from a company laundering money for the communist party, and you will likely get a defective product you can’t return. That might have been helpful.
One week later, the Царевич said he needed a humidifier, as his room was dry and he was getting sore throats. Since this leads to nose bleeds, this seemed a fairly serious request.
On walmart.com was a nice, compact humidifier made by a company whose name was all over various Walmart healthcare products. So we ordered it.
The box arrived a couple days later, and just in time as the weather was heating up here in Muscovy. We opened the box, and found the humidifier was in an unmarked, inner box with no instructions other than a small pamphlet warning, in broken English, not to overfill it.
The Czar called up the order on walmart.com and looked at the photo: very different product. The manufacturer wasn’t even the same. It was a total bait and switch. The Czar went to walmart.com to initiate a retun, and instead was redirected—you guessed it—to a third-party email.
Again comes the broken-English response, apologizing for us not liking the product. If it worked, would be willing to keep it in exchange for a 30% refund?
No, we replied: the product is clearly a deception and we expect a full refund.
Well, the answer comes back, the product will cost more to ship back than it’s worth; would we accept a 45% refund?
Mathematically, it means the product they sent was worth about half what the purchase price was.
No, we need an address. Reluctantly, they emailed me a New Jersey address, which some quick research shows is this big return center for a bunch of different companies.
This is ridiculous.
The Czar understands that if you want cheap technology, some or all of it is coming from China. But the Walmart web page for the product gives you zero indication this product is not from America, and not even carried by Walmart.
This leave a really bad taste in the Czar’s mouth about Walmart. Anyway, just thought you’d want to know that Walmart is shipping products designed to send money to communist China, and the Czar is hoping to be contacted by Walmart as soon as he locates the correct individuals. If anything worthwhile comes of this, we’ll let you know in an update.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.