Happy endings are hard to come by in dealing with big business, but here’s one to share. It didn’t come easily, but it was worth it — to the tune of hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars.
I had been fully prepared to blast Target in this space if it wouldn’t send me a simple one-paragraph letter on company letterhead. But someone at corporate headquarters saw the light and did the right thing.
Target had initially refused to send me a letter verifying that on a certain date I added my domestic partner as an authorized user on my credit card. We needed this as a proof of status to add Michelle to my health insurance policy. Target’s refusal would have delayed this and forced her to continue paying monthly premiums on another policy.
Several weeks of phone calls and e-mails finally resulted in a letter granting my request. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. I even had Michelle open the letter, because I didn’t want to read any bad news myself.
So instead of bashing or boycotting Target, I will give credit where it’s due and continue to shop there.
The lesson here, though, is not that Big Bad Corporations Have a Heart. It’s that consumers have to advocate for themselves, sometimes relentlessly. Don’t take “No” for an answer, even if it takes time and saps your energy.
And if you do find yourself in this kind of battle, be firm but not nasty. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, my parents always said. Appeal to the company’s sense of humanity, or at least their grasp of public relations — most are well aware that social media can create nightmares for bad actors.
As a holiday bonus, I can also report a positive resolution to another confounding situation with a large corporate-like entity, the U.S. Postal Service. A birthday package I had sent via two-day Priority Mail to my son in Seattle was “lost” for almost two weeks.
The box finally arrived in one piece, its contents intact. A postal clerk in my hometown was relentless in his pursuit of finding out why the package kept bouncing from state to state on the West Coast before it was delivered. He was apologetic, and insisted I come in for a refund. You can bet I did.
The clerk was very gracious, and the experience left me even more confident in the Postal Service — even though no one knows why the package earned so many frequent flier miles. But a happy ending is a happy ending.