Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Monday, August 27, 2007

You Can't Return Things You Bought to Serbian Store (At Least Not Easily)

Before coming here I'd heard that customer service pretty much anywhere outside the US and Canada was fairly bad. OK, at least by our standards. For example, France is infamous for shopstaff ignoring customers or saying they don't have something that's clearly in stock. So I braced myself for bad service from Serbs.

Actually it's not remotely a problem ... at first glance. Most of the shops I've been in are overstaffed given their size and low customer numbers. (I think this is a holdover from communist times when stores were operated by the State and everyone possible was given a job.) So, staff are a bit bored and eager to help you out. Plus, Serbs are outgoing, social people at heart, so chatting with customers is a delight for them.

I only saw the "dark side" of shopping in Serbia when we got things home, and they weren't perfect for our needs. (Example: a fan was broken, a chair was too short for the table.) There's nothing wrong with that... until you realize that Serb stores are *extremely* reluctant to give exchanges or refunds. Actually a refund in most cases is out of the question and an exchange, even for the same thing or for store credit is going to take pushing.

It's a case of buyer beware. Only buy if you're sure you can stand to lose the money if the item doesn't work out. Which is why I'm sitting at a stumpy office chair with the PC keyboard high up on the table above me. My husband says he can build me a little wooden platform for the chair to sit on. But, his eyes tell me this is all my fault for not making sure the chair would extend as high as I needed it before we left the store. As an American consumer, I have a lot of retraining to do before I can be trusted with major purchases here!

1 comment:

Evolve said...

hehehe, this is so true!!