Return policy dampens viewer’s joy

By Grant McGee: CNJ Columnist

The high shopping days of the holiday season have begun. With all of this stuff made in China and by giant corporations I found out that old saying of “Let the buyer beware” applies more now than ever.

Let me tell you the story of a DVD box set, an entertainment store, a large American entertainment corporation and me, a guy who just wanted to watch his favorite TV show.

Imagine my surprise when I got something right off my Christmas wish list last year. It was season four of the greatest television show ever produced by mankind: “Northern Exposure.” Dozens of episodes with no commercial interruption, what a great gift!

When Christmas was over I filed the box set away. There would be great TV to watch when the networks went to summer re-runs.

So when “American Idol” had a new winner, when “CSI” started pulling up episodes from months gone by it was time to break open my “Northern Exposure” box set.

We started running into trouble on disc two when the shows started freezing up. I cleaned the DVD player, popped the disc back in, it still froze up. I popped the disc in our computer, same thing happened. I realized I was in possession of a defective DVD.

The Lady of the House dug around in her files and found the receipt for the box set. You know, when I first started hanging around with her I thought her habit of keeping receipts and owner’s manuals was kind of obsessive. It turns out it’s kind of handy. I’d always thrown the things away.

Feeling well-armed with receipt in hand I called the entertainment store. I found myself on the phone with a clerk obviously in her 20s.
“I’m sorry sir,” she said, her speech punctuating her chewing something, gum I assumed. “We have a 30-day return policy.”

“But I have a receipt. I got it as a gift for Christmas. I’m just now getting around to watching it.”

“Sorry sir,” (more smacking), “30 days.”

“Hang on a second.” I was hoping to reason with her. “You get something for Christmas, you open it months later, it’s defective, what would you do?”

“I would have watched it over one weekend right after I got it,” she said.

I held the phone away from my face and looked at it in disbelief. I put the phone back to my ear. “There are 25 episodes. You’d sit and watch all 25 in one weekend?”


I finished the call and looked at The Lady of the House. “Where does someone have the time to sit and watch 25 hours worth of TV in one weekend?”

“If you were in your 20s, you’d make the time.”

I looked up the Super Large Entertainment Corporation that made the discs to see about an exchange. Their Web site directed me to outline my complaint and they’d be back with me in three to four weeks. That was months ago.

I ended up finding another copy, a used copy, of my box set for a decent price on the Internet. We finally got to see the episodes that were on the defective DVD.

So this year, if Santa Claus leaves me the next season of “Northern Exposure” under the tree I’ll ponder if I’m going to spend a whole weekend watching all the episodes.

Nothing wrong with channeling my inner 20-something, is there?

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: