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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 2:25 pm | A Few Clouds 61º


Paul Burri: Original Packaging

Trying to open a new electronic device is just the first problem

I must live under an unlucky star because everything seems to happen to me. Here’s my latest story.

Paul Burri
Paul Burri

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a small electronic device. With shipping and handling, it came to $32.19, and it arrived in a few days. It came in one of those impossible-to-open plastic packages that require industrial-grade equipment to open. Fortunately, I still own some industrial-grade tools, and I finally got it open.

I connected the device and it worked fine for about a week and a half. Then it quit. I assumed it was a defective battery and replaced it. It worked fine for another several days, and then it quit again. Two defective batteries in a row? At that point I called the company to ask for a replacement.

You will not be surprised that I had to provide every bit of my personal information, the date of the order, the order number, the model number, the serial number and my grandmother’s address in the Old Country before I could explain my problem to someone. Finally the person asked me about the problem. She told me I could return the item for a credit or replacement.

Then she added, “You need to return it in its original packaging.”

First of all, who saves the original packaging? Do you save the receipts you get at the grocery store or at McDonald’s? How long should I save them? Seven years? If I saved all my sales receipts — much less the original packaging — I’d need three more rooms in my house.

I told the young lady that I had destroyed the packaging in trying to get to the product and that in any case, I never save the original packaging. She didn’t seem to understand that I was unable to return the product in its original packaging.

Yes, I understand that the poor girl was just following her directions, so I asked to speak to her supervisor, who seemed nice enough. She even seemed to understand about not saving the packaging, but she did mention that there was a simple way to remove the product — and without industrial equipment. I was surprised to hear that and asked if there were product removal instructions on the package. She admitted that she didn’t know if there were.

Although the supervisor was willing to accept the product, she asked that I try replacing the battery one more time. If it didn’t work then, I could return the product.

I replaced the battery for the second time. So far it seems to be working. What are the odds of getting three sets of defective batteries in a row?

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer and iconoclast. He is not in the advertising business, but he is a small-business counselor with the Santa Barbara chapter of Counselors to America’s Small Business-SCORE. The opinions and comments in this column are his alone and do not represent the opinions or policies of any outside organization. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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