World versus Telstra

I went along with Miriam to the nearest Telstra Shop. We waited for someone to help us. It was very busy this lunch time.

Finally, Graeme beckoned us to the counter. Miriam brought out her new phone car charger. She had bought it at another Telstra shop in Wodonga, around 4.5 hours north-east of Melbourne. It turned out that the charger didn’t fit her phone, even though she had shown the store assistants the phone she needed the charger for.

Miriam politely asked for a refund; the other store had assured her she could get a refund from any other Telstra shop. Graeme looked surprised.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell this phone charger. It’s not even in our inventory… so I can’t give you a refund for it.”

“What do you mean? I bought it at a Telstra Shop.”

“Well, yes, it was probably a licenced Telstra Shop, you know, a franchise shop. Most of the Telstra Shops in the city are owned by Telstra but Telstra also franchises the shop, especially in rural areas. The franchises can sell whatever they like. The Telstra-owned shops have a strict inventory. Now, if this charger was part of our inventory, I could refund the money for you but…” He shrugged helplessly.

Miriam gave him a hard look. “Well. What should I do, then? Do I need to courier this to Wodonga?”

Graeme looked uncomfortable. “Well, you could…” All three of us were thinking about the high cost of couriers. “Try calling the Wodonga shop first,” he suggested.

Awkward silence. Miriam looked polite but she must have been frustrated.

Suddenly, a large brown bird flew in and dived over Graeme’s head.

“It’s an Optus bird!” I cried. “He’s come to get you!”

Graeme and the other store owners paused in confusion, then laughed. I could tell it was nervous laughter.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just say the word, just say the word…

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