My wife bought me a T M Lewin gift card. I forget whether it was an anniversary or birthday gift (they fall in the same month). I am hazy on the details because this was last year’s gift.
I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use the card for some time now but have not got round to it. Until yesterday. Popped into the TML store in Newcastle, lovely little shop, and wanted to use it for something there.
Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to ask the shop assistant to confirm the balance on the gift card before I attempted to use it.
‘Sorry sir this card has expired,’ she said. I raised a quizzical eyebrow in true Roger Moore style. She went on, ‘The card is only valid for 12 months and if it is not used within that time it expires and the balance is forfeited.’
My heart sank. Actually, that’s not true. I panicked. Panic might sound a somewhat extreme reaction. But you see I have previous form in this area.
Some years ago my wife bought me an experience voucher. You know the type; present the voucher and you can drive a Ferrari on a race track, or go hot air ballooning, or horseback riding, quad biking, paintballing, etc. I was really quite excited about it but didn’t act quickly and the company went bust. So a few months later when I tried to book my ‘experience’ I couldn’t and the money was gone. She was not best pleased.
A few years later she had forgiven me sufficiently to buy me a similar type experience voucher as a gift for some other occasion. Let’s just say that I still haven’t got round to booking the experience. Every time she remembers this I get a well deserved rollicking for it. It’s not that I’m not interested, believe me I am; but for some reason I am terrible at remembering to book these things. I’d be much better off if it were booked and I was told, ‘You’re going on the 29th; so clear your diary dude.’
So when the shop assistant said, ‘Sorry sir, your card has expired,’ I thought…, well I better not say exactly what I thought, but broadly speaking I saw a future in which my beloved and longsuffering wife was going to kill me. After all if this man of hers could not be relied upon to use a gift card from his Favourite Gentlemen’s Outfitters then any kind of gift card or voucher was pointless. Plus once might be a mistake, twice might be forgivable, but three times is really to empty one’s bladder in public!
I would like to offer three arguments in my defence. First, the TML gift card can only be used in store. It can’t be used for purchases from their online site. Unfortunately, I rarely shop in store these days. In the last year I have spent rather more than the total on the gift card in TML but all of it has been online.
Second, the small print which indicates that the card expires in 12 months is very small indeed so I had no idea there was an expiry date.
Third, the receipt which accompanied the card did not have a date on it. So even if I had known that it expired 12 months after purchase there was no way to tell what was the date of purchase.
Now to be fair I am very clear in my mind that these 3 arguments would carry exactly zero weight should my wife ever find out. So I was trying to work out whether it was possible to ensure that she never did. Sometimes truth and disclosure can be overrated….
But then TML came to the rescue. The shop assistant having delivered her devastating news must have seen the panic in my eyes. She suggested I contact their Customer Services Department and explain my case. She didn’t think my chances were good as the card does clearly state that it expires after 12 months, but it was worth a shot.
So first thing this morning I sent off an email with photos of the card and receipt attached explaining what had happened and requested a refund. Within minutes I had a response indicating that my query had been logged and was being addressed. Within a few hours I received confirmation that a replacement gift card was being sent out today. TML were very clear that this was a one off goodwill gesture.
With any luck the replacement card will arrive tomorrow. Whew! That was a close one. I may yet avoid being flayed by an exasperated and longsuffering spouse.
Once the card arrives I intend to use it as quickly as I can to avoid any further unpleasantness (Sometimes sacrifices have to be made). And speaking of unpleasantness, let’s be very clear, I expect still be in the doghouse for this. And I imagine I can expect a (well deserved) repeat rollicking for the previous occasions.
Nonetheless, I am grateful that T M Lewin came to the rescue. It’s another reason that they remain My Favourite Gentlemen’s Outfitters.