I hated returning anything in Spain. Customer service is nonexistent when you want to spend money–hopeless if you are returning something. The customer is never right; the customer is barely important. You can find quality, but sometimes it might take a few tries. I still miss Spain and love the Spanish people, but I don’t miss shopping in Spain–I miss the fresh bread, coffee and chocolate–but not the shopping experience.
If you want to match a color, make sure you have enough paint.
We were so relieved in our first few months in Spain when we were able to get the right color of paint for the living room– “Clinique yellow” (I had Clinique lotion and thought the yellow shade would be perfect for our walls.)We couldn’t believe we were able to use our beginner Spanish and left the store with the right color. The color looked perfect on our walls and transformed our living room. My husband had learned from experience not to buy too much paint to avoid waste. He was a bit off in his calculations though, and we ended up having to go back to the store for more. He thought they would be able to match the same color again. No, we ended up with a wall a bit darker than the others–live and learn.
Don’t buy shirts with holes in them.
I was so pleased with my great buy at one of my favorite stores in Spain (Zara) and couldn’t wait to wear my new white shirt, until I got home and realized there was a hole in it. I hate trying things on and didn’t see the hole. I was so annoyed that I had to go back and exchange my shirt. I had lived in Spain for awhile and knew not to expect any apologies from the store attendant. Afterall, it wasn’t their fault they sold me a shirt with a hole in it! I braced myself as I went up to the counter and showed them the shirt. It was just an even exchange–how hard could that be? Well, here’s the translated conversation:
“I bought this shirt and didn’t see it had a hole in it until I got home. Here is my receipt– I just want to exchange it for another one, okay?”
“What? Let me see.”
She looks at the hole, then focuses her suspicious eyes on my forehead
“Just a minute, I need to call my manager.”
Enter, the manager
“Yes, what is the problem?”
“I bought this shirt and then discovered this hole–when I got home–can I just get another one–same price–same size?”
“What? Just a minute.”
Manager gets on phone, says “Si” and “Vale” a few times and hangs up.
“We will let you exchange it this time, but don’t ever buy a shirt with a hole in it again!”
“Okay, I will try not too.”
Customer tries to remember to be more careful next time.
Don’t buy the cheapest hammer even though they are overpriced.
In Spain, if you ever move into a house you’ll have to connect the lights to the wires hanging from the ceiling and install towel holders, toilet paper holders, cabinets and many other things and that’s if your renting. You need to be a bit handy and you need a good hammer, drill and not be afraid of electrocution. We had learned from experience not to buy the cheapest of any item in Spain. You needed to go up at least one price level. My husband went to the hardware store and bought the next to the cheapest hammer. He came home, hammered once and the hammer broke. He took it back, bought a more expensive one, took it home, hammered once and it broke. He took it back, and bought the most expensive hammer at the store–that hammer is still in his tool box, resting by the other tools, while my husband recovers from his installation and hair-raising wiring experiences.