In Which I Defeat The French Shop Owner

Today my boss called me into her office and presented me with a rumpled paper bag from the chi-chi boutique next door to us. In it was a necklace; a single, HUGE glass bead on a thick silver chain; one of those things that you buy because it's gorgeous in and of itself but realize you can't actually pull off when you try to wear it (proof that even Manolo clad 5th Avenue ladies can have an off purchase now and then). She needed me to return it; she didn't want to deal with the lady who owns the shop. Did I think, she asked, that I could handle it?

Can I handle it?! Pshaw! I am the master.

My grandmother is ruthless when it comes to returns; I've seen her return footwear worn, a year later, without a receipt, and I have taken notes. I promised to return with at least store credit.

(By the way, if you think I'm taking this all way too seriously, you're wrong. Trust me.)

I walked into the shop ready for haggling. The store owner was on the phone having an animated conversation in French, and she made me wait while she finished the phone call (I meanwhile fell in love with a chandelier or two, but they're really expensive. Still, I need something for my breakfast nook. Anyway.)

When she finally was able to talk to me, she peered at the necklace, than the receipt, than the necklace again. She held it up to the light, turning it and inspecting it ruthlessly. She furrowed her brow and shook her head.

"I cannot tek zis bak!" she declared, and when I raised an eyebrow she whipped out a black velvet panel and laid it down to show me why. "Iz chipped!"

She pointed at one or two tiny flecks on the gigantic bead that came off when I touched them. She scowled at me and rubbed the necklace with her shirt, muttering, while I told her (not knowing if it was actually true or not) that it had never been worn and had never been out of the bag.

We argued for about five minutes. The receipt was dated April. "Iz too long!", she said. I countered with, "Do you have an official policy on that?" She did not. She pointed out more "chips" and I pointed out that they were actually dust.

She buffed the bead, hemmed and hawed, and finally declared she would take it back, but only for store credit. I pretended that was our compromise, and returned to the office triumphant.

Gram is going to be proud when I tell her.