George Morlan is an Oregon-based plumbing supply store that prides itself on customer service. Since they’re local and I like supporting local business when it’s not too terrifically to my detriment, from George Morlan we’ve purchased our water heater and, more recently, our new toilet and most of our bathroom fixtures. That background out of the way, prepare thyself for Ty’s latest tale of woe. Soon enough, I am sure, I shall have a corner on the market.

George Morlan is running a special sale at their Tigard store. The toilet we bought three weeks ago for $369, and which has sat unopened in the garage for that time, is now on sale for $269. (That’s a lot of money, but it’s a heckuva toilet.) So yesterday I took my receipt, went to the Salem George Morlan store and asked about any sort of price protection, since as you may know, both Lowe’s Home Improvement and Home Depot offer 30-day low price guarantees. George Morlan, apparently, does not—even within their own chain. I could understand a local not matching a national retailer, given economies of scale and such, but I would have thought that there would be some kind of price protection within the same chain. Nope, Ty gets penalized for buying local, though the customer service guy I talked with adamantly refused to see it in those terms.

So after that rather disappointing experience yesterday, I called up the Salem George Morlan store this morning to try a new tack. I asked about their return policy. Unopened box with the receipt? No problem. Full refund. So then I explained about the sale in Tigard—I left out additional commentary about how running a sale at one store instead of chain-wide in so small a geographic region is a poor business concept—and asked if there were some way I could get the $100 credit through the Salem store instead of making a return and driving to Tigard. This got me put on hold and ultimately transferred to the manager. I explained about Tigard sale and asked if I could get credit at the Salem store—essentially what I’d asked the day before.

The answer? Not so much, no. Despite a corporate credo which begins, “George Morlan Plumbing is a place where total customer satisfaction is our foremost concern,” there was apparently no way they were going to just give me a $100 refund. I didn’t say so, but I find it unbelievably stupid that customers should have to jump through such hoops, but $100 is $100, and if I have to drive to Tigard to get it, that’s what I’ll do. So I asked the manager if I could just bring in the toilet for a full refund. He replied very slowly and in tones which I took to indicate he by no means approved, “Yes, that is our return policy.” Yeah, you have a nice day, too.

So I returned the toilet to the Salem store for the full refund without issue, and I’ll be driving to Tigard tomorrow.

I don’t know which I find dumber, the George Morlan shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot corporate policy of not allowing other stores to match in-chain pricing, or the attitude of the George Morlan Salem flunkies who are seemingly oblivious to the distrust and disappointment this policy sows. I’m not certain they even conceive of how this policy runs against their own corporate credo, but maybe, once again, my expectations of humanity are set too high.

Anyway, they’ve got a fair selection of good products, relatively low pricing all things considered, and, reasonably helpful (if a little dim) employees. Nonetheless, George Morlan Plumbing, caveat emptor.