No good Deed goes unpunished
I wore many hats during my almost ten year span at Alienware and one of those hats was of an RMA clerk. RMA stands for Return Merchandise Authorization which means when you have a product that is broken or in need of exchange you send it to RMA and you either receive a repaired part or a brand new part.
As you can imagine with high end gaming machines you get a lot of parts mostly because people wanted to continue upgrades. I will take credit for introducing a better way to keep track of merchandise which came out of me not wanting to write everything by hand. The result of this was at the end of the month when we did our count it was easy to keep track of everything I received and sent out.
Now I won’t get into to many details, but when you do a monthly count there can be mistakes. Sometimes something was entered wrong or something is missing or mislabeled. Believe me it happens everywhere and when you have hundreds and thousands of parts you are bound to misplace some without it meaning it was stolen.
When a count is off there is a secondary audit. Yes, sometimes you have to write off a loss, but remember, Alienware used high end parts not cheap stuff so we did not like writing things off or losing things for that matter. So when an audit is done everyone has to hand count everything and do their best to make sure all items are accounted for.
At the end of an audit if there is still missing items it has to be written off, but this makes us look bad even if it happens everywhere. The key of course it to make the write off as low as possible and for the most part we did every well in not having to write off stuff as far as I know.
However, sometimes it happened and we were all reminded to double our efforts to make sure the next count would be better. I prided myself in not having to write off much in my department that was until one day when a large number of COA’s were missing.
COA’s are those windows stickers with the windows product keys on them. For Alienware those COA’s are the same as having the disc and are needed when we send them to Microsoft. We take the COA’s off of systems that were returned and cancelled.
My job was once I had a large batch of COA’s I was to take them to our returns accountant. Well when the COA’s came up missing I told my boss I gave it to her. Honestly, I thought I had. They asked her for them and she could not find them and so they were written off, but they were upset because it was a lot of money and was a mistake she was not known to make.
After the audit I cleaned my work space and found the COA’s stuck to a stack of papers I had printed just before the audit. Now I could have kept quiet and no one would have known, but the return accountant lady was my friend and damn me for having a conscious.
I took the COA’s to my boss who just gave me the “You screwed up look.” Here I thought they would be happy it wouldn’t be a write off, but I guess they had already sent notice to Microsoft so to undo it kind of looked bad and so the raff came back onto me.
In the end all I got was a write up which really didn’t mean anything considering my good record before and since then, but it still pissed me off to have gotten one. The important thing was the accountant lady did not take the rap and I apologized to her for the mistake and we became great friends even to this day.
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