I recently went to Ridgeway Office Machines in Cleburne, Texas, to purchase a typewriter to donate to the new Grandview, Texas, Public Library.
The man who waited on me (possibly the owner?) Ronald Kubicek, sold me a used electronic Adler typewriter for $125, which I considered and very reasonable amount. The machine looked good and seemed to work well.
Several of us at the library attempted to use the typewriter and gave up. The machine was fine, but it didn't work like any other typewriter any of us had every used. We couldn't figure out how to set the margins, for one thing. It had a large carriage, and we were typing small cards and book pockets, which everyone tried to put in the carriage on the left side. That didn't work--you had to put everything in the CENTER of the carriage, but we had no instructions or user's manual to tell us this. The book pockets were thicker than a sheet of paper or a file card and would hardly feed into the machine.
Finally, after several months of no one being able to use the machine, I went back to the store to talk to Ronald about our problems. I asked him if I could make some sort of trade with him for a used IBM typewriter (or a similar, familiar machine) for the Adler. He reluctantly said yes, but I would have to bring the Adler back first and let him check it to make sure it was OK. (It was.) He showed me a used IBM he had in stock, typed on it some to show me it worked well, but he would discuss trading only after I brought back the other machine.
I brought the Adler back to the store the following day and left it there for Ronald to check out (he was out on a service call at the time). I left a note asking if we were going to be able to swap even or if I would owe him more money for the trade giving him both my telephone number and the library number. For over 2 months, I heard nothing. I called several times, got the answering machine or another employee who couldn't help me. Finally I called and was able to get hold of Ronald. He came to the telephone and said he would make the exchange with me for $25, and I said fine.
I went in to pick up the IBM, and he gave me an old badly scarred machine with paint rubbed off down to the metal. I really didn't want something that looked that bad, and would have paid more for a better machine, but had fooled with this situation so long that I just gave him the money and left.
Two days later our librarian called and said the correction feature would not work (one of the things I had told him was very important to us, as we had an assortment of volunteers typing). She also said the lock that held the type ball in place was missing. As far as the library was concerned, the machine was useless to us.
We plan to talk to him again and see if he will make this right. The IBM typewriter he gave me wasn't the one he showed me when I first talked to him about an exchange. If he had sold that one in the meantime, it was because I was never able to contact him to complete the trade after I returned the Adler, and he wouldn't call me. However, even if he makes this right, I wouldn't recommend doing business with this company if this is how they treat a customer. The irony is, I traded in an old, dirty IBM typewriter that badly needed cleaning for the Adler machine due to his urging. This man is not trying to keep his customers happy--just make a sale.