Thursday, July 22, 2010

There's a Place

I just returned two pairs of $5.00 shorts. They were intended to be a cheap mid-season fill-in for the growing Boy.  I felt lucky to find anything so late in the season - especially at the children's store in the outlet center near where I live.  All that being said, I would rather have an induced labor with no epidural than return something at that store again.

What is the problem you ask?

First, the sales associate was not especially friendly, helpful, or efficient.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  After all, we're talking about a Place where I can buy shorts for $5.00.  When I first walked in he was all, "Welcome to the store.  If you need any help please let me know. Blah.  Blah. Blah."  I did need to ask for help. It went something like this:

"Do you have more little boys' socks?"
"Um.  Where did you find those?"
After showing the young gentleman where in his store the little boys' socks were located, he took a brief respite in the stock room for the duration of a good nose picking.  "Uh, no.  Only what is out."  And sure - I believed that the guy who couldn't find the socks on the floor of the store where he worked actually looked in the stock room.  Whatever.  Next item.
"Ok.  Do you have more sunglasses?"
A few minutes later, I found about a dozen pairs of sunglasses in the clearance bin.  And some little boys' socks too.
Terrible?  No.  Annoying?  Yes.  Frustrating?  Yes.

Second, I was the only person in the store.  Just me.  One customer.  Seeing as how I was the ONLY customer in the store would it be wrong to think it shouldn't take five-ever to do a return.  Seems like a reasonable assumption.

Finally - why OH why do they need my ID to process a credit card return?  And why OH why does the sales associate ask me for my last name after having had my ID.  In his hands.  With my last name on it.  Right there.  Doing its job.  Identifying me.  "Well I just scanned it so you are in our system."  It was very difficult to not lean over the counter and say "DUH" right in his face.  Maybe if I was taller it would have happened - but with the leaning and jumping and what-have-you that would have had to happen to do this the impact probably would not have been as profound (if it would have had any impact to begin with).

I did say, through gritted teeth, "You JUST had my ID for ten minutes."  He didn't seem to understand the relevance of this comment.

I just looked up the return policy (since the ID requirement is new).  According to the store's website my ID is now in their database.  The database is utilized to determine whether or not to authorize returns.  So basically, my ability to return merchandise which otherwise complies with the store's policies is now decided based on an algorithm in a database.  I decide one day after purchasing something to return it to the store with the receipt and the store could say, "No.  Sorry.  Database is saying no."  That is not going to work for me.  I almost never have my kids with me when I shop.  And if I do I certainly don't make them try clothes on in the store.  Maybe - despite being a large children's store - the policy makers have never tried shopping with infants, toddlers, children and various combinations thereof?  Returns are a necessity - not a luxury.

Retail randomness such as this does not play well with me.  This is a Place I will no longer be patronizing.

Photo credit:  Thomas Rockstar on Flickr

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