Running Holiday Gift Suggestions
How not to do business
I had a very bad shopping experience this past week. I'd misplaced my gloves, looked everywhere for them and decided I'd have to replace them; there have been a few cold days recently. So, my list of errands took me to a nearby department store where I knew I would probably find a pair to my liking. The list included a new winter cap and an additional pair of jeans, if I was able to find a pair that fit.
I found acceptable gloves (over priced), a pair of jeans that actually fit and a very cute hat that also fit and stayed on my head.
It wasn't busy so I didn't have to wait for a cashier. She began ringing up my items as I looked in my purse for my debit card to find my card case missing. I asked her to stop as I kept looking but she ignored me. (Nobody was waiting behind me) I asked her to stop again and told her I must have left my cards home. I asked her if she could hold the items for me while I went home to get my cards. She finished ringing up all the items and handed me a slip with some numbers on it and the word suspended. She asked me if I was coming back and I told her I expected to be back in about half an hour.
When I returned, the cashier who had rung up my items wasn't visible. I waited a few minutes then asked the next nearest cashier about her and told her what had happened. She told me to look behind the other cashier's counter. Really? I didn't think it was a good idea but I did what she suggested. I didn't see anything and told her so. She told me to go round that cashier's station and look from the other side. That seemed an even worse idea but I did it. Again, I didn't see a bag or anything and told her that. She said she didn't know if that cashier was returning and that I should go to Customer Service and waved her hand toward the other side of the store.
When I got to that end of the store, there were more cashier stations and some set back but the sign didn't say Customer Service, it said Returns and Checkout. But, I waiting in line until I was able to tell my situation again to the cashier there and showed her the "suspend" slip. She said it meant the items weren't rung up - I hadn't paid for them and they had probably been returned to the racks.
I was angry and left. What I hadn't thought to ask either cashier was why I'd been asked if I was coming back if the items weren't going to be held for me. I went home angry and frustrated and wanted to write to the manager who, as a manager of quite a few large, public institutions, I hold responsible for not having trained store staff and for not setting up procedures and communications methods that benefit customers.
Words mean something; they aren't just sounds that come out of mouths. I was asked if I was coming back. I said yes and gave a clear time frame. I wasn't told where the items might be when I returned and I failed to ask. When I returned, nobody thought it was important whether or not I was satisfied shopping there or whether or not I got the items I came back for.
As a customer, and someone who has spent most of my adult life working in public service, this is NOT the way to do business. But, I understand that national chains can afford to be indifferent and cavalier toward their customers which is why shopping at local, independent businesses is a better shopping experience.