March 4, 2009

the waiting game

I'm a craft store's dream. Instead of spending my free time at the local malls and perusing the clothing stores, I opt to go to my local craft store and oogle and explore all the new gadgets, gizmos, and trinkets that may spark a well-deserved creative rush. Yesterday was no exception. After being home for a few days without stepping out into the neighborhood, I boldly told hubby I would be taking a couple hours of "alone time" to save my sanity. He ushered me out of the house without haste. I headed for the local Hobby Lobby a few miles away and happily entered the store. Now, I have had a few complaints about this store, one of which has to be their phenomenally slow service. Even with 3 registers open, you still have to wait in line for about 5-10 minutes. If you're looking to go in and get out quickly, 86 this store off your list. But, for some odd reason, I still keep going there. Which brings me to my next set of complaints. Here's a sample scenario. You go to a store and see something that catches your eye in an aisle. You ogle it, examine it, leave it, walk around, come back to it, and realize that you want it. The defining factor is the price. You happen to see a clear sign above it with that particular brand that says, "On Sale for $xx." There usually isn't a 'fine print' date on the sign, so you pick it up, because you're thinking, this is a pretty good deal. You line up at the registers and after waiting for the slow cashier to finally get to you. She eyes your item, looks at a sale sheet on her counter, and she rings up your sale item; only it doesn't ring up with the sale price you saw in the aisle sign. Now you've been waiting in line for quite some time. You tell her, this thing was on sale, with a sign clearly stating so. She says it's not listed on her sale sheet. Now, you are faced with a dilemma. You were not the only one waiting in line. In fact, the line behind you is longer now because only 3 registers are open and the other two cashiers are just as slow. One: Do you make a big stink about the 'sale' discrepancy and make the other folks behind you wait some more and give you rolled eyes and the lot? Two: Do you just say "Nevermind" and pay for the item at full price so as to not look like the jackass that made everyone wait in line longer? It's bad enough the frickin' cashier is not the brightest light in the chandelier and she more than likely doesn't even want to be working there in the first place. Three: Do you just forget about the purchase, have the cashier cancel the damn transaction, and head out the store? But man, you could've used that really cool item. I've experienced this situation at this particular local craft store more than a few times and I am convinced this is a deceptive sales practice. You see your item in the back of this huge store, pick it up because you clearly see on a sign it's on sale, you walk all the way to the front to pay for it, get in line for about 10 minutes, hand it to the cashier and she says it's not on sale. I observed a woman at the checkout yesterday while at this store, with the exact same situation. She pursued option No. 1 (see above). After ringing up all her items, she stops to question the cashier about the yarn and whether or not they rang up at the sale price. She tells the cashier, "There's a sign back there that says, this yarn is $1.79." She had 3 skeins of them. The cashier says, "These aren't on my sale list here." The customer insists, "But there's a sign back there on the aisle." The cashier makes an announcement over the speaker, "Can an associate in needlework please call register --?" After a few minutes, someone calls her back. "A customer here says the Aunt Lydia crochet thread is on sale for $1.79 -- can you check the price?" Then 'the wait' commences. The woman at the register is standing her ground, but clearly there is an uncomfortable silence between her, the cashier, and me, because I am next in line and wondering WTF is taking so damn long. The cashier even has enough time to tap her fingers on the register and decide she has enough time to change the tape roll in her register. Yeah, that long. The customer never falters. She stands tall and will not give in to the relatively lengthy wait. The associate finally calls back and confirms the price. The cashier boldly says to the customer, "$1.79", as if to confirm, 'yeah okay, you were right' and fixes the prices. Overall, I think I waited in line for more than 10 minutes, right up at the cashier. Ridiculous. Okay, so maybe I'm the dummy to tolerate waiting in line for that long. But, I honestly think the signs are deceptive and it is only when you insist at the front register and appear to have the will to wait, will they give you the price. That is wrong. It can't be coincidence that this has happened to me more than 3 times and I observe it firsthand with someone else. After last night, I am convinced they are deliberately taking advantage of the customers, who, after waiting in line for an unreasonably long time, will just pay for the item at full price to avoid having to make others wait; or having to wait again for the store personnel to check. I find it hard to believe that for a store that size (and it's a chain store) they do not communicate with their cashiers, who are at the front lines, what is on sale and not? Even with in-store sales they should have an easy reference given to them. C'mon. I don't buy it. I frequented the Joann's Superstore in Las Vegas a lot, and have never encountered problems like this store. I'm getting off my soap box now. I probably shouldn't go there anymore. We'll see.


Sashi said...

No retail store is perfect, especially when it comes to mom and pop stores (which this one sounds like). If you feel strongly enough about it you could launch a one-woman campaign to improve customer service there by conducting your own little survey to see how many customers feel the same as you. Then you can present this to the manager as hard evidence that they should probably think about improving their customer service. Takes a little drive but if you feel passionately enough about it....?

Troi said...

I've got a lighter and some gasoline...problem solved.

Just Kidding

Next time you go, take cell phone pics of the sale items and just show them when they try to pull the wool on you.

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