Monday, April 14, 2008

Big Store vs Little Customer....

What is it with these big stores..? They put up clearance racks, discount price signs, "on sale" signs, then load up the referenced rack/shelf/bin with stuff is isn't on sale. I happen to be one of those people who watches everything that's scanned. In fact, I actually prefer to use the self-scanners, 'cuz I prefer to bag my stuff myself (one of my things..we'll cover that later *Grin*). But I see a LOT of people who don't pay attention to what's being scanned. These stores have a great scam going on. and they ALL do it. Because I do pay attention, I know this. There isn't a trip to Walmart, Kmart or Meijers that finds every item ringing up for the price listed on the shelf tag or sign over it.

A perfect example happened about 6 years ago, I had taken my oldest son to one of the above stores (I won't say which, as it doesn't really matter, they ALL DO IT) to get some new clothes for school. It was getting cold and he had outgrown most of his winter stuff. We wandered for a while, then came across a large display of men's sweater. When I say large, I mean about 15-20 rows across, and about 10-12 feet high, they were 1.5 foot by 1.5 foot boxes, stacked and filled with merchandise. On top of this display was a sign that said "All Men's (brand) Sweaters, $13.99)". Woohoo! Now I love me a bargain, and I have tried to instill that love into my children. We looked at that display and felt like we had hit the jackpot. There were sweaters with $35.99 price tags on them in there! Tony picked out about 5 of them he liked, we moseyed some more, and finally headed to the check out.

Imagine my (not) surprise when they rang up the sweaters and they didn't ring at the sale price...

Me: "Um...those are all supposed to be $13.99"

Cashier: "Yeah, the tag says  $35.99, and that's what it's ringing up"

Me: "There's a HUGE display over there, with a great big sign that says "All men's (brand) sweaters $13.99". It's right there *pointing*"

Cashier: Looks toward display, "Yeah, that's only for certain ones"

Me; "Huh..? It doesn't say that on the says ALL"

Cashier: "I'm sorry ma'am, these are ringing the correct price"

Me: *steaming and cussing under my breath* "I'd like to speak to a manager, please."

Cashier: "Uhhhhh....I'll see if I can get one."

So, there we stood, waiting on the manager. This is another thing that gets my goat...why do I have to wait 15-20 minutes for a manager to materialize? So we waited, and waited, and waited...

Finally some young kid who didn't look much older than my son came over.

Manager: "What's the problem, ma'am?"

Me: "Well, your big, bright, yellow sign over there says "All Men's (brand) Sweaters are $13.99." These came from the display. I can take you over there and show you more just like them, still on the display..."

Manager: "Hmmm...*looks toward display* I can't make out what it says from here..." and starts to walk that way. I joined him.

Meanwhile my poor son (he was about 16 at this point in time) is cringing, wishing he had never agreed to come. He coulda just worn the stuff he had...after all, who needs a warm belly or ankles..?

As we approached the big wall of sweaters, the "manager" looks up at the sign and says

Manager: "This is only for selected sweaters..."

Me: (after re-reading the sign...nope, the words didn't change...there wasn't any small print, or numbers on the bottom) "Where exactly on that sign do you see that..?"

Manager; "Oh, it's not on the sign."

Me: "Huh..? It's not on the sign..? Then how would I, as a customer, know which it pertains to..?"

Manager: "Well, you see how it's only over the one row? It only applies to the sweaters in that row."

Me: "Huh..? You have 20 rows of sweaters, all in a wall, all together, all (brand), with a sign that says "All Men's (brand) sweaters $13.99" but it only applies to one row of said sweaters..? How many people have you deceived with this?"

Manager: *mouth hanging open* "Uh, uh, uh...We haven't deceived anyone..."

Me: "Oh really? I want the sweaters at this price."

Manager: "I'm sorry, ma'am. It is only for selected sweaters. I can't do that."

Me: "Fine. I want the store manager...and before you try to say there isn't one here, I used to work for this company and I KNOW there is one in store at all times."

Manager: *turning slightly paler "Uh..ok, I'll see if I can find him." (Again with the find him..? What's up with that?)

Another 20 minutes. Another 5 people decide it's in their interest to go to a different line.

Finally an older man in a suit comes to the register.

Big Dog: "I understand there's a problem here. How can I help you?"

Me - went through the whole thing AGAIN...

Big Dog: "Hmmm..." and walks toward the display. Again, I join him.

Big Dog: "This sign only refers to the sweaters in this you see how it is above them..?"

Me: "I see 20 rows of sweaters, all the same brand, the brand referenced on your sign. I see a sign above ALL 20 ROWS. What I don't see is anything that would make me think the sign is only for one row. Me or any other customer. Don't you think that's a bit deceptive on your part? How many people do you think have picked up sweaters, along with 150 other things ("cuz these big stores now sell EVERYTHING from tires to eggs) and ended up paying $35 for something they thought was $13?"

Big Dog: "Ma'am, I can see you're upset. I apologize for any misunderstanding (You know the whole smooth manager schpiel) . But that sign DOES refer to only the one row..."

Me: "What happened to truth in advertising? I'm aware it was originally intended to regulate widespread, multi-media advertisements, but I still think this would fall under that...I'd be happy to check with the Attorney General's office for clarification.."

Big Dog (heh! I typed Big Dig "I'm fairly certain that doesn't apply to this. However here at (store name) we want our customers to feel that we care about them. I'll be happy to have that sign removed. Also, since you feel you were "deceived" I'll be happy to give you the sweaters at $13.99."

Me: "I would appreciate that."

And we went back to the register where Big Dog proceeded to tell the cashier to ring at $13.99. I also saw someone go back there and take down the sign.

Feeling like I had won a small victory for shoppers everywhere (ok, in the Indy area) we went home and about our lives. I'd like to add that I went back to that store 2 days later and the sign was back up.

Why do they feel they can get away with this? Oh yeah, BECAUSE WE LET THEM. 9 out of 10 people are in a hurry, yelling at kids, talking on the cell phone, and just generally not paying attention when they check out, so the stores make all kinds of money, money we (the consumer) didn't intend to spend, with the customers (me & you) being none the wiser. Start paying attention people, and raise a stink when you catch it, and maybe they'll stop (yeah, right). Unless of course you have excess money to give away to companies that already make ungodly amounts of profits. (If you do have extra money, please leave a comment and I'll be happy to give you my address, you can send it to me...)

That's all for now.


Anji said...

I was amazed to read this. In Europe they are obliged to be 100% clear and refund if neccesary. That way they are careful to get it right.

Dawtch said...

Not here...this happens ALL THE TIME...almost every store does it. They try to give you a line about how they "have no control over where customers move merchandise to" but c'mon...every store? on a regular basis? on numerous sale items? I'm not buying it...