Alas, Dear Reader, the KH feels compelled to post yet another rant. (I should learn to never say never or to never say I’m not going to write another post before this or that date.)
This one, however, may be useful to you as you digest your Thanksgiving turkey feast and decide where to spend your Black Thursday Night and Black Friday investing your hard-earned bucks. Consider carefully where you will make your toy purchases!
Retailers are supposedly poised to be on top of their game this year when it comes to dealing with all matters techno, such as smart-phone apps that allow consumers to scan and compare prices. They also have expressed a desire to ensure that shoppers not only utilize the retailers’ web sites but also visit and, more important, make return visits to their bricks and mortar locations.
This being said, one would think that Toys’r’Us would position itself as the leader of the toy pack. Certain news-reporting services have just this week suggested as much, naming Toys’r’Us among others preparing to do battle for consumer bucks.
This past Saturday my 7-1/2 month pregnant daughter, my 2-3/4 year old granddaughter and I (still in my old bald chemo head and walking with a cane) visited our local Toys’r’Us in search of a Dora the Explorer Fiesta Kitchen that usually retails for $89.99 but was on sale for $59.99.
At this time of year in south Florida, just visiting the store is a feat unto itself. It is located directly in front of our regional mall on a main highway traveled only by tourists (“snow birds,” we call ’em) driving 10-15 miles below the speed limit. As you would imagine, given that this is Thanksgiving week, the tourists are more than plentiful.
Upon our arrival, we located a clerk and inquired about Dora’s kitchen. We were told that the store had no more of them. Disappointed, we nevertheless wanted to look at other Dora items and asked their location. Once we were on the Dora aisle, lo and behold there were not one but two Dora Fiesta Kitchens! The shelf price read $89.99.
We searched for and located another clerk. She obligingly said she’d go “up front” to check on the price. When she returned, she said she was told that the sale “ended at 1 PM.” (It was by now 2:15 PM.) I caned my way up front and asked to speak to a supervisor — my philosophy is that it never hurts to ask. Mr. Supervisor, Kevin by name, said there was nothing he could do about it and that he couldn’t override the register.
Daughter and I decided to forego the $89.99 purchase in the hopes that Dora’s kitchen would come on sale again somewhere before Santa’s annual visit.
The next day, the KH decided to check out prices for Dora’s kitchen on line. My first stop: http://www.toysrus.com. My, my, my, guess what the on-line price is? If you guessed $59.99 you’re correct. Furthermore, the item is eligible for “ship to store” purchases, meaning you get to go to the store to pick up the item.
Although I was just a little frosted that Kevin the Supervisor hadn’t bothered to tell me about the on-line price, I decided to act on behalf of my darling granddaughter instead of being a hermudgeon.
Thinking that this would be an easy purchase, I attempted to use Geoffrey the Giraffe’s web site. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the site to accept the Amex Gift Card I was using, so I called customer service.
Customer service agent Kim was as pleasant as can be, but obviously either new or had not yet passed Customer Service 101. Kim’s first problem was that she didn’t know how to enter a gift card and called upon her supervisor for help. After 10 minutes, my card was charged.
Next, she didn’t know how to do a ship-to-store purchase and called upon her supervisor again. Luckily for them, I had the store number and its address in front of me on my computer screen. I’m not sure they would have had much success with this step, otherwise.
Kim’s third and last problem occurred when her computer told her that because my local store had only two Dora kitchens in stock it would take my order but then cancel it due to “insufficient stock.”
At this point, the KH decided to call for reinforcements. I asked to speak to a supervisor. Enter Scott Andrews. Scott was not only very pleasant, he also knew what he was doing. He immediately called the local store and spoke to supervisor Diane. Supervisor Diane said that she would put my name on a Dora kitchen and that it would be up front at customer service when I came back to the store. I told Scott to tell Diane that I would be in the next day, Monday.
Not eager to make a second 22-mile round trip at $3.49 a gallon of gas, nevertheless I was happy to be ensuring my granddaughter’s Christmas and set out with a smile for my local Toys’r’Us.
At customer service, a nice clerk checked and told me that No, unfortunately there was no Dora kitchen there with my name on it, but she would do a register override if that was the on-line price. She checked on line, saw the price and said she’d contact Supervisor Diane who she had just seen arriving for her shift.
The clerk called Diane on her walkie-talkie and Diane didn’t answer. She called another employee and asked them to please have Diane call customer service. She was told “Diane just came in, call someone else.”
Finally, who should appear on the scene but Supervisor Kevin. From Saturday. The pleasant customer service clerk explained the situation to Supervisor Kevin who immediately did a register override. (Something he said he couldn’t do on Saturday.) Next, Supervisor Kevin went to pull a Dora kitchen from the same freaking shelf where we had been standing 48 hours previously.
My transaction completed, I was told to go pull up my car out front so that Supervisor Kevin could load it. With a sweet smile, I thanked the clerk for being the one pleasant person in the store, sympathized with her for the upcoming holiday sales season and told Kevin he could walk out to the first handicapped space in the parking lot and load it. I had to really struggle to not say “cram it” instead of “load it.”
Oh, and I just may have mentioned to a few folks who had to wait behind me in line at customer service that I would never set foot in Toys’r’Us again.
I can’t be sure of the latter, though. My mind sometimes plays tricks on me when I am treated as an idiot and inconvenienced by a retailer that claims to be on top of their game and to want me in their store!