I hate shopping. I’ve stated that enough times that everyone in the world probably knows it by now. I especially hate shopping in a crowd; hence, I rarely go to a store between late Fall and early Spring. When I do force myself to shop, it is usually by telling myself that if I go, I can stop at the book store while I’m out. There’s a Barnes & Noble store en route to everywhere else I usually need to go. I pretend I’m only going to browse, but usually come home with a book purchase. That’s my reward for having to do the other stuff.
I got several email messages recently from B&N, each one offering a deeper discount than the last. I ignored them all. Delete. Delete. Delete. But then, one came with this as the subject line: “You’ve given us no choice …” so I had to see what the ultimatum was about. They offered 70 percent off one item, plus free shipping if I ordered within a week of receipt of the offer. Wow! Now they’re TALKIN’!
During that week, I browsed their web site and found several possible choices. I plugged one in with the code necessary. Aw, rats! It said that order was not eligible for the discount. I read the eligibility restrictions listed, and went back to make a different choice. Again, no good. Hmmm … so, what then? What was it about my second choice that made it ineligible? I tried a third. A fourth. And a fifth item. Always with the same result. Grrrr … I closed down the computer and gave up.
But then … it played on my brain. I decided that I smelled a rat in the woodpile. I went back and tried one more time. Same thing. I decided to call Customer Service. Poor Ronald was the unfortunate soul to take my call. Poor Ronald is such an understanding guy … he must have told me forty-two times that he FULLY understands my frustration; however … there didn’t seem to be a single thing he could do to resolve the problem.
First, I asked if I were doing something wrong in trying to use the magic code provided. He assured me I was not. I hadn't passed the expiration date on the offer. Nothing amiss. In fact, Understanding Ronald “jumped on my bandwagon” (his words) and tried to use it, with my permission, to order it for me. It didn’t work for him either. He said he would check to see if the code was valid, and came back after a few minutes to tell me that it was probably due to the fact that it was “the holidays, and all …” Huh? This was December 15. I told him December 15 is not a holiday. He said, “You know what I mean, tho …” and I said, “No. Actually I do not. It’s not a holiday. And even if it were, what possible difference could that make?”
To prevent this posting from becoming as long as my telephone conversation with Poor Ronald, although I would just LOVE to babble on and on even more about it, suffice it to say I was torqued by the whole thing. First, that they dangled a carrot in front of my face and then their magic code was actually a bogus offer. Second, that I had spent an awful lot of precious time that I really could not spare in trying to MAKE it work, now that they said I could have an item of my choice at such a discount. Then, most of all, that they didn’t make any genuine effort to make it right when I called Customer Service. Poor Ronald tried to appease me with one excuse after another. I continued to respond by telling him I appreciate his efforts to find an answer, but that one just didn't make any sense, and proceeded to explain why. At one point, I asked Poor Ronald to stop understanding me so much because it was making my eyeballs spin, and to put me through to a supervisor or someone who might be able to make it right. Poor Ronald could not do that. So I asked him to provide me with the address of their corporate headquarters. He wanted to know "Why?" I told him that, as understanding as he was about my problem, it wasn't solving the problem. I thought it would be only right on my part to pass along my dissatisfaction to someone who might care to know that I would cease to shop with their company because I feel they are practicing deceitful marketing and I didn’t like it.
He told me that because this IS America, I had every right to do just that. I told him I would, and that I would hold on the line until he could find the address. Poor Ronald could not find a mailing address, but did give me an email address to use. Poor Ronald. He was as pleasant as can be, but very ineffective from my point of view. I was totally polite to him, but persistent. I am nothing if not persistent. Poor, POOR Ronald.
The conversation ended thusly: “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” And then we both howled with laughter and said good-night.
The amount they had to pay Poor Ronald to stay on the phone with me all that time was probably more than the value of the book. They should have written something about THAT into his script -- it would have saved them money to just send me the stinkin' book! Now I even hate online shopping.