I wanted to buy a softball glove for a game today. I called my nearest Target to find out if they had any in stock. The operator tried transferring me to the sports area three times but no one picked up. She asked me to call back. I asked if she had a fancy device for looking up the in-store stock. She said to do that she needed a specific item number. Online, Target’s wares have 3 numbers: a category #, an ASIN, and a DPCI. She needed a DCPI. I gave her one for this glove. She said they didn’t have any in stock. I then tried to look at other gloves, but the two or three that I tried didn’t have DCPI numbers…
I hung up and went to the store. I went to the sporting good section. There I found a suitable softball glove. It was the very one the operator said was not in stock.
This system, if it can be called that, is dumb, and seems to be so typical of my experience with real-world retail shopping. This is one of the reasons why, unless I need something the same day, I usually shop online, NYT articles be damned. — BEN POPKEN
(Photo: Ben Popken)