Erica, who writes Philadelphia Weekly’s Style blog, went to Target this past Saturday to purchase some new tank tops. She and her boyfriend filled their cart with a lot of other stuff too—”Ready to stimulate the economy?” she joked to him on their way to the register—and they agreed to split the cost equally. Now when I worked retail, that was an infrequent but not impossible task. When you ask a Target cashier to do that, get ready to have your debit card debited twice for the full amount of the bill, and then told two days later that the voided transactions will take 72 hours to clear.
The trouble started as soon as Erica didn’t behave like a good little consumer and do what she was told by the don’t-make-me-think cashier.
The total came to
$383.95$383.90. When I asked her to split the cost down the middle so could each charge half she snottily said, “I don’t know what half is.” I was annoyed by her flip reaction, but pulled out my cell phone to calculate the cost. We’d each pay $191.95, I told her.
I slipped my Visa debit card into the automated machine and pressed the requisite buttons. When the total came up, it read “$383.95.” The cashier instructed me to sign my name and click “Pay another way,” which I did. My receipt printed and the cashier said, “You paid for it all. He can just get you back.”
When Erica grew angry at what happened, another Target employee came over and replaced the awful one, who said “This girl is freaking out” and walked away. The second employee ran the transaction again, had Erica swipe her card again, and charged her the full amount again.
Erica and her boyfriend then had to pull all the scanned items out of the bags and place them on the belt for re-scanning so her boyfriend could pay for everything, just to put an end to it all. Only now on Monday, Erica has discovered that her account is running on fumes, and Target can do nothing to help. In fact, the first customer service person she spoke with told her she’d have to drive down to Target and bring her void receipts to prove she wasn’t lying. Apparently Target shreds all of their records every Sunday night, and their electronic records are lost when the lights are shut off for the night.
I’m crossing my fingers and hoping hard that “72 hours” is a padded estimation and that I’ll actually have my money back sooner. I’m lucky that my rent isn’t due, that I didn’t write any checks recently. I’m fortunate enough that my boyfriend will lend me the cash to get through till my bank account in unfrozen. But what if I wasn’t so lucky? Eight hundred dollars is a significant amount of money… [it's] almost two full months of rent for my apartment, it’s practically an entire paycheck, it’s more money than I’d ever spend at Target.
The one bright side to this: Target apparently gave her some sort of discount for her troubles the third time they rang up the bill, which basically worked out to a free deep fryer. Now let’s hope she doesn’t end up paying for that with overdraft fees.