Maggie just needed to pick up a little item at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and thought her errand would be a simple one. Go in, get it, pay and get out. But as we’ve learned in our time at Consumerist and also through countless formulaic heist movies, it’s never that easy. Even when she hit the first obstacle — the item wasn’t on the shelf — she didn’t think things could get too crazy. Oh, Maggie.
Maggie writes that two and a half weeks ago, she asked an employee at her local Jo-Ann Fabrics about the missing item. The employee told her she’d have it ordered and a new shipment would be coming in the next week. She says that employee never asked her for her name or mentioned a “special order.”
Since then, Maggie called the store every few days to check and see if it was restocked yet. She kept being told it wasn’t coming in with their normal shipment, and instead since it’s from a special vendor, they had no clue when it would actually show up. Oh, okay.
She stopped by the store this week to pick up some other things and look the shelf for the item, to see if it had come in. Surprise, surprise, it’s not there, and she asks the cashier what’s going on.
I asked her if she would take my name and that when they came in would she call me to let me know. She said no problem and then proceeded to enter my information into the computer. She then stopped and said she would be right back. She went and spoke to another employee and then came back. She told me that I would have to pay ground shipping on this item because it is a special order.
I was speechless…for a moment, that is. I asked her how she thinks a customer should EVER have to pay for something that is stocked on their shelves, something she was led to believe was on its way. She then proceeded to tell me, using quotation marks, that “just because an order is placed, that doesn’t mean it is actually placed.”
Maggie was mad. Nay, fuming — she wasn’t about to pay shipping for something that’s supposed to be on their own shelves. No siree. She called up the store again to ask for a phone number for corporate, saying she had a complaint. She was placed on hold, and a manager came on the line and asked about her situation. Again, she was told that she’d have to pay shipping. And things got worse.
I told her, “So, you are saying that if I call every couple of days until it comes in and then go to the store to pick up the item, I wouldn’t have to pay shipping?” She said “Yes, that is correct.” So I said “How does this make any sense to you? Why do you think I would pay shipping instead of simply calling to check on the status of the item.” She responded saying “It would save you from make calls every day.”
When Maggie asked for her name so she could note it for customer services, the employee said she’d waive shipping charges, but it was too late, she adds.
So boo yah, right? Wrong. Maggie called customer support at Jo-Ann Fabrics and was told the exact same thing about the shipping charges for an item that the store should have stocked. Another manager said the same thing, adding that Maggie could drive to a store nearby to check for it.
None of this made sense to Maggie.
I told her that I wouldn’t be shopping there, and that I would make sure every single person I know will be told about this.” I then hung up on her. I didn’t realize that it is the customer’s responsibility to a) inform the store employee that they are out of an item, and b) be expected to pay shipping to get the item in the store.
It does boggle the mind. Trying to have the customer absorb the cost of shipping an item that you don’t feel ready to restock yet or inconveniencing them by sending them to another store? Not a great set of options.