At Barnes & Noble, Labeling Something A “Calendar” Doesn’t Mean It Actually Is One

This is not a calendar.

This is not a calendar.

Names can be deceiving. For example, at Barnes & Noble, something can be labeled a “calendar” on the site but not actually be a calendar, because it’s really a planner. Get it? Neither did Consumerist reader Stefanie, who found out to her dismay that a calendar by any other name isn’t so sweet when it comes to a 50% discount on calendars.

Stefanie wrote in to express her frustration with Barnes & Noble’s post-holiday sales, one of which advertised 50$ off all 2013 calendars. She figured if she added an item to her cart that carried the label “calendar,” that counted as one of ALL those calendars. She figured wrong.

So I found two Moleskine calendars I really love, and I wanted to purchase them through Barnes & Noble’s “50% off ALL 2013 Calendars” promotion. (The calendars are here and here, both clearly labeled as calendars.) To my dismay, the website did not take off the 50% when I added them to my cart, so I contacted the online chat.

The online chat is extremely nonhelpful, as the agents on it cannot stray from script, and I was told that not all coupons will work with all promotions. Grr! I wasn’t even asking about a stupid coupon.

Then I called customer support and was told that it’s a “planner” and not a “calendar,” even though I found it directly through the calendars landing page. I escalated three levels and got so frustrated that I hung up when they told me I “found a loophole on the website” that I was trying to exploit.

So let’s get this straight — trying to purchase something that has been dubbed a “calendar” by Barnes & Noble itself is somehow trying to exploit a loophole? Sounds more like B&N needs to stand by its own categories, even if it means discounting an item it didn’t intend to.