Why Finish Line Can’t Sell Me The Shoes That Are 2 Miles Away, Ships Them From Opposite Coast

“How hard could it be?” Tom asked himself when he set out to use an online-only Finish Line coupon to buy some sneakers. He could stop by his local store and pick the shoes up on his way home from work. Simple! Only not all that simple. It seems like the online and in-store inventory systems of national chain retailers should be integrated, but things are, as they always seem to be in the real world, not that simple.

I am writing to share my experiences with the shoe store Finish Line. This is another example of the convoluted in-store pickup process many retailers have in place.

I found an online-only $15 off coupon, so I ordered the shoes I wanted through the website one afternoon, figuring I could swing by the store on the way home from work to pick them up. How hard could it be?

Well, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. He is the timeline of events:

- Jan 14, 4:47pm Place order online for in store pickup (site says I should get a call to pick up order within 2 hours)
- Jan 15, 4:43pm I haven’t heard anything from either the online or local store, so I call the local store. They say they accidentally marked the shoes as out of stock, so after talking to the store manager, I was directed to call customer service and have them “reinstate” the order so they can reprocess it and give me my shoes.
- Jan 15, 4:48pm Call corporate number, wait on hold, give up
- Jan 16, 3:16pm Call corporate number, wait on hold, give up
- Jan 17, 6:05am Without any other notice, I receive a standard shipping confirmation email stating that the shoes were shipped with rush delivery. The problem is, when I checked out with in-store pickup, I didn’t need to supply a shipping address. So the shoes are now on the way to my billing address. This doesn’t cause too much of a problem, but it will be a ~40 minute drive for me to pick up the shoes when they get delivered.
- Jan 21 Scheduled delivery. From the UPS shipping tracking, I see the package is coming from LOS ANGELES, to me on the east coast.

So the end result is I wait a week for shoes that are sitting in a store about 2 miles from me, I save $15 over buying them in-store, and Finish Line has paid out of pocket for expedited shipping from the other side of the country.

There has to be a better way.

On a national scale, it’s easier for Finish Line to keep an inventory of all sizes in one warehouse than in every one of their stores nationwide, even if it’s only on one coast. Does this make for a good customer experience? Not particularly, no.