Do you have questions about how the business of retail works from the other side of the register? Are you curious about store credit cards, loyalty cards, confusing signage, women’s clothing sizes, loss prevention, sales goals, the all-consuming power of Corporate, or other things that form the basis of most Consumerist complaints? The Consumerist’s Mystery Manager is here to answer your questions. [More]
Alex and his wife bought into a Groupon offer for Gap, where you could buy $50 worth of merchandise for $25. Everything was going great until they ran into a manager at their local store who refused to even ring up the pants they’d chosen, saying anything already discounted wasn’t eligible for the offer. [More]
Four days after the attempted Times Square bombing, a 64-year-old Indian-born Subway manager in North Chicago walked up to a 29-year-old Pakistani-born customer and said: “I heard you guys were recruiting more terrorists in New York. Are you one of them?” [More]
Rachel and her husband had an underwhelming first anniversary dinner at the Longhorn steak house. The next day, she wrote to the corporate office to express her disappointment. The local restaurant’s manager quickly called to offer what Rachel thought was a complimentary apology dinner, but ended up being a whole lot more. [More]
Sarah had an unpleasant experience at her local movie theater, and sent a complaint e-mail to the company that runs it. We don’t know what response she expected, but it probably wasn’t a letter from a company vice president that began, “Drive to [a competing theater] and also go f*** yourself. If you dont have money for entertainment, get a better job, and don’t pay for everything on your credit or check card.” [More]
Last week, Daynah wrote about how she was forced to stop writing anything down during a recent shopping trip to the cosmetics store Ulta. At the time, Daynah grudgingly gave in because she really wanted to make a purchase (she tests products for consumers). But once she left the store, she took the fight back to Ulta.
In a world where smartphones can shoot video, snap photos, record audio, scan barcodes, and let you make price comparisons via text message, it’s almost funny to run into a paranoid manager like the one at an Ulta makeup store in Seattle. Well, funny except for that petty tyrant part where she tells you that you’ll have to take your old-school pen and papers out to the car and come back empty handed before she’ll sell you any makeup.
Last week we wrote that AT&T charged Spoco’s Amex card twice for the same payment, but their CSRs refused to investigate the issue for him. After we posted his story, AT&T took notice and reversed the charge. That raises the question these stories always raise, which is, “How do I get the same result if my problem isn’t published on Consumerist?”
Can we tag a story “above and beyond” if the customer service cycle is so screwed up that it eventually works out in the customer’s favor? When jpodbuild tried to get his Craftsman sander repaired or replaced, he couldn’t get anyone on the phone who could actually help him—eventually he would end up back at the first number he’d called. He decided to show up in person and let the store manager handle the phone calls. New sander!
Our reader The_Lone_Gunman just had a great experience with the Best Buy in Irving, Texas. Snark fails us at a time like this, so we’ll just humbly print his email.
The Walmart in Norman, Oklahoma refused to accept bike returns until a district manager, acting on a reader tip, reminded the store that they were violating company policy. Reader Keia tried to return the “shoddily constructed,” “dangerous piece of garbage” for a bike that Walmart sold him, but an employee, backed by the store manager, explained that since Walmart could repair the bike, their return policy didn’t apply. That didn’t sound right, so Keia went over their heads…
Best Buy charged Nicole $99 to backup her data but then replaced her hard drive without backing up a single byte. Nicole’s service contract clearly stated that Best Buy would perform the backup before any other service. Now Best Buy is claiming that her old hard drive is their property and that she has no right to the data that they failed to backup or restore.
If you’re one of those really smart coupon hoarders, you know to save up for double-coupon offers, because then you can get things for next-to-nothing. Nicole has used this strategy at Kmart in the past without problems, but this time she ran into an assistant manager who refused to honor the promotion, saying, “It’s not our policy. It’s not written down, but that’s the policy.”
Sleepy’s just won’t help Ashley pick up her new mattress. The store promised to have rope on hand to strap the mattress to her car, but when Ashley arrived she was told that Sleepy’s had “run out of rope.” To apologize, a sales rep instead promised her free delivery, but called later to explain that he wasn’t authorized to offer any freebies. He did, though, promise that Sleepy’s would have rope the next time Ashley came by. Of course, they didn’t have rope when she returned, and when she complained to a manager, the manager explained that Sleepy’s had no obligation to provide Ashley with rope or free delivery, and that she better find a way to take her mattress because they weren’t going to refund her money either.
Staples took over a month to deliver an order for business cards that they promised to fill in under seven days. The office megastore somehow misplaced reader Brett’s payment confirmation and never sent his order along to their supplier. When Brett asked Staples to fix their mistake and deliver the cards, he was told to pay for a second order and trust that Staples would eventually issue a refund. When he explained that he deserved compensation, not another charge, a manager told him “it would be a disaster to compensate customers based on the amount of problems we cause.”
Geek Squad told reader Dave that he didn’t have the “technical expertise” to diagnose his clearly-broken iPod. The 30 GB unit wouldn’t play when docked or connected by USB cord, something Dave though might be covered by Best Buy‘s Product Service Plan. Geek Squad first tried replacing the hard drive. This solved nothing. Dave brought the still-broken iPod back and asked the agent to write into the notes a request to call him if the problem was misunderstood. Without calling, Geek Squad again returned the iPod with a note saying that the agent “could not duplicate the problem.” With this firm diagnosis in hand, Geek Squad decided they were done and wouldn’t perform any additional work. When Dave objected, he was told that his ‘only option was to pay for a third-party to test the iPod and prove the Geek Squad technician wrong.’