How Buying Gift Cards To Shop Online Can Backfire

S. tells Consumerist that she had a bad experience with Lane Bryant, and now she doesn’t know where to turn. She doesn’t use credit cards, but couldn’t pass up a great online-only sale on jeans. She went to a brick-and-mortar store and purchased a gift card, then used the gift card to make the purchase online. Simple, right? Nope. Lane Bryant canceled her order, and now S. is stuck with a $50 Lane Bryant gift card she had budgeted for two pairs of jeans.

Hello, I’ve had a bad experience with Lane Bryant and I wanted to share it.

I don’t have a credit card, so I pay for everything with cash. However, when I saw the 50% off Right Fit jeans promotion (the only jeans that have ever fit me right!) on their website (only available online), I knew I had to get them. I did some research and found out that I could pay it with a gift card. I went into the store, purchased a 50$ gift card, and proceeded with the order online. I had issues with the gift card, but managed to get the order placed. A few days later, I got a message saying that the items I wanted are not in stock (even though they’re still available on the website if you want to place an order… Wtf?! If they’re not available, fine, but don’t let people keep ordering them!)

Instead of giving an option to wait for them or anything like that, I was just told that the gift card would be returned. The problem is, 50 dollars is a lot to me, and I was alright with it since I think that two fantastic jeans for that price would be worth it. I went back to the website and saw that now the promotion is buy one, get one 50% off, so now I will be expected to pay about 75 dollars for two pairs of jeans instead of 50, because of the website not saying that the jeans it let me order aren’t available.

Normally, I’d just say, “Whatever” and wait until the promotion comes around again (once a year or so, if I remember; I used to work at Lane Bryant, so I know that these sales are fairly rare). However, I have this dumb gift card. Lane Bryant has a lot of fairly overpriced items, and none of them are worth their asking price. If I can’t get the jeans I wanted, I don’t want to spend that hard-earned money on something random and unnecessary. I tried writing in to customer support and nobody has written back. I’d be okay with being able to get the two pair of jeans I ordered, even if it takes a while to get them (like on backorder), or getting two other pairs of jeans for the price I was promised, which is what inspired me to get a gift certificate. I’d be okay with getting the money back from the gift card. But I don’t want to buy 1 pair of jeans and then the rest of the money go to waste in gift card limbo, or have to go get ANOTHER gift card to have enough to buy two pairs of jeans. If it were my own fault that this happened, I wouldn’t complain, but this situation is not my fault.

Is there anything I can do? What would you do?

I would complain about the canceled order and ask that it be reinstated, even if it results in a back order. Start with the lowliest customer service rep and escalate as high up in the organization of Lane Bryant’s owner, Charming Shoppes, as I could.

If that failed, try selling the gift card to a friend who’s a regular Lane Bryant customer (even if it’s at a slight loss) or scour the clearance racks at the local Lane Bryant for fabulous things marked down to reasonable prices.


Edit Your Comment

  1. chippy says:

    She could also check out Catherine’s or Fashion Bug for clothes because the Lane Bryant gift cards can be used at all three of those stores. (These stores are all owned by the same parent company.) The gift card she purchased should have the logos of each of the stores on it if it’s like the one I had a couple of months ago. Catherine’s also sells the Right Fit pants, and they often have different sales than Lane Bryant.

  2. Destron says:

    Best Buy tried to pull this one on me once. I ordered a game that showed in stock on the website, it was a $60 game on sale for $20. A day later I got an email saying it was back ordered and they would hold my order until it was available. Some time goes by and I get another email telling me the time limit had passed and they was canceling my order. Very next day the game was in stock again for $60. I raised all kinds of hell with Best Buy support and the eventually agreed to let me go to my local store and pick the game up for $20.

    I would complain and get them to give it to you for the advertised price, and if they won’t give take the gift card back to the store and tell them you want to cash it out. They will try and tell you the can’t, but the can.

    • Span_Wolf says:

      Exact same thing happened to me. I kept checking my order and it kept saying back ordered, but the day after it was canceled I just happened to walk into the Best Buy I ordered it from and they had 5-10 copies on the shelf, which I assume were probably there the whole time.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The OP needs to call customer service. I know it’s popular to e-mail or tweet your complaints, but nothing can replace the instantness of picking up the phone.

    I can’t be the only person left who always, always, picks up the phone first when I need to talk to customer service. Maybe it’s just me being OCD. If I have a customer service problem, it just really, really bugs me until I get it fixed, which means that I want to get it resolved in the quickest way possible, even if it means calling customer service at 11 pm or 7 am the next morning. E-mail is just too slow for anything I want to be resolved now. The phone is always easier.

    • Destron says:

      Not to mention, it’s to easy to ignore an email, and often time email support is minimally staffed and they may not even read it for a week.

      • GeekChicCanuck says:

        I work in IT – level 4 Tech. Support so I don’t speak directly to customers but I used to. It’s actually easier for me to ignore your phone call than your email. Why?

        Here’s what I’d have to do to ignore your phone call:

        – turn off my ringer (which I will do if I’m programming)
        – ignore my voice mail (quite easy and no one’s the wiser)

        Here’s what I’d have to do to ignore your email:

        – either not read or delete email from our Help Desk software (quite easy)
        – ignore my bosses when they come down to see why a ticket in our Help Desk software hasn’t been acted on or resolved since they get copies of all Help Desk emails and do weekly checks (almost impossible)

        So…. yeah…. phone is so not the way to go.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      THANK YOU. With the number of cell phones in America today, it amazes me people can navigate the internet, but can’t seem to muster the coordination and though to push 11 numbers and talk to a person. There is no better way to get your level of frustration across to someone than to hear it in their voice and be able to ask and answer questions immediately.

      Get charged $9 and don’t know why? You can either:
      A) call the banks customer service line while writing an email to the bank and also Consumerist, so if their answer isn’t good, you can show how stupid the bank is or
      B) write an email to Consumerist and don’t contact your bank and push the blame onto them and have people ask why you didn’t call customer service.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        My first response when I see something I don’t like is to pick up the phone and call the number on the bill/letter.

        I can’t believe other people DON’T do this. Companies ignore e-mail/snail mail. Harder to ignore a phone call. Harder still to ignore a personal visit to their premises.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        I think the number of cell phone only households would encourage people to call customer service less often because people don’t want to burn all of their minutes waiting on hold. With many companies there is nothing immediate about a phone call.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          We have the lowest number of minutes possible on a contract with AT&T and we don’t even go through half of the minutes because we get “free” mobile to mobile that doesn’t eat up the minutes. So yeah, I can leave my phone on speakerphone while I wait for a customer service rep.

          • Rectilinear Propagation says:

            By “people” I didn’t mean “everyone has this problem” just that some people would.

    • Etoiles says:

      Many people (myself among them) really despise talking on the phone to the point of a near-phobia. They / we will try almost everything under the sun in a desperate, last-bid attempt to avoid the phone.

      • Anonymously says:

        Both my wife and I are the same way. I would probably take the $50 loss because of the stress the phone causes me.

        • Destron says:

          I can see where some people may be that way, but of that’s your choice then you would not really have any place to complain about it.

          • Anonymously says:

            Fair enough, I was just trying to raise awareness that calling customer service literally causes some people panic attacks.

      • Dover says:

        I agree that the store needs to handle their e-mails in a reasonable time frame, not doing so is really poor CRM. It seems like half the time I send e-mails to companies I never get a response back, which really pisses me off.

        That being said, sucking it up and using the phone comes before complaining to the Consumerist and the editors should insist that submitters take reasonable measures to resolve their problems before stories are posted.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “and the editors should insist that submitters take reasonable measures to resolve their problems before stories are posted”

          I completely agree even though it would probably eliminate half of their articles.

          For all of the illogical pricing articles, it would be interesting to see an actual store response to the issue.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            No, I think it would just delay therm by a few days. If Consumerist emails the OP back with “Try calling customer service. Here’s the number. Please let us know the outcome” the OP will either get huffy and indignant and NOT email Consumerist back, or the OP will take the advice and report back to Consumerist what customer service did. At least at that point, all of us have the confirmation that the OP hasn’t been able to solve her problem through nearly all means available.

            • Laura Northrup says:

              I do very often answer tips with that question. Often the answer is along the lines of, “CS is only open 9 to 5 when I’m at work, I can’t make personal calls at work, and my lunch isn’t long enough.”

              In the case of this story, the cancellation of her sale order is the real issue, and it’s unlikely that a low-level CSR could resolve that.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          the editors should insist that submitters take reasonable measures to resolve their problems before stories are posted.

          That implies that
          1) The OP isn’t still trying to get their problem resolved through normal channels
          2) The only reason to submit anything to Consumerist is to get help resolving an open problem

          While in this case the OP is saying #1 is true we have seen stories on this site where the OP has said what they are going to try next or are currently doing in order to fix the problem. Sending in a story to warn other that doing A, B, and C will cause problems with company X or that company Y sucks at doing D is legit even if they haven’t either resolved the problem or given up doing so on their own.

      • danielem1 says:

        I think I can relate and I’m sure it’s the same reason for most everybody.

        At this point, people don’t call customer service on the phone because first, they’ll wait on hold for a long time without knowing when or if they will pick up (I have called a call center that turned out to be closed but rather than tell me that, the phone system just kept me on hold infinitely). And then of course there’s the fact that it hardly ever works when they do pick up, or you can’t understand the Indian person on the other end.

        My point is, people don’t call customer service first because of conditioned response: It hardly ever results in results.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I must be a different case because I’ve almost always gotten results from customer service by phone. At the very least, you’re waiting maybe 40 minutes to get someone who can say they can’t do anything, but at least at that point you might be able to escalate. What kind of escalation can you try if you’re waiting three business days for an email to tell you there’s nothing they can do.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      This made me laugh. I recently found a price discrepancy on Zappos, and wanted to see if they’d honor the lower price. My first inclination was to call, and then I noticed the Live Chat feature. I figured I’d give it a go. After explaining the issue, I was directed to call their 800 number.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I guess I’m not the only one who has had miserable luck with online customer service.

    • cvt2010 says:

      Emailing takes a few minutes. Calling can take an hour or more depending on how long you get stuck on hold, wait for supervisors, call back for a better customer service rep, etc. Not all of us have the luxury of having lots of free time to pester customer service until we get our way.

    • steveliv says:

      email is always the best option, since it is logged and almost always requires a response. i learned that from he says that emails are logged into the customer service systems, are almost always issued ticket #’s and are always followed up.

  4. Darrone says:

    You can get about 95% value back on ebay.

    • Destron says:

      Problem with selling on ebay is if she tried to use it online then she obviously scratched the part covering the card # and pin, and you will have a hard time selling that – from a buyers perspective how do I know your not selling me a card you already used up.

      • DariusC says:

        Well, a bad feedback rating and a chargeback would be in order if they sold you a card valued at 50 dollars and it was wiped clean. From what I understand, even if they packed up and left, the bank would still pay the money and go after the person for the money? Please correct me if I am wrong.

      • COBBCITY says:

        I have sold MANY gift cards on eBay. I actually, oddly, have gotten more than face value for some (no idea why) and I have scratched off to reveal the pin on many so I can call or go online and insure the balance I believe is on them is correct.

        I have outstanding feedback. No, I don’t scare my customers by saying “Hey, I scratched off and revealed the PIN”. In fact, you never post a photo of the actual card or numbers because some thiefs have found way to redeem some cards just from the number show in a photo.

        I have never had a complaint from a buyer. They get what I listed and redeem it. Easy.

  5. skylar.sutton says:

    Nthng t s hr, mv lng. (Cnsmrst psts r gttng vr wk ltl… sh bght gft crd, th cncld n rd,r t hppns… g sll yr gftcrd).

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      My only gripe with the posts is really that half of them are entirely moot without the OP actually having some kind of common sense. This person should have called customer service – you send an email, no one writes back, and you go “what do I do now?” You get someone on the phone! I don’t see how this is difficult. If you’ve been ignored by all the reps you’ve tried to reach, then I see how there’s a problem.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        I agree. There have been a few posts like that (Redbox price increase, Bank of America random charge) where the tipster did not exhaust all of their options (or in some cases any) before writing in to Consumerist. .

    • wagnerism says:

      Sell your giftcard… at a loss? That hardly sounds reasonable. Even if she gets 95% value on ebay, there are fees involved for ebay and paypal.

      Naive question… Who would pay $45 for a $50 card (that’s only 90%, not 95%) – risking $45 to save $5?

    • Marshmelly says:

      No, I don’t want to “move along” as this story interests me.

      Why bother taking up space with pointless comments like this? If it didn’t interest you at all, than why don’t you move along and not waste time leaving a comment?

      • skylar.sutton says:

        “Why bother taking up space with pointless comments like this?”

        I hope you see the irony in replying to my comment with that…

    • coren says:

      Oh, so the practice of canceling orders for items that appear to be in stock, only to change what sale is going on (said change causing a 50 percent increase in cost) – that’s nothing to see, and isn’t a practice that should be brought to people’s attention.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      If you don’t find a story interesting, why comment on it? I find it interesting and I find the other comments interesting.

  6. kjs87 says:

    They should have definitely put it on backorder and sent you the pants when they were ready. I had a similar issue with JC Penney; one call to customer service and they had my order to my door within a week.

    In the future, I would say this is one of those situations where you should pick up an Amex or Visa giftcard; since the plan is to use it immediately, there’s no worries about “maintenance fees.” I’ve never paid more than face value for one of them, and then if it doesn’t work out for some reason, you can use it on pretty much anything you need. It’s not like you can really expect things to go wrong, but it’s one way to prepare for it maybe?

  7. aleck says:

    “If it were my own fault that this happened, I wouldn’t complain…”

    I don’t see anybody else’s fault here. Many retailer sites run out of stock quickly during the sale. The site does not always keep up with the inventory. She bought the gift card and got the money returned back to the card. There is nothing else the store is expected to do.

    I could never understand the popular movement of paying for everything with cash. That’s one of the reasons it is not such a smart idea. Any bank now offers a debit card tied to a checking account. Why not use that for online purchases?

    • Dover says:

      Layne Bryant should manage their online inventory or at least place orders on backorder if they oversell. Inventory management is really not that hard.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Any bank now offers a debit card tied to a checking account. Why not use that for online purchases?

      It used to be that when anyone suggested using a debit card for online purchases that there’d be 10 comments saying how this is a terrible idea, that debit cards don’t have the same protections as credit, and that if someone gets your debit card info you lose all of your money immediately instead of just having a charge you have to dispute.

      Now suddenly this is a good idea?

    • coren says:

      If the retailer ran out of stock, how was it when she went online after her order was canceled, the item was in stock, but the sale had changed so that she paid 50 percent more?

  8. sth9669 says:

    Seriously, if you want to make an online purchase, wouldn’t a Visa or Amex giftcard or even a Green Dot card be a better option? With the first two you could use the money somewhere else and with the Green Dot card you can take the money back out in cash if you no longer need it on the card.

    I hate to say this is the OP’s fault, but it partly is. Never buy a gift card for a particular store unless you’re sure that you will use it. In this case, she bought it for one sale offer and wouldn’t have used it otherwise. So, Lane Bryant’s website shadiness aside, she locked herself into spending $50 at the store. What if, in the time between when she went to the B&M store to buy the gift cards and she got home to go online and order, they legitimately ran out of stock? Then she’d be equally screwed and it would be completely her fault. Gift cards suck, and if you want to be a cash only person in an online world, you need to be savvier than that. . .

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In the case of Lane Bryant, no. I just looked at the website to see the fine print for myself, and the website FAQ is very clear that Visa, Mastercard, AmEx branded gift cards can’t be processed on the site.

    • coren says:

      No, Visa and Amex have all sorts of ridiculous fees, and try to avoid state regulations on giftcards by saying their giftcards…aren’t giftcards. They’re awful.

  9. Chmeeee says:

    How in the year 2010 does anybody not have at least a debit card?

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      Do some research on the Fees, and the possible FREEZE of your accounts for any “suspected” reason by the Bank, or the Authorites.

      Use CASH – Be safe. Credit Cards suck. Look up the history of the crash of 1929, it was largely intwined with “buy now! pay later..” — See a pattern?

      I applaud her, and am thankful I read the story – I can easily see this as a marketing/sales tactic (anyone in Marketing/PR can easily see that) that obviously worked in favor of the business.

      • Chmeeee says:

        A debit card is not buy now pay later. It’s buy now pay now. My debit card has no fees. My account has no fees.

        You cannot use cash online. You cannot use cash to pay at the pump at the gas station. Cash requires frequent trips to the bank to replenish and has increased risk of theft.

        Again, 2010.

        • pot_roast says:

          “You cannot use cash to pay at the pump at the gas station”

          Yes you can, at least at AM/PM stations. :)

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          You can also pay cash at the pump at some Sprint gas stations.

          Also: How far is it from the pump to the cashier anyway? How is that a big deal?

          • Chmeeee says:

            If you don’t pay at the pump, then you generally have to walk in, wait in line, give the cashier enough money to cover the gas, walk back out, fill it up, walk back in, wait in line, get change, walk back out. I’ll pay at the pump.

            I’ve only seen one station that would accept cash at the pump, and they actually ended up removing those.

      • kmw2 says:

        ” Look up the history of the crash of 1929, it was largely intwined with “buy now! pay later..” — See a pattern?”

        Yeah… in the _stock market_ (margin selling). Not in consumer purchasing. A debit card isn’t “buy now, pay later” anyhow.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      We don’t know that the OP doesn’t have a debit card. The OP may have a debit card but doesn’t want to use it for online purchases.

      Again, there was a time when most commentors here would tell the OP not to use debit online.

  10. wagnerism says:

    I wonder why the OP doesn’t have a credit card – no reason was given.

    The credit card would have been refunded like the gift card, but the canceled sale would be the end of it.

    That said, a complaint could yield a gift voucher that could offset the price increase to what was originally ordered. This smells of bait-and-switch and they should honor their price.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    My only question is why she used a gift card instead of any other form of payment. Was she gaming the system?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Um, she says in the second line of her explanation, “I don’t have a credit card, so I pay for everything with cash.” Hence, the gift card.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      She also physically went to the store to buy gift cards and then took them home to make the purchase online. From the store she was just in.

      There’s no accounting for why people do the things they do, sometimes.

      • kjs87 says:

        She used it for an online only offer; since it wasn’t offered in stores and she wasn’t about to buy them without the sale, it makes a certain amount of sense.

  12. Extended-Warranty says:

    Many grocery stores sell gift cards with some kind of incentive ie – save money on gas or groceries.

    I don’t see how this article is informative in the slightest. I can get a gift card for any B&M retailer and then be disappointed when the disgustingly cheap item is out of stock. Then what?

  13. Willie Derp says:

    Setting aside the OP’s lack of credit card, it sounds like Lane Bryant realized how much money they’d be losing on that sale, canceled as many orders as they could catch and blamed it on being “backordered”. I’ve had this done plenty of times with various websites, but usually on a more obvious pricing mistake.

  14. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    When she bought the gift card, was there any notification on the card or packaging indicating that it is non-refundable?

    • chucklesjh says:

      “If you placed an order with a Gift Card and a credit card, you will receive an E-Gift Card for the portion of your order paid with the Gift Card”.

      So apparently they returned her an e-gift card, essentially screwing her over since it’s not the same gift card and now cannot be returned.

  15. chucklesjh says:

    Does the OP realize that gift cards are returnable with a receipt? I have had no reason to shop at that store but I can’t see why it would be different from most retail stores.

    • brinks says:

      Lots of places won’t let you cash them in. Sometimes, with a receipt and enough hell raising you can, but often times you’ll be told tough luck.

      I’ve worked retail a long time. Even when we were told we not to cash them out, there’s usually a way. However, if I was going to do it, I required three things: (1) a good, believable hard luck story (Like the OP’s), (2) a receipt, (3) a polite demeanor. I don’t give in to hell raisers…even though it often works on other managers.

    • jamar0303 says:

      Except that it’s apparently been returned in a different format.

  16. sufreak says:

    As a former Charming Shoppes employee, I can tell you, good luck. That place is in such disarray right now, you’d be lucky to find someone who speaks English.

    Go to the head of the division, LB. FB and Catherines are under separate leadership teams, and its unlikely they’d be able to help you. And the executives there…HA!

    Try a store manager. Its a roundabout route, but may be more helpful.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Pretty much no one shops at these stores here, I don’t know how fashion bug survives because there is never anyone shopping in the store. Its easily the most customer devoid clothing store here. They do have the occasional clearance item that is worth buying though.

      LB isn’t in my area but is in another close by area, if I want their clothes I will buy them off the Marshalls or TJ Maxx clearance racks since they can’t sell them for the prices they want in the store they eventually end up there for much lower prices than even the in store clearance racks. I would wear torn up clothing before being forced to shop at LB and buy $75-78 items.

      • sufreak says:

        Thats the same question all of us employees ask. Especially over FB. LB maintains generally good quality and stylish stuff.
        FBs are located next to Walmarts, who target the same market. Seems stupid to me. But now you know why they had to outsource/insource all their labor from India. Everything from payroll to IT support.

  17. Shmonkmonk says:

    I would go into a Lane Bryant Store, explain your situation, and ask for their help. There’s a very good chance they’ll say, “Sorry, can’t help you, internet sales are separate sales from store sales, call cust. service, blah blah blah” but, if you’re polite and reasonably persistent, they might help you out. There are lots of things they can do for you. If they carry the jeans in store (wasn’t clear on if the jeans were online exclusive or if the sale was online only) they can just let you buy 2 pairs in store for the same price. They can refund your gift card. They can call cust. service on your behalf (carries more weight). Etc. You say you used to work for Lane Bryant, are any of your old managers still with the company and did they like you? If this happened to a former associate that I liked (or any customer that wasn’t a jerk), I could solve this problem in 2 seconds.

    • brinks says:

      That’s good advice. Be polite about it, demonstrate your hard luck, and see how far that gets you. I always had a soft spot for people who were polite yet insistent.

  18. goldilockz says:

    Debit card.

  19. Dallas_shopper says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you; Lane Bryant is a shitty store with shitty policies and shitty overpriced clothing that takes advantage of a captive market.

    I was so glad when I dieted my way out of that place. But you’re right about their jeans…they were pretty darn good. And 2 pairs for $50 is a steal. Don’t give up until they honor it. Call every day if you have to.

  20. OneTrickPony says:

    I had a similar situation where I placed an order for a set of dishes from Kohl’s when a particular style was being offered at BOGO, only to have the order canceled a few days later for unspecified reasons. Their website said the items were still available, but the price was now buy one, get one half off. I got on the phone with customer service, and the very helpful agent wasn’t able to find out why the order was canceled in the first place, but she was able to more or less recreate the original order, and the original price, including a 20% off coupon code I’d used. She had to enter each item by hand and calculate the right discount percentage to recreate the original price–the process took about 15 minutes, but the end price wound up being about $5 less than the price on the original order.

    To the OP, I would say have the number of the original order ready and get on the phone with customer support–not email. If they still have the merchandise, they should honor the earlier price. If they say they won’t, you may be able to use the gift card at Fashion Bug, who also offers a Right Fit line. The Right Fit jeans are the only thing that group of companies seems to get right, and I swear by them as well. It looked like they were taking them off the market for a while–everything steeply discounted, limited size availability–but I think they’ve come back out with a revamped Right Fit line (they switched from the nonstandard 1-2-3-4-5 sizing to standard misses/womens 12-14-16-18 etc.).

    • madanthony says:

      I had a good experience with Kohl’s as well – I ordered a couple clearance items when they had a 99 cent per item shipping. They canceled one of the the items, but didn’t take off the shipping charge. I emailed them, and a few minutes later got an email back that they were waiving the entire shipping charge.

  21. backinpgh says:

    I’m pretty sure that Lane Bryant store can order items for you if they don’t have them in stock, no? That would have eliminated the need to purchase them online in the first place.

    • brinks says:

      I think it was an online only promotion. Depends on the retailer, but often if it’s online only, they won’t do it for you in the store.

  22. backinpgh says:

    This happened to me once…I saw a pair of boots I wanted at Baker’s. My in-laws got me a gift certificate I could put towards the boots. I went back into the store and they didn’t have my size any more. They couldn’t order them. They are available online though! But my gift certificate is just that — and ACTUAL PAPER gift certificate. And this was in, maybe, 2005 not 1991. So there was absolutely nothing I could do with this thing, so I ended up selling it online for a few bucks off the actual value.

    • brinks says:

      I worked at Bakers around that timeframe. I remember the old-school paper gift certificates they were still using. They didn’t even work on the store’s website.

      A sweet guy in his teens came in to buy a “gift card” for his girlfriend once. He called back later in a slight panic, saying all he got was the gift card’s folder/holder and he was missing the actual card. We had to explain to him that we were still functioning on technology that had been replaced by everyone else when he was in diapers and what he had in his hand was actually an old-fashioned “gift certificate,” which served the same purpose.

  23. Outrun1986 says:

    Lane Bryant is the most overpriced store I have ever seen, they have nerve to charge $75 for a pair of capri’s. They don’t have any other different sizes than any other plus size store does. The capri’s I looked at were paper thin quality too, aka garbage. I don’t see how its a captive market either, plus size clothes are pretty much everywhere, you don’t have to go to lane bryant to buy them unless for some reason you don’t have any other store around you that carries plus size clothes.

    Avenue is a much better store and cheaper (if you have it in your area). You can get jeans for as low as $20 there. Shirts are $10 on sale. They go up to size 32 and their clothes tend to run on the generous size.

    Marshalls and TJ Maxx also sometimes have Lane Bryant clothing, with the label blacked out with marker but you can clearly see through it to find the lane bryant items. Needless to say these items are much cheaper than lane bryant store prices.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I don’t see how its a captive market either, plus size clothes are pretty much everywhere

      But that doesn’t necessarily mean that stylish plus size clothes are everywhere. I almost never find a dress I like in Catherines; their style seems like it’s targeted at an older age group. Lane Bryant does have casual dresses I like…for $75. UGH. The only reason shopping at LB works is that they have a clearance section and I get the coupons though I’m sure I’m still paying too much.

      Marshalls and TJ Maxx also sometimes have Lane Bryant clothing

      Seriously? This is a widespread thing and not just an anomaly? It would never have occurred to me to look in those stores for plus size clothing.

  24. XTREME TOW says:

    1, EECB to “Charming Shoppes”. Include the Short URL at the top of this article.
    2, If your like me, Cheap AND Paranoid about using your bank plastic for online purchases, get a WalMart Pre-Pay Card. For $3/month, you can use it for all kinds of store and online purchases, and only keep enough on it to make the purchases. That’s all your risking.