What A Black Friday Logistics Disaster Looks Like From The Other Side Of The Register

Image courtesy of (Dan_DC)

We mere consumers sit here waving our credit cards, whining about how we missed this or that great holiday deal, or our orders were canceled. But what’s the winter shipping frenzy like on the other size of the counter? One employee of men’s clothing store Joseph A. Bank reached out to us to explain the chain’s Black Friday logistics mess from the other side of the register. In addition to regular in-person shopping frenzy traffic, employees had to fill online orders if they happened to have the inventory. This worked pretty well until orders started to come through in multiples.

The employee, who we’ll call “Joseph,” let loose.

I work for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, where we specialize in suits and other fine menswear. As you might imagine, this past Thursday and Friday we offered some great sales, both in store and online through our website. What a nightmare buying cheap goods can be sometimes?

To start, you have to understand how orders placed online get filled. Some get filled through our main warehouse, but many have the option of getting filled in our 550+ retail stores. We bag up and ship the merchandise from our store, to the customer. Seems efficient, yes? Not quite. Our store in particular had around eighty orders to fill at 12 noon on Black Friday, in addition to the large amount of traffic that one could probably imagine. Imagine my surprise, when later, I get a call from our customer service line asking to void one of those transactions. (This has never in fact happened to me in 4 years of work). Being the inquiring person that I am, I find out from the rep that due to an error, many orders placeed on Thanksgiving have gone out to the stores. Multiple times. He was calling because customers had been billed two, three, or four times as the stores each filled the order.

Fast forward to Sunday. We’re finally sent info that (while not explaining what had happened), said to wait for a list of orders to be refunded. Our list was about half of what we had processed on Black Friday.

I send this to you guys because no one in our company will even acknowledge there was a problem. We’d at least like to know what we should say if a customer who was billed 4 times calls us.

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