Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Good Old-fashioned Rant: Screw Barnes & Noble!

Okay...I have never been a Barnes & Noble fan. Their employees are pretentious writer-wannabes; their stores have an air of stuffiness and they have some sort of policy to prevent customers from accessing the cash registers to pay for things because the registers are always surrounded by rack after rack of tacky tiny books and journals and crap that nobody really wants.

Oh! And then there's the fact that Barnes and Noble giftcards always have Shakespeare on them. Who gave them the right to co-opt the Bard's image for their tacky crap?

Then, of course, is the fact that Barnes and Noble (and the other giant chain bookstores) seem intent on putting small, independents out of business, just like they did to my beloved Oxford Books, with its tiny upstairs coffeeshop, the Cup and Chaucer.

But do you know what's making my blood boil right now, what really chaps my hide?

It's the same blasted inane policy that caused me to lose my ish in the middle of a freakin' Sprint PCS store when I was seven months pregnant. Then, I screamed and yelled at the store manager, causing my saner half to try pulling me from the store while I was still yelling at the mickeyfickey!

It's the concept some retail outlets and employees have that an item sold at one of their chains cannot be returned at another. Now, I'm not talking franchises. I'm talking about corporately-owned retail outlets. The idiot at the Sprint store refused to take back a defective phone my husband had received for Christmas. My poor husband who didn't even want a cell phone, but was getting one so I could call him if I went into labor. After trying for two days to get the thing activated, someone from Sprint customer service told us to return to a store. The store manager then refused to take the return because it wasn't sold at his store and would come off his store's totals.

Okay. I get it. I was a retail sales manager for Rich's Department Stores. I tracked my department's numbers daily. I know that every return counts against you, especially if it came from another store. But guess what? You don't get to tell the customer no! And do your freakin' job right and you'll be selling me a more expensive phone anyway, you idiot!

So...how does this relate to Barnes and Noble? Well, if you return an item to a store and get a store credit as I just did today, they want you to use that store credit at the store where you returned the item so that their totals all come out even. This is what I was told today after trying to use my store credit to purchase something on-line and then being told that it wouldn't work.

I called Barnes and Noble customer no-service. After throwing out a few too many words a mommy like me should be ashamed of using, having a supervisor threaten to hang up on me because of said language, I ended up being told that I could only use the store credit at the store where I returned the item.

Nevermind the fact that the thing I want to buy costs $39 on-line, but $69.99 in the store.

Screw the customer. That's what I always say.

AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGG! I am so very, very angry about this screw-the-customer-with-our-stupid-policies nonsense that so many of these mega-stores have. I mean, when I got off the phone I really wanted to throw something or hit a Barnes and Noble employee! Really. And I'm not a violent person.

But now I feel better. Tell the world! Don't shop at Barnes and Noble! Use Amazon if you can't get to a small store. Keep a programmer in business.


Jeff said...

Such a sad but great story. You have such a great and interesting blog. But after looking through your history it seems you have few readers... Well you just gained one and ill link you on my site hope that it will send some new ones over... its to good to go unseen...

The Blog Hog

Anonymous said...

How annoying!!! Costumer service is crap nowadays...

A. said...

What a great blog you have! I totally agree about B&N. My personal rant with them is that they have all the magazines about pregnancy on the lower of the two shelves ALL THE WAY AT THE BACK, which is the absolute most difficult place to reach if you are, in fact, actually pregnant. When I was 7 months pregnant and trying to shop in a B&N, I complained to their manager about said placement of pregnancy magazines and was told that it was a Corporate Decision to have those magazines there. I told the manager that obviously no one in their corporate office had ever been pregnant and wanted to reach a magazine about pregnancy. Ok, sorry to hi-jack your B&N rant. But they really really do some stupid things. Again, love your blog.

dawn said...

Thanks, A. I took a look at your blog, too, and love it. And I agree that anyone who would place pregnancy books or magazines on the bottom shelf has never been pregnant nor had a wife or partner who was pregnant.

Anonymous said...

you know if you would have calmed down long enough to listen you would have found out that the item that you wanted could have been ordered FROM THE STORE using your store credit. just for future reference yelling never and i mean NEVER gets you what you want in a situation like that. of course the customer service agent would tell you that he or she was going to hang up.. as a retail employee we get paid to serve not to eat up your serving of crap. trust me we aren't there to make your day crap.. it ruins our day when we get screamed at and then have to try to be friendly and helpful for the next 6 or 8 hours.. think about it if you can come down off that high horse you seem to be riding on

dawn said...

High horse? Please! I worked in retail throughout high school and college and worked as a sales manager for three years before moving into the company's advertising department. I've listened to my share of angry customers. I also know that managers and supervisors have the authority to override company policy as needed in most situations and someone in the store could have sold me the item I wanted to buy at the on-line price.

I'm sorry if my rant offended you. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the nature of rants.

Annoyed said...

That would only happen if you didn't have a receipt or had a receipt that wasn't within the limit of 14 days for return. Technically you shouldn't be able to return it at all, so why are you complaining when they did you a FAVOR? I'm so tired of people thinking they can have anything they want just because they want it. Did your mommy teach you that? We live in a world of entitled brats.

Dawn said...

How exactly are they doing me a favor when I'm trying to spend money in their store?

I returned an item that I received as a gift that came from Barnes and Noble. It was something I got two of and didn't need two of.

I returned it and got a gift card. I should be able to use a gift card at any Barnes and Noble outlet including their web site, not just the one where I returned the item. It's one corporation, not an individually owned store.

Like I said, I've worked in retail and was taught that the customer is always right and that's exactly how I treat my clients and how I treated customers when I worked in retail. You do what it takes to keep your customers happy. You don't make stupid rules that inhibit your customer's ability to spend money in your store.

I've worked hard for everything I've ever had in my life and generally I'm a very nice person.

But I do feel the need to express myself and call out poor customer service when I see it. To the same end, I'm happy to share positive customer service experiences as well.

Anonymous said...

Actually, people that work retail would rather people like you just stay home than come into their store. And that's the truth.