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.