Tuesday, January 5, 2010
An open letter to the donkey at Smith's Marketplace
Yeah I am talking to you. I told you I was going to call you out and I am. It was no threat idiot, it.was.fact.
I came in there early Saturday afternoon to buy my newly returned missionary son a coat. He had left the summer season of Chile and found the winter in Ut to be, oh let's just say, a tich cold.
Why did we choose your establishment? The sales of course. We are regular patrons and even more so on Black Friday and the week after Christmas for your great prices, selection and, until now, your customer service.
After browsing the men's department and perusing the vast selection and varying prices, my son couldn't bring himself to ask me to spend a whole lot of money. He just came from poverty and this was wealth he was wasn't used to. He was careful in his selection. A rack caught his eye. Rather it was TWO racks. On an end, the top rack had an orange sign that said 30% off. The bottom rack had a sign that said $29.99. Both in LARGE black lettering. This was something reasonable to him.
The coats on the top rack were different than the coats on the bottom rack. But both racks had the same coats on them. Make sense? Top rack - coats A. Bottom rack - coats B.
My son found one on the bottom rack his size. Tried it on. Found it to be just what he needed and what he was looking for. We looked again at the sign on the rack and was pleased for the advertised great deal. Since we were in a rush to get some other errands done and didn't need anything more, we went directly to the checkout stand.
The associate at the checkout stand was so pleasant and nice. She was friendly and personable. I have come to expect nothing less at this particular store. She rang up the coat and to our dismay the price rang up at $63.00! I figured it hadn't been marked correctly, so I explained what we saw to the associate.
She called for assistance in menswear who walked back to the coat area. We waited. We waited some more making some nice chit chat with the associate. Finally the phone rang. Some conversation between the checkout gal and the person on the other end. The check out gal handed me the phone and the menswear person informed me that I had read the sign wrong and the coat was a $90.00 coat for 30% off.
I explained AGAIN very clearly, that this coat was just like all the other coats on the BOTTOM rack which was marked at $29.99. She told me she couldn't do anything about it but could get a manager for me. Okay, sure, that's a good idea. I hang up the phone.
We wait. We wait. We wait SOME MORE. Again with the pleasant chit chat with the check out gal. She makes the comment that it's a good idea we are getting the manager and that she hopes he's in a good mood. Hmmm, that should have sent an alarm off in my head, but now I was getting antsy because we had so many other things that needed to be done, and yet we were standing here WAITING.
FINALLY, the phone rang again at the checkstand and the gal answered. She didn't get much of a word in, before she handed me the phone. YOU were on the other end. I really expected a manager to come to us, in person, to resolve the issue. Nope. Not you.
Instead, the first words out of your mouth were "You read the sign wrong". Not, "Hello, I'm Mr. So and So, how can I help you?" I explained AGAIN what we saw and you repeated yourself that I read the sign wrong. That it was $29.99 for coats originally marked 40.00. You even condescendingly asked me if the coat was a $40.00 dollar coat. And then was sure to point out the fact that it was a $90.00 coat.
How is it sir, that you have an entire rack of $90.00 coats with a sign in big bold lettering marked $29.99? I realize what you are telling me, however, you are being deceitful in your advertising. I know the racket. I know the game. You gamble on the likely odds that the customer will have enough other purchases that they don't pay attention and notice the difference until much later, if at all. Or if they are smart enough to pay attention, that you make them wait long enough and give them enough of a hassle that they just pay it anyway without a fight.
You gambled wrong with me. I pay attention. And while in the end, your sign was exactly how you stated, you racked the entire rack with much more expensive coats. I believe that is called false advertising? Is it bait and switch? Whatever the technical term, it is wrong and you and I both know it.
We continued some more dialogue as I tried to point out the fact, that it wasn't my fault you have the wrong coats racked but you became more and more rude and irritated that you had to even deal with a customer. That was dang clear in your voice. Your emotions came right through sir.
I mentioned I did this little thing called a blog and I could make this a great advertisement for you or not. You thought I was threatening you. I assured you I wasn't, just giving you an opportunity to make this a great shout out for you and your establishment by doing the right thing or not. You chose not.
After accusing me of threatening you, you asked me to leave your store. I was all too glad to do so. I don't care to give my money to a company that is deliberately dishonest and deceitful.
I was pleased that the check out gal was behind me. She told my son while I was bickering with you on the phone that she was glad to see me stand up for what was right. I can only guess, she has seen this same experience a time or two before. That is very telling about your mode of operation.
And so, mr "manager", while you couldn't give a rat's patootie if I ever give your store another dime, I do care about how I do business and to whom I give my hard earned dollars. And it won't be there. Ever.
For the record, my husband came in later in the evening and looked at the sign and the rack. Nothing had changed. He concurred that it was misleading. But, I suppose that is how some people choose to do business. I get that. I just won't support it.
A very dissatisfied, newly non-Smith's shopper.
*If you're curious, its the Smith's MarketPlace located on 9000 South and Redwood Rd in West Jordan UT. Sadly, one of my favorite stores until now. *