It all start innocently enough: I needed some scrapbook supplies and Seth agreed to stop there with me one Sunday afternoon so that I could shop in peace (and really let my brain figure out what I wanted vs. what I needed) because he was watching the boys (mostly chasing Austin up and down the aisles). I use the Jo-Ann app regularly and had recently noticed a 15% off coupon so I was shopping with the 15% off in mind (that is, I was buying a large quantity of stuff).
I got to the register and when I went to show the check-out lady the coupon, it was gone. I gasped and she guessed "If you're looking for the 15% off one, it expired yesterday." She then offered that there was a 25% off one coming soon for the following weekend, beginning on Friday (this was a Sunday). It was awesome of her to offer that information, I say, but I can't come shopping on Friday because I'll have my boys with me and I need these supplies for Friday evening. Then I ask "Can I simply purchase everything now and then come back with the coupon for a price adjustment?"
(See, the problem wasn't making a trip to Jo-Ann's with the boys in tow, but having them along would zap my creative abilities as far as knowing what I wanted to buy. It wasn't a matter of making it to the store, but of being able to spend enough time there to make all the decisions I needed to make.)
A cashier next to her says "You can only use the coupon once. And you have to surrender it at the time of purchase." That's fine, I say. I'm only making the one purchase and would only want to use it once. She, the other cashier, then says "Well, that's on your conscience." WHA? I look at my cashier like "What in the world!?" and she smiles and replies she will be there on Friday and will help me with the transaction. Ok, I think, that was weird. And rude. I was a bit miffed at the lady saying that, and it made me question my conscience, but at finding no policy stating what I was doing wasn't ok, and knowing it was neither illegal or taboo (I ask for price adjustments all the time), I forgot all about her.
I got to the checkout and it's the same girl I had on Sunday. I remind her of my coming in on Sunday and state that I simply need a price adjustment on my items since there's the 25% off coupon now. I hand her the items and the receipt. She goes about returning everything (finding each item on the receipt and crossing it off... a very lengthy and annoying process in my opinion) and then asks the manager next to her for a merchandise return card (I'm so distracted by trying to keep my oldest out of the automatic doors that I don't realize what she's doing until it's all over). The manager cashier asks about the transaction and once my girl explains what's happening, she looks at me and says "If you'd asked me to do it, I would have told you 'no'." And then walks away.
I was stunned. "Tell me you won't help me!?" I'm thinking. I tell my cashier that I don't appreciate the attitude the manager just gave me and said that I didn't understand why her and the other lady were giving me such grief when I wasn't asking to break the law or any policies. WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL!? I wanted to shout. IT'S JUST A PRICE ADJUSTMENT. I DO THIS ALL THE TIME. JUST DO YOUR JOB. sheesh! As she's ringing everything up, I notice that classes are on sale right now and ask about a class schedule (there weren't any on the table where they normally are).
My girl talks into the headset "Can someone please bring some class schedules up front? I have a customer who wants one." She finishes the transaction which leaves me $26 on a merchandise card. Store credit. Which is obviously not what I had asked for, but I'll likely spend $26 here at some point in the future, so I don't argue the point, though it does make me upset. I then stand by waiting for the class schedules, still fighting with Oldest to keep him from getting smooshed in the automatic doors. While I'm waiting, my cashier returns a clearanced item for a lady after getting another manager's approval (who rolled her eyes at being asked to help). This is blatantly against policy. I'm thinking "I got all this grief about a non-against-policy request and here they are letting her break policy without even a fight? What about HER conscience!?" I was starting to get steamy.
And I'm still waiting for a class schedule. WHILE trying to keep a hold of Oldest. I'm standing right by the table where the stack of schedules usually is when the manager cashier from a few minutes ago (who told me she would have said no) walks past me and sets them on the table saying "I don't know where to put these, so I guess I'll just throw them here" setting them on top of several sewn display items. I wait several awkward seconds for her to move (because I'm obviously standing here waiting for them) and then because Oldest is out of control at this point, I decide to slink my arm around and grab one from the stack saying "Thank you!" as I do so. Now I was HOT.
I was so mad that after strapping the boys into their seats, I immediately call Jo-Ann customer service. I mean, I'm 30 feet from the front door, sitting in my car, on the phone ready to complain about how I was treated. The lady at customer service was AMAZING. (I do have to give them credit for that.) She verifies that she doesn't understand why I got such a hard time, that what I was asking for is fine, that she's sorry and says she'll have the district manager call me directly. I felt MUCH better after that phone call.
The district manager calls later that day and I relay the story to him. I tell him that I've never before been treated so poorly by people at this store and cannot believe the things these ladies said to me. He seems apologetic enough for the behavior of his people but then says "But it IS against our policy to use coupons on previously purchased items. It says so on the coupons."
But once I've apologized for breaking the rules, I ask him why they didn't state the policy to me. I mean, why are they telling me "That's on your conscience." and reminding me that I have to surrender the coupon at time of purchase instead of "Our coupons can't be used on previously purchased items." If someone, anyone had simply said that, I wouldn't have even asked for it to be done. (Though that means I would have abandoned ship on Sunday and would not have gotten such a good deal on so many things on Friday using the 25% off.) He offers to "help me out" if I can come back in that day, but I couldn't because it's naptime and I'm hosting an event later and so I've not been compensated for this situation which still irks me even though I was asking them to break policy. (Side note: I have since looked at the coupons and it does clearly state that coupons may not be used on previous purchases.) A policy I think is stupid, but whatever. (Returning unused items for a price adjustment should be fine, in my opinion.)
Fast forward to today...
I went shopping at Gap today. For sales. See, I go every so often to Gap to look for clearance items and I also needed to return something I had bought online (also clearance items). (Oldest is at gymnastics camp this week, so it was good timing to only have one with me. The small one. The one in the stroller. ;-) The clearance section was missing so I ask an associate about it and she says there is some in the back and offers to go looking for the specific items for me (in the size and with the description I gave her). She comes back with four or five things--all exactly what I was looking for--and then says "And if you come back on Saturday, we're having a 30% off sale and we can give you the price adjustment." ! SHE JUST OFFERED THAT INFORMATION TO ME. Just offered it!
I explain that coming back is hard because I also have a toddler and the money I would save wouldn't be worth the hassle with the boys along. I ask if I could call for it, though, and she explains that I could if I use a credit card. An associate just walking by (JUST WALKING BY!) says that if I happen to have a Gap, Old Navy, or BR card, I can save the hassle and just get 30% off today because "there was a coupon that went out." ! Y'all. I was stunned. STUNNED. Stunned AND glad I have a BR Luxe card that I've kept all these years.
I thank them both profusely and then decide to venture to the baby/toddler section where I find some awesome deals, including coordinating shirts for the family picture, before heading to the check out to do my return and make my purchases. The guy who offered up the 30% off information walks by while I'm checking out and I tell my cashier that he has a 30% off coupon for me and he smiles and then just tells her the coupon code. No coupon needed. ! No. Coupon. Needed. And then the cashier explains that because it's Tuesday, I'll get an additional 10% off because I'm using the BR card. ! Holy. Smokes.
Needless to say, I got some amazing deals today at Gap, given that I bought sale and clearanced items and then got an additional 40% off. But the biggest thing is that they were SO helpful in my trying to save money. I mean, I didn't ask for it, they just offered it up. The service was a night and day difference to my recent Jo-Ann experience. And though I realize the industries are fairly different, I still believe in customer service.
I do not, however, think that the customer is always right and don't expect rules to be broken on my behalf, but Jo-Ann's could have simply explained the policy to me whereas Gap was going out of their way telling me about policies to save me money. One place never explained the policy and treated me horribly (though I still saved money, though NOT because of their help) and the other went out of the way to tell me the policy, treated me wonderfully, and because of their help (information sharing), I saved 40%! I was bowled over! I'm a Gap shopper for life. For life.
I'm planning on calling their customer service number to compliment them. That's something else you should know about me. ... 1) I'm a rule follower. 2) I am quick to complain. BUT 3) I'm ALSO quick to compliment. If my water glass goes empty during my entire meal, I start ticking off percentages of my server's tip. But if they go out of their way to ensure I have a good experience or save money or something, I start adding percentages to their tip. So despite some people thinking I'm too hard on people in the service industry, I disagree. It's a two-way street with me. (And if someone wants to go ahead and psychoanalyze how my being a rule follower is related to the second two points, please do. I'm too close to the trees to see the forest.)
Moral of the story: ask for price adjustments, but also be sure you know their policy on price adjustments. Also: Shop at Gap. The End.