Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Morning, Part II

After I finished my errands at OfficeMax on Black Friday morning, my initial thought was to head back home, but Kmart was right around the corner. Their Black Friday ads had listed some Chicago Cutlery that I thought would make a nice present plus I had seen something I thought I might get my husband. My foot seemed to be holding up well and wasn't hurting so I drove over there.

Kmart is located in what used to be CrossRoads Mall. CrossRoads Mall was one of the area's first shopping centers. I can remember when it was wonderful. This time of year, they put up a display of flying reindeer, complete with Rudolph, and the deer were actually real stuffed deer that someone hung from the ceiling. The mall had a fountain where people threw pennies. The stores were nice, bright, and full of new items. However, the mall began losing its anchors when Valley View (which is but a mile down the road) was built, and it began turning into a weird place.

The Kmart store was not too bad when it opened but it has gone downhill to the point where I very seldom go in there. I personally think it should close.

After my Black Friday morning, it doesn't matter to me what they do with it. I will never go back in that store.

The parking lot was rather full and I drove around twice before I found a space that was close enough for me to handle with my broken foot. I leaned heavily on my cane and went in the store. There was not a single shopping cart in sight.

I hobbled back outside and walked about 50 feet to get a cart. The parking lot had a number of men wandering around. They were obviously homeless. One was picking up cigarettes and sticking them in his mouth. The other was sitting on a bench muttering to himself. Another stood with his arm wrapped around a tree in the parking lot median.

I hurried back inside as quickly as I could.

The store was quite full. Apparently a lot of people had seen the advertisement and liked what they saw. The Chicago Cutlery was sold out, which did not surprise me. A few other items I'd made note of as being good deals were also gone. But it was a little after 9 a.m., after all, so it was to be expected.

The item I wanted for my husband was located at the rear of the store, and there were three left. I picked one up and put it in the shopping cart. It had a security tag wrapped all around it.

Then I wandered around a little more, picking up a half-dozen two-liter bottles of Dr. Pepper that were on sale and a DVD.

The checkout line was very long. In general, I feel sorry for retail people at this time of the year. They have to work odd hours and put up with people like me. I know the public can be rude and horrid. I spent a year working retail. It was a good experience but not one I am keen to repeat.

Anyway, I smiled at the checkout clerk when she caught my eye while I was in line, and she looked tired but smiled back. I thought it bode well.

I was wrong. I got up there and I gave her one of the Dr. Peppers. "Please charge me for six of these," I said, pointing to the remaining items in my cart. I handed her the other items.

"Where's your KMart loyalty card?" she asked.

"I don't have one," I said.

"You need one," she said.

"What is the point of it?" I asked.

"You get some money back," she said. "All I need is your phone number. It's easy."

She brought up a screen on her register. "What's your name?" she asked.

I stood there thinking, she said all she needed was my phone number, but I gave her my name.

"What's your email?" she asked.

"I don't have email," I said. I never give out my email. I receive enough junk already.

"What's your zip code?" I gave it to her, but I was still thinking, that's not my phone number.

"What's your phone number?" she finally asked, and I told her.

"What's your email?"

"I don't have email," I repeated.

"If you don't have email, you can't have the loyalty card," she said.

"Then I guess I don't get a loyalty card," I replied. "Can I still buy this stuff?"

She rang me up then, but after I paid, she rudely slammed the item I was purchasing for my husband into the cart. "Could you please remove the security tag," I asked her.

"I can't remove it. You'll have to go to customer service."

This angered me off, I confess. Customer service had a line a dozen people deep and I'd just stood in line for a long time to pay for this stuff. By this time my foot was starting to ache and I needed a drink of water.

I hobbled over to customer service. One woman was waiting on people while another was standing behind the counter doing nothing obvious. I called to her. "Ma'am, they said I needed to come over here to get this removed," I said, holding up the item and pointing to the security tag.

"I can't remove it," she said. "I don't have the key. You need to find Adele."

"Excuse me? How am I supposed to do that?"

"You need to find Adele," she said again.

All of the people in customer service were looking at me by this time. I had my cane in my cart, and I lifted it up. "Am I supposed to walk all over the store looking for this person?" I asked. "I have no idea who Adele is."

"We'll call her up here," the woman huffed.

I waited. And waited. One woman who had heard me talking to the customer service person suggested that her husband could cut the security tag off with his pocket knife. Another said I should just go on out of the store with it; I had paid for the item and it was mine.

I asked the customer service person, who was still standing around doing nothing obvious (I guess she was a manager), what would happen if I walked on out of the store with the item.

"I'll have you arrested," she said.

The woman behind me gasped when the customer service person said this. As you might imagine, the idea of being arrested for shoplifting when I had already paid for the item was beyond the pale. I was perfectly livid by this time. The line was continuing to move. I was about two people away now from the customer service woman who was actually processing people.

I caught the other woman's eye. "If I get to the front of this line, " I said, "You're going to refund my money for every item in this cart."

Just then someone with the key to the security tag miraculously appeared. She did not ask for my receipt; she just unlocked the security tag.

I got out of that store as quickly as I could.

I will NEVER go back to the Roanoke Crossroads KMart store again.

10 comments:

  1. The problem is they will hire ANYONE because everyone needs a job these days... well, except for you and I. LOL And then they don't train people. I mean WHO-DA-EF is Adele and how were you supposed to know and why are they all huffing at YOU? I NEVER give out my e-mail address and I don't use their stupid savings cards. You need to stand up for yourself and just say NO Anita. Just say no! As an employee then get credit for signing people up for stuff, so they are doing it for their own job advancement and not as a favor to you.

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  2. makes me want to pull on my hair. that's nuts!! you must be a patient lady... i don't know if i would have been able to keep my cool. may have even seen red. (:

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  3. Haven't shopped at that one for years. Don't think I ever will.

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  4. I've always gotten a weird vibe in that store in the one or two times I went in there. Never bought anything though. You have more patience than I do. If they would have told me I needed to go to customer service to get a security tag off after I waited on line, I would have told them to take it back!

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  5. Talk about a bad start to the holiday season! I'd have had steam coming out of my ears! Too bad that customer service didn't live up to the "service" part of the moniker!

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  6. Customer service means everything to me. I will drive farther, pay more or do without in order to get good customer service. I had a horrible service experience at Dick's Sporting Goods last week. With internet shopping, who needs these rude workers?
    You were very brave to go!

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  7. It is a cesspool there. I hate getting bad customer service!!! I'm browsing blogs trying to get caught up on all of my reading, not sure what happened to your foot, but I hope it heals soon!!!

    Happy Holidays!!!

    Jen

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  8. and by the way, next time just make up an email address like anitasjunkmail@gmail.com, they'll never know. HA!

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  9. Gawd! It just kept getting worse! I appreciate hearing a Black Friday story since I didn't go out (for the very kind of reason you wrote about). We had our own black Friday (pottery sale).

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  10. So sorry you had such awful Black Friday experiences. Ours was actually pretty good. While we did encounter one or two rude customers, for the most part everyone was patient and helpful--both the workers and other customers.

    Your experience is why there are no K-Marts left in Madison. They put themselves out of business with poor customer service and cramped and unkempt store aisles. We hated going in there for anything. Finally, they could no longer compete with Wal-Mart, Target or Shopko and the last store closed about a decade ago. I can honestly say I don't miss them!

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