It seems customer service has gone the way of the dinosaur.
Today was my step-daughter's (Raina) bridal shower. She registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as on Amazon (who knew they had a bridal registry?) Anyway, her Amazon list looked like a Christmas wish list, things like laptops and Ipods and all other manner of non-wedding type gifts. So I opted for BB & B.
Last week, one week before the shower I went into the BB & B store and asked for a print out of her registry. After it printed the sales girl said she wanted to explain to me how their registry worked. It has columns showing the item wanted by dept, gives the UPC code, tells whether it has already been purchased, and lastly whether it is available on the floor or it says "see associate". The young sales girl tells me that "see associate" means it's not on the floor, but they have it in stock in the back. So I took the print out home (it was 13 pages) to read over and discuss with my husband which gift we should buy his daughter. We narrowed it down to a very nice toaster oven or some of her dish place settings. But I decided we should wait a week and see what everyone else got her and then go in and get something not yet chosen. So we waited until last evening, the day before the shower. (Stupid me!)
We arrive at our local BB & B around 6pm last night. We'd had a busy day, otherwise we would have gone earlier. I go back up to the service desk for a new print out of the registry so we can see what may have been purchased in the last week. Again, as I am being handed the print out the young sales girl tells me that "see associate" means they probably have it in the back, so if we want something that says "see associate" just find one of them.
(disclaimer: I say "young" sales girls because they were young. And clueless! Not that young necessarily means clueless, but in this instance it applies!)
As I look over the list I realize very little of what Raina wants is "available", most of it says "see associate". So I find one of these "associates" a male this time. I tell him I would like him to get this specific toaster oven out of the back. He tells me they do not have this toaster oven in the back. He then proceeds to tell me that they don't have anything in stock that says "see associate". What? I tell him that the chicks up front told me that "see associate" means that if I see one of you, you will get the item for me. "Yea" he says "I don't know why they tell people that, they know we don't have those items. WTF!?!?!?!?!!?!?
So I march back up front to the young women who are apparently running things (poorly) and I say "Why did you just tell me that "see associate" means you have the items in the back when you don't?" "Well," she says, "We do have the item, we just have to order it for you". Hello? Did I just enter the twilight zone? Am I being punk'd? Do we not understand the difference between telling someone you have something in the back of the store or ordering something from somewhere else? So I lost it. Yes there were other customers around as my voice got louder and I said "My step-daughters shower is tomorrow. I waited because last week when I was in here one of your "associates" told me that you had this stuff in the back, that not everything listed was on the sales floor. When I got here 15 mins ago again I was told that "see associate" meant you would get something from the back, why in the world are you telling people that instead of telling them you need to order this stuff?" "Well, we do have the items, we just need to order them for you". What are these chicks, robots? Stepford wives? Sales "associates" from hell? Am I speaking French? Do they not understand what I am saying?
So I tell the sales girls (there are two now at the desk) "If you had told me last week that I needed to order the "see associate" items, I would have ordered them last week. The shower is TOMORROW! I can't order them now!" One of the girls then proceeds to tell me "Well I can call another store and see if you can pick it up there". Yes, it is now 6:30 on a Saturday night, I have been running around all day, and I really want to drive all over northern IL looking for a toaster oven. So she proceeds to get on the computer to look up the toaster oven. "It seems that we don't carry the toaster oven in any of our stores, it's an order only item". If I'd had a gun I just might have shot myself. Hello! Why not just print that on the registry sheet? This item must be ordered. How hard would it be to print that on the sheet? Who runs this place, smurfs? So obviously there is no way I am getting the toaster oven by tomorrow. So then she checks on her dishes. Seems the closest store is Downers Grove, a good hour away. I'm just not up for it at this point. I tell the sales girl I have no idea what we are going to do now, I am going to find my husband (who smartly hid away in the store while I stormed the service desk.)
So after realizing that there aren't' any "good" gifts we can get Raina, all the cool stuff like her dishes, her silverware, her glassware, the toaster oven I really wanted to get her, all have to be ordered or are in other stores, we opt to buy all her little stuff. Dish towels, flexible cutting mats, glass measuring cups, acrylic canisters, etc. We pretty much bought her all of her kitchen basics, the $3-10 stuff. And we bought $125 worth of piddly shit. 2 big boxes and and one gift bag full of little kitchen stuff. Not what I wanted to buy her, but what could I do? I didn't want to get her a gift card, I wanted her to have stuff to open. I didn't even really want to give BB & B my money after all that, but I had to get her a present.
After collecting all the little stuff for Raina's gift I had to go back up to the service desk to pay and so they could wrap it. Free service I was definitely going to take advantage of at this point. I again say to the girl while up there "I still don't understand why you just don't tell people up front that the "see associate" items have to be ordered. Why don't you tell people that?" "We aren't supposed to" she says. "Why not" (why the HELL NOT I wanted to say) "I'm not sure" she says. OMG! Here are people who don't know how to think. If you get hired for a job and someone tells you to tell people something that isn't true, wouldn't you question it? Is it some corporate policy to get people in the store and stuck like I was, and force them to buy things they don't want? I still would have bought stuff with them had I known I needed to order ahead of time. They didn't have to force me into buying a bunch of crap.
The shower itself was very nice btw. But it was interesting when I spoke with a few of Raina's friends, they too had problems with BB & B and the "see associate" listing on the registry. Many of her friends also tried to get items a few days in advance of the shower only to also discover the item or items they wanted weren't in stock but needed to be ordered. Raina herself told us she chose her registry items online. She never went into a store and picked out items. So she had no idea that most of her choices weren't available in the BB & B stores. If only the registry had told all of us "this item needs to be ordered" instead of "see associate" how much simpler and more pleasant our shopping experiences would have been.
In the end all BB & B has done is make me not want to shop there again. And I am also sending a letter to corporate to ask what the heck is going on with the registry. How about a little truth in advertising? If the item isn't in the damn store, tell us the item isn't in the damn store.
I think in the future I'll just sick with cash!