Tuesday, June 16, 2015

National Fabric and Craft Store Requires Customers to Have PhD

"I'm not sure if this is on sale but I think I can get 40%"...  "I can't tell what the price is and what I will actually pay at the register"...  "Can I use a coupon on this, I can't tell"...  "Wait, what was the price on that?"

Have you recently been in a certain  national fabric and craft store and heard these very phrases or muttered them yourself?  Have you walked in with a fistful of coupons only to find that every, single thing you need is exempt from the coupons?  Are you frustrated that when your bill comes out of the register, you can't tell what you were charged?

Recently, customers were observed leaving the store in utter frustration, waving their receipts in the air, not sure if they got a bargain or had just been had.

It seems that the receipt that prints has so many numbers on it, a customer would need a high degree in mathematics to understand their total.  There's the original price, the sale price, the price that a coupon might have reduced and the percentage off that you possibly received because you have a value card.

The cashiers don't seem to know much more than the customers.   When asked if items are on sale, the cashiers can't answer until it is scanned.  When asked if a coupon will work, a cashier can't answer until the item is scanned as well as the coupon.  When asked why sales tax was charged on some fabrics and not others, in a state where clothing isn't taxed, no cashier could explain.

The cashiers are very good at telling people  how to text headquarters to get an on the spot coupon on their smartphones, keeping everyone in line busy until it's their turn.  However, when customers try to use their on the spot coupons, they often don't work because everything was already on sale and everyone looks like fools.

The signage in the store is also incredibly misleading.  Currently, there is a sign for a bag for $14.99.  But then it says free gift with purchase.  This reporter believes that means that with a purchase, the $14.99 bag comes along for free. 

Apparently, the free gift is a little fake flower on the bag that comes along when you pay $14.99 for the bag.

A few weeks ago, there were wreaths on the wall with prices. A customer tried to purchase one of the wreaths for the price indicated but according to the register and the cashier the prices on the wall were not correct.  In a state where the price written is the price the store must honor, it still took the customer quite a while to convince the cashier to follow the rules.

What's a frustrated customer to do?  When crafting needs to be done and the choice of stores is limited, it seems the only option is to return to school for a degree not only in math, but also in business and possibly English.  Reading the rules on the coupons and understanding the signs in the store proves to be just as difficult as understanding just what percentage a customer has just saved.  A law degree would also prove helpful for negotiation purposes. 

Until those highly coveted degrees come through, customers can brace themselves for the worst by pretending they will pay full price for everything they want.  If they can afford everything at full price, imagine the joy they will feel when coupons and sale items reduce the price.  If they cannot afford everything at full price then they can practice buying in moderation and deal with the disappointment of not getting what they wanted.

Or, they can take a gamble and bring it all to the register, coupons in hand, ready for the glares of customers in line behind them as they say "no thank you" to half of their items.

I'm playing along with http://www.thesitsgirls.com as we Stop The Summer Slump and try writing in different voices and styles.  Today's post was my newspaper reporter voice.

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