2001. That’s the year that I gave all large national companies until to figure out how to do the “order online, pick up at the store” thing on their web site. It was more than enough time, really.
2006. That’s the year the Sears is still doing mind-numbingly stupid things. Let me expand on that a bit.
Friday, August 25, 2006. I place an order for a stroller in a color that’s only available at Sears. I specify that I’d like to pick it up at the store, figuring I’ll do so on my way home from work. They let me know that I should receive an e-mail within two hours letting me know my order’s ready to pick up.
About two hours later, I get an e-mail, but instead it tells me that they had “experienced a delay in processing” and that when the order was done processing, I’d get another e-mail. It was time to head home, so I wasn’t going to be able to pick up the stroller. No big deal, though, since it’s not like the baby’s been born yet.
Saturday, August 26, 2006. In the middle of holding a devotional ceremony for the ill Daily Ping, I receive another e-mail from Sears with the subject line of “Your Sears.com Order is Now Ready for Pick-Up.” Hooray! I’m not going to pick it up until Monday but, still, hooray!
Sunday, August 27, 2006. Day of rest.
Monday, August 28, 2006. At lunch, I head over with the intention of making a quick 15-minute trip to pick up my item. Of course, if that had actually happened, I wouldn’t be writing this Ping now.
I arrived and used the kiosk to let them know, “I’m here. Bring me my stroller, sucka!” The kiosk politely tells me to wait and my order will be brought to me. Plus, if it takes more than five minutes, a $5 coupon will automatically be printed for me. I take a seat and stare at the overhead screen that shows how long I’ve been waiting.
2 1/2 minutes later, I look up and realize that without noticing it, my order had been serviced by Christian. “How nice!” I thought. Of course, it would have been especially nice if I had actually received my order. I waited a few more minutes thinking, “They probably marked it off and are on their way out.” No such luck.
About ten minutes later I’m able to flag down another employee who goes in the back to see what’s going on. Five minutes later, he comes out with another man who tells me that there aren’t any of these strollers in stock.
Next, he leads me up to the baby department. He points out where on the shelf the item should be, but it’s not. He then passes me off to the manager of that department who offers to call the Sears Hotline (no bright red Batman phone, sadly) so I can place a new order and have it shipped to me. In the meantime, she lets me know, she’ll cancel my original order.
I go through the whole rigamarole with the Sears Hotline employee. I’ll be charged $12 for shipping, but I can mail in a rebate.
After all this, I try to get information out of the manager. “So, when I received an e-mail that said, ‘Your order is ready for pick-up!’ you didn’t really mean it?”
“Sometimes this happens. But we want you to come in because we’re committed to making sure you get your product. When you come in, we’re able to help you get it.”
“Um, OK,” I replied. “But that’s a really screwed up process.”
- I get an e-mail that tells me my order is ready for pick-up.
- I arrive and I’m “serviced” (ahem) without anyone ever saying anything to me.
- I find out that my order was never really ready for pick-up, but if I want, I can place my order again! Oh, and I’ll be charged shipping, but I can send in a rebate form to get it back! Convenience! Power to the consumer!
Everybody was very nice throughout the whole process, but holy crap, what a back asswards way to handle orders. I don’t think I could conceive something more ridiculous if I tried.
Posted in Consumer Commentary