Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Kingdom for a Coupon

What do you mean, does not cover clearance???

Bow before me and grovel, (formerly) mighty retailers, for I hold the power over your destiny…

Yep. Took a few years, but
my displeasure with Circuit City has finally come to fruition:

Circuit City Stores Inc. is closing 155 of its more than 700 U.S. stores by Dec. 31.
It is laying off about 17 percent of its domestic work force, which could affect up to 7,300 people.

James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and chief executive, called the decision to close stores "difficult, but necessary."

"Clearly, (Circuit City) is frantically working to keep itself alive," JP Morgan analyst Christopher Horvers wrote in a note to investors.

They could start by issuing me a formal apology and a 35% off coupon…

CC incurred my wrath with a little-publicized policy known as a restocking fee. Yep. Buy it on Monday, return it on Tuesday with a receipt and get hit with a 15% restocking fee.

Not. Or should I say, not if you’re me. The cowardly manager wouldn’t come up to the desk to bail out the minimum wage worker I was about to flog to death with my unsatisfactory Epson printer, but wisely waived the fee over the courtesy phone. I’ll give you courtesy.

I went home and wrote a scathing email to their headquarters and got back a form letter stating they were sorry I was dissatisfied, but since the manager resolved it, who cares?

I care! Just like I care Macy’s is not Marshall Fields!! As do a
few others

And don’t get me started on JC Penney-pinchers!! Another retailer that could be posting record profits after placing a nice new store along my route home from work.

It all began in late August… I had been a JCP card holder for a few months, and was quite unhappy with the drought of coupons. Every other day Kohl’s was thinking up new and exciting ways to make me buy yet another tablecloth, hat or
turtle bath towel. So you can imagine my excitement to receive a coupon for 20% all regular and sale merchandise. It was palpable.

I spent hours in the store and tried on many dresses. I was so excited to see they had the biggest selection of dresses I had ever seen, and being the end of summer the sun dresses were on clearance. They even had petite sizes!! I made my selections at last, and headed for the checkout.

Envision my chagrin when I didn’t get the 20% off. The lines were long, and I knew better than to argue with the teenage boy at the register. I hiked all the way back to the rear of the store where Customer Service, Ignore could be found. A very surly woman informed me the items purchased did not qualify for the discount. What? The manager came up to confirm. You see, they explained, you bought things on Clearance. Clearance is not Sale. Nor Regular. What?!

Morons. Well, another store nearby honors coupons on all sale and clearance items, I observed pointedly. I guess I’ll shop there from now on, I finished.

I stormed home and wrote a scathing email to the How Did We Do Today address on my receipt. Oh, I let them have it!!

Guess what? For participating in their crappy little survey, I got a coupon!! For 25% off all merchandise, Sale, Regular or CLEARANCE!!!!

The very next day I went back. Same cranky lady was running the desk. She was having a heated conversation with a customer over the telephone. She was explaining (I bet it was at least the fifteenth time that day) that the customer’s receipt was not wrong, clearance items did not qualify. And yes, they would take that expensive bedding set back, if that was how she felt.

I waited forever, and I’ll bet most people in line were there for the same reason. Now the manager and two other frazzled employees were frantically trying to hold the beachhead.
With a smug smirk I approached the desk. “I’d like to return this dress.” She went over the transaction. “I’d like to buy it again with THIS coupon,” I said, upon completion. Oh, that look was priceless. She wanted to strangle me with the self-belt flowing from the sides of the dress. Through gritted teeth she said, “Let’s see, the dress has been marked down again since yesterday, and now with this coupon, I now owe you…”

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Think you can best me retail conglomerate? I think not! You will rue the day you pissed off the woman with a black belt in Shopping. When your
profits dip low enough, you will beg me to come back. Just like Famously Uncomfortable Footwear.

I’ve given up on the white Sketchers. Something is inherently wrong with my pair, but wrapping the little toe on the left side with a band-aid seems to alleviate the problem, so hopefully I’ll be OK. Regardless, I just received a letter in the mail from FF explaining that although I didn’t earn enough ‘points’ for another Savings Certificate, they were sending me one anyways. But then my points were being reset to zero. Hmmm. Last coupon was $10. This one $5. Who cares? As long as I get a coupon, I don’t care what kind of games they are playing. I’ll look around there, and drop in at Just Sent Me 30% Off Anything Kohl’s. Then it’s over to 50% off any Regular priced item Michael’s and a quick (OK, they’re too humongous for quick) spin through $3 off your next visit Meijers. Oh, and Borders, if you want me to stop by, you’ve got exactly 12 hours to send me a coupon that makes it worth my while.

JC Penney? You’ve got a lot of apologizing to do. But it’s never too late. Never.

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