Today, a pimply faced, twenty year old, assistant manager of Toys R Us woke up thinking that he had a cool job for someone who knew that the path to success wasn’t to be found at the local Junior College. He gelled his hair, applied some pimple cream, and put on the bright red shirt that identifies his elevated position at the world’s greatest toy store.
Unfortunately for our young hero, he had no idea that I was headed to his store today.
Mags had some birthday money and I decided that since the sky hadn’t stopped dripping liquid for three days, that an outing to Toys R Us, or We B Toys – as we often call it in our family, would be just the thing we needed to burn some time and energy – you can easily burn a few hours just wandering through the aisles.
So, off we went to the toy store. Unbeknownst to us, there was a heck of a sale going on! We scored almost $100 worth of stuff for about $35! And I immediately thought to myself, “that’s going to make a great blog post!,” and then I promptly forgot to take a picture… so use your imagination and imagine a picture with $100 worth of Littlest Pet Shop and Crayola. Picture or not, the Littlest Pet Shop stuff was buy 1 get 1 free AND if you spent $25, you got a free set of tiny, foot-embedding TRIPLET pets. (Freaking yay! Do any of you know what $100 worth of little pets and their accessories look like? Damn, I really wish I had taken a picture…). Then, the Crayola was buy 1, get TWO free! What a deal, right? I double-check the sign, “Crayola Buy 1 – Get 2 Free/Crayons, Markers, & Paper/Any product of equal or lesser value – it just occurred to me that I should have taken a picture of the sign too. Anyway, so I pick up a pack each of colored pencils, some fancy, color changing crayons, and a regular old box of 24 colors.
I didn’t get a cart when we came in, because we had originally come for one particular babydoll, that the Princess then decided was not what she wanted after all, leading to two hours of aimless wandering through every aisle in the store and eventually my having to carry the 8 different packages that we picked up before I managed to wrangle my six-year old Princess and all of the treasures that she’s acquired to the front of the store to checkout. So, with my arms completely loaded down and balancing stacks of toy boxes, and feeling like I might pass out, because it’s now 2pm and I suddenly realize that I haven’t had lunch, we go up to the customer service station, because on this Friday in the middle of summer, there are no actual register lanes open and this is our only option for checking out. The woman checking out in front of me also has crayola products.
Woman: These Crayola products, do they have to be all the same thing to get the two for free?
Cashier: Uh… I wouldn’t really know about that… we’ll see what it rings up.
Thinking that I am being helpful, I speak up from behind them: The sign said anything of equal or lesser value.
Cashier: Well, it’s not ringing up, so it must have to be the same items.
At this point, the woman who is checking out decides that she will just go back and get two more each of the items that she has so that it will ring up the way the cashier says it should, essentially just giving in and agreeing to spend a LOT more money that she had originally planned all because this cashier just said it wouldn’t ring up that way… I mean, huh?? I do not give in nearly so easy. The woman gets out of line and now it’s my turn to checkout, but like I said, I don’t give in so easy.
Me: I want you to go ahead and ring up this Pet Shop stuff and make sure that it’s going to ring up the way that it should and then we’ll deal with the Crayola.
Cashier: Yes ma’am. The Pet Shop stuff all rang up and you got a really good deal on that. (He is visibly surprised by the discount) But this Crayola stuff isn’t ringing up. But here comes the guy who can help us with it. (Enter our young hero, the assistant manager)
Me: Your sign says ‘anything of equal or lesser value’ which would indicate that you do not have to purchase three of the same item in order to get the discount.
Asst. Manager: (Smiling in a way that, in his twenty whole years of life experience, I am sure he believes is charming, but in reality is a bit creepy, especially considering that I’m technically old enough to be his mother) I think it’s a problem with the wording on the sign that’s causing the confusion.
Me: No, I know what the sign says.
Asst. Manager: Yeah, I think it’s a problem with the wording on the sign. These aren’t going to go through that way. Sorry. (He walks away to other side of the desk to indicate that that’s final.)
Me (to cashier): We will not be purchasing the Crayola then, take them off of the bill. I have worked in Customer Service for over 10 years and one of the very first rules of Customer Service is that you ALWAYS honor the sign.
Cashier: I’m sorry. I wish I had some control over it.
Me: I know that it isn’t your fault. But I’m telling you because I know that you’re going to turn around and tell HIM. (Just then, two older red-shirted management-type men walked by) Maybe someone should go tell THEM too! (I pay for my purchase) Come on, Mags! Mama has a letter to write! (I walk around the other side of the service desk and look our young hero in the eye) You ALWAYS honor the sign! (He gives me the creepy smile again)
I get all the way to the exit door, and I hear “Ma’am! Ma’am! Could you come back here? I think I can work this out!”
And in fact, he DID work it out and I left there with my crayons and my discount. And I was once again a happy customer. And that’s all great. But the thing here is this: Neither the Asst. Manager nor the Cashier were going to give us the discount, even though we told them multiple times what their own sign advertised. Neither one of them made any attempt or even offered to go and look at the sign themselves. If I hadn’t raised hell with them, who knows how many people they would have denied the discount. As it turned out, the problem was being created by one item that was technically considered colored pencils (which weren’t included in the sale) that was causing the discount not to come off in the computer. But these two young tech-savvy geniuses never even thought to try to figure out WHY the discount wasn’t being applied, they just kept looking at the computer and saying “nope, it’s not coming off.”
So, dear readers, I hope you all understand why I had to show out a little bit. Why I had to stand up for myself and the woman in front of me who was also denied the discount. It’s not a matter of money, to tell the truth, I didn’t really need to spend that extra money anyway, and besides most of it was Mags’ money. It was a matter of principle. A business has to stand behind their own advertising.
And in the end, our young hero DID do the right thing. He did make an effort, and because of that Toys R Us did not have to deal with an angry customer and our young hero could go home once again, to apply his pimple cream and launder his red shirt.
And meanwhile, I’m still trying to tear through the packaging on $100 worth of Littlest Pet Shops…