I’m absolutely DONE with shopping at Target. Here’s the deal:
This past week, I purchased a Thomas O’Brien sideboard for $164.00 at the Target store on Delaware Avenue, in Buffalo, NY.
At the time I purchased the piece, I was stunned that it was so heavy, and I was more than stunned that there were no Target team members available to help me lift it. After pushing the help button at the end of the aisle, and waiting for an inordanitely long time, my friend and I managed to slide the piece from the high shelf and on to two carts.
I might note (for those of you that know me) I’m a 200lb young man, in decent shape. Without exaggeration, the box weighed at least 300lbs, and was about 6 feet long.
We (my friend and I) proceeded to move the piece (on two carts) through the store, and received a few chuckles (!) from target team members, but never once did any team member ask if they could help out, when clearly, we were struggling to move this mammoth piece.
This alone was enough to make me angry. But wait, there’s MORE:
When we reached the cashier, I asked — very directly — when this had been makred down, and whether it would be marked down before the end of summer. The cashier looked baffled, and summoned a manager over to help. The manager assured me that the price was “as low as it will go” and on his own accord, added “after this, we’ll donate it to charity.”
I purchased the sideboard, and without any help from a Target team member (even though a manager had been present at the sale), got it in to my car, home, and assembled.
The assembly was a nightmare because the directions were poorly done. That’s another story entirely. I might add at this point, that I am a trained architect — and even I — with years of schooling, had difficulty assembling the sideboard.
The next day, I visited the Target Store in Penfield, NY. Imagine my surprise to find that the VERY SAME sideboard had been marked down to $84. Clearly, this must have been an error, as I had purchased it only the day before, and I had made a point to ask about future markdowns.
I summoned a manager (Nancy), who informed me that it was the correct price, and that it had been marked down last night! She explained that each department does markdowns on a different day of the week. I was STUNNED.
I explained my situation, to which Nancy replied, “our policy is that you would have to bring the original piece back, return it, and buy this one off the shelf.” I persisted, and explained that the piece weighed nearly 350lbs, and that it would be impossible to bring back in its assembled state. To this, Nancy replied “yeah, that is too bad, but it’s our policy, sorry.”
Are you kidding me!?
I am appauled. As a long time shopper and, dare I say, fan of Target, I am floored that customer service is so lax, and the return policy so inflexible.
I’m sure you will all understand, that I cannot, in good conscience, shop at Target until this matter is resolved. Furthermore, I feel that it is my responsibility as a consumer to share this expereince with my family, friends, and colleagues. I feel strongly that this practice is not only unfair, but patently unethical. In any case, it is certainly not the excellent and accommodating customer service I have come to expect from one of my most favorite companies and places to shop.
I wrote a version of the above synopsis in a letter to Robert Ulrich, the CEO of Target. Here’s his response:
Dear Alex Bitterman,
Thanks for contacting Target. Robert Ulrich, Chairman and CEO, received your e-mail and asked me to respond on his behalf.
We’re always looking for ways to make the Target shopping experience better for every guest. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t receive the type of service you expect at Target while visiting our North Buffalo and Fairport Target stores.
At Target we expect our team members to help you in a professional manner. We also know the importance of having well trained team members who can quickly help you find the things you’re looking for. The attitude and behavior you describe aren’t consistent with our guest service philosophy. Your feedback is very helpful to us and I’ll be sure to make your comments available to the Store Training Leads for further review with their staff.
I’d like to take a closer look at your concern about pricing. To do this I need a little more information. Here’s what I’ll need:
– Your Receipt ID (18-digit) number. This number can be found on the bottom of your receipt.; and
– Our product number, also known as a DPCI (Department, Class and Item) number. You can find this nine-digit number on your receipt next to the item, or on a price tag and shelf label at the store.; or
– A Universal Product Code, also known as a UPC or barcode. You can find this 12-digit number on the item packaging; or
– A more detailed description of the item, including specifics such as color, brand, model name/number, size/weight, etc.
Thanks for shopping at Target. I look forward to working with you.
Target Executive Office
After doing all that, I then received a response:
Dear Alex Bitterman,
Thanks for following up with information about the product. I did confirm the price did reduce once more while on clearance. I’m sorry for any frustration this may have caused. I’m not able to do a price adjustment for you on the product, but I did mail you a Target GiftCard as a gesture of goodwill.
We always welcome your feedback, so if we can assist you in the future, please contact our Target Guest Relations team at (800) 440-0680. You can also speak with a team member at the Guest Services Desk at your local Target store, or visit us on Target.com. Either way, we’re here to help!
Thanks for shopping with us. I hope we’ll see you again soon at Target.
Target Guest Relations
Are you kidding? What goodwill? Here’s a 300lb box, move it yourself… oh, and here’s a giftcard for the money we screwed you out of? No thanks. Target is no longer on my list of favorites. Oh, and I should mention, the sideboard is still original price on the Target.com website! See for yourself here.
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