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Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Target Rant

I finally have something bad to say about Target that isn't a *personal hang-up, bad-customer-service story or understanding-of-Target's-bottom-line-yet-annoyance-of-the-ever-changing-coupon-policy rant.

You know that $.05 bag credit that was implemented at the beginning of November, that they are *soooo* proud of and have been advertising everywhere like crazy? How many times in the past 36 days have you shopped at a T (or ST) and you've not received your damn nickel?

I feel silly being for upset about this - I mean I'm not raging mad, but it is annoying. It's not even so much that I'm upset about missing the pocket change. (Although it would have made my trip last night all that more impressive.)

I just feel let down as a super loyal Super Target "super user". (McDonald's categorizes their customers into 3 groups - moderate, heavy and super, the lesser being the people who eat at one of the stores at least once a week, the middle is 2-3 and super = 4 times or more. I'm seriously at Target at least once every other day, and at most 3 times - 3 different stores - a day.) I bought their red reusable bags shortly after the announcement to make sure that I always have some in both cars and by the door when I leave; I even have two of those silly ones that are made out of parachute material that fold up into a little coin-purse-sized pouch - and I keep both of them in my Burberry purse all so I'm never without a Target bag. ('Cause you never know.)

Am I just being silly for thinking about it this much?

If I use 3 of my own bags each trip, make 2 trips a week every week for a year (52) - when that's all said and done it comes out to $15.60 a year. Not much to a single girl who lives at home but what about the families who use 8 bags and make 3 trips a week. That's $62.40. Think about what Kristin at Couponing to Disney could do with an extra $62 at Disney World. What could you do with that?

I know that they've trained their employees well - but it's silly on my part too because of course I notice that they haven't scanned the credit, yet I won't say anything at the time because I don't want to seem crazy or desperate to the the people in line behind me. So then I get to the car and I think about it on the way home and by that time I'm blaming myself - maybe there is more that I could have done? Did I talk too much during the process and it was distracting? Should I be a stone-cold bit*h to the next person so they will fear my mean side and want to do everything in their power to please me?

I could say something at the time to guest service - but the lines are hella long and after checking out you need to get home to put your stuff away.

I try to check out with the same people at each store I visit and they know me and they've stopped asking if I want to open up a red card account (because I have one) or if I have any coupons (because of course I do). But sometimes even they forget.

Have you ever had the girl who is all caffeinated and brand spankin' new, or the guy who really really wants to work his way up the chain of command, and they go through all of the motions - "Hi! Did you find everything alright? Do you need a gift receipt? Do you need a gift card? You can save 10% by opening Red Card today!" Do those people really need one more thing to be prompted into saying 500 times a day?

Then there are the cashiers who look like they'd rather have their teeth pulled than be on the clock - you know the ones, the older guy who wants to get away from the house but didn't quite have target in mind, or the person for whom this is their second job of the day and they are so exhausted and drained that they really don't care if we save $.50 on a $4 box of cereal. Those are the cashiers who are ice cold and will tab on through the required questions in the first place. I am not about to tell that person s/he forgot to take my nickel off.

So, here is the question - how do we handle this without seeming like huge a*holes? How do you politely ask your cashier "did you get the bag credit" without seeming homeless, poor, like we're trying to steal something or like we're telling the person with the scan gun how to do their job?

I don't have a problem using coupons - I've only had one situation where I was flat out told I could not use a coupon which resulted in bringing a manager over, showing the coupon policy and calling customer service from my cell phone right there in the lane did not work. (It was those damn travel games - I bought 4 of the last 7 - two HH and two C4 at a store I did not frequent, thus the cashier and I were not on a first name basis. She had already rung EVERYTHING up and when it came time for the coupons, she needed to "call a manger" to push them through; he came over and said that I would only be allowed to get one, that they needed to leave some for others and that they had the right to determine what was considered normal consumption. I understand if I were trying to get them all for free using a Target coupon - like those damn Up & Up toddler wipes, but these were manufacture, not to mention that the cashier had ALREADY SCANNED THEM and PUT THEM IN MY BAGS. So had I just paid for them everything would have been fine, but the d*bag manager wasn't having any of the coupon business even though they would have been completely reimbursed AND have made $.32 off the sale, but whatever. So I just said, that's fine, I'll keep my coupons and please take those other 3 off.) ((Anyway - where were we? Oh yes. Feeling bad about saving money.)

But I know that so many of you out there do feel like you're getting looked at like you're being prosecuted for shoplifting all the time - not just when a coupon doesn't go through or if the cashier is studying the coupon before they'll even try scan it.

I'm about to write an email to corporate - yes, at this ungodly hour - because I just can't sleep and I want to know what those big-wigs think about all of this. I also want to hear what you have to say - should this be a screen prompt? Should the employee be personally docked in someway for every failed bag credit? Target as a corporation should care about this - yes they are losing money five cents at a time but the only way to accurately judge if the program is working and if the planet is being saved one non-plastic-bag-transaction at a time is to have every employee do their part.

What do you think?


(Steps off of soap box)

(*my personal hang up as mentioned in the first sentence is about parents who let their kid - as in only one - sit in those damn extended carts - as pictured at top - that take up the whole aisle and are very hard to maneuver around other people. Your kid doesn't need that - what about the parents who come in after you and have two or three kids and are desperately looking for those multi-kid carts but can't find any so they have to make one sit in the seat and one in the basket creating less space for their groceries, or let one hang on to the side or wander the aisle. I get that I don't have kids so "I don't know", but I assure you that I won't put up with any cart-related temper-tantrums.)

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