Sunday, January 15, 2006

Buyer Beware

Okay. Maybe my title is a bit melodramatic for the events that unfolded today, but nevertheless, it came to mind; so I used it.

Being a Sunday, a beautiful day, and having an extreme case of cabin fever, I picked up Mom to just get out for a while, even though, really, there's not much to do but go eat and/or go shop. I even looked at movies playing, and nothing sounded worth going to see. Since we both wanted to buy new frames for Sarah's picture and we hadn't yet been to the new Kohl's store, that was good as anything else to do. Mom wanted a few other things while we were there. I bought two frames, on sale 50% - they have beautiful frames and nice household items - and Momma bought her frame, too, a nightgown, two bath towels and four hand towels, all of which were on sale. This itemization is necessary to tell this story. But to stay in sequence, I won't jump ahead.

It was around 1:30 when we left Kohl's, and every restaurant parking lot was full -- I don't think anybody in Beaumont cooks Sunday lunch; so we thought we'd get a plate lunch from Luby's drive thru and take it back to her house. We were in line I swear an hour. I would pull up one car, and even kill the engine because it took so long. We could have gone in, ordered, eaten, paid and left by the time the five cars ahead of us finally were serviced with their orders. Why each car took so long I can't imagine. Finally we get to the window. Well, the delay wasn't because they had to go dish up the food because ours had been dished up and probably sitting there for at least 45 minutes. I held my tongue, and took our food and we went home. We ordered chicken fried steak with cream gravy (#9 I think it was on the drive thru menu - lol). There was maybe a tablespoon of gravy in a small container. The meat had apparently been microwaved several times already, and once more by me because it was cold. It was awful. What a waste of time and money and even calories! If I'm going to eat indulgent food, I'd at least like it to be pleasing to the pallet!

Well, tummies full, but completely disappointed in our meal, she begins to take out her items and look at the ticket. It appeared she was charged for four bath towels rather than the two, and she did not get the 40% sale price on the nightgown. Competely disgusted at getting ripped off, I said, "We're going back!" I called the store, and the young man told us to come to customer service. So, we did, drove back to Kohl's, clear across town.

It turned out the items on the ticket that we thought were for two "extra" bath towels were actually correctly rang up for two hand towels she did have that apparently weren't on sale. They were on the same table with the hand towels that were on sale, and looked very similar. So, it was very easy to pick them up, white and yellow, thinking they were all the same price. Must be a merchandising trick! Of course, when we checked out, her total did seem a bit high, but we let it go thinking things just add up. I know you should check your ticket when you check out, but we just assumed it was right. Yes, our mistake. How stupid! You can't and shouldn't trust anything.

The boy was nice enough and credited her back for the two non sale hand towels and checked the price of the nightgown in the computer. It still showed regular price. But the rack it was on was clearly marked reduced. All the gowns were the same, so it wasn't a case of it being mishung on the wrong rack. So, in his mind, as a good-will gesture, he gave her credit for the sale price. But my thinking is they should make sure the computers are programmed with what's on sale. They can't expect the cashiers to know every price and sale item. When it's scanned, the sale price should come up.

Well, we got it all worked out, but it was a completely unnecessary hassle and waste of time that could have been better spent relaxing with a nice cup of coffee after what should have been an enjoyable lunch.

When you check out there, they give you, along with your receipt, a ticket to take a survey when you get back home at www.kohls.com/survey, with a store number and access code. What a pain. The survey didn't ask anything specifically related to our experience, but things like did a salesperson help you? No, there were no sales people. Did the cashier know how to use a cash register? Well, yeah! I found the whole thing completely annoying to have to spend time grading their performance. It certainly did not make for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Granted, we should have been more diligent to notice the price on the hand towels and not accept as gospel the final checkout price, but in my thinking, when you shop, you shouldn't have to have your guard up that a supposedly reputable store is trying to get more dollars out of you than you are consciously agreeing to spend in some underhanded way. It's just not right. And you shouldn't have to stay at the drive thru window, open your sack and open your food containers and check to see if you have what you ordered or that your food is fresh. It's bad enough the fast-food people can't tell the difference in onion rings and french fries. But this was Luby's! Not hamburger joint! The older I get, the more I absolutely hate shopping.

So, now that I'm back home, putting all the unhappiness behind me and still in one piece, it's time to hopefully find a good movie to watch. Last night I started watching a DVD that I hadn't seen yet, Gosford Park. It was so dreadful, I turned it off in about 30 minutes, and started channel surfing. A movie was starting -- "Rudy" which I had never seen. It was obviously going to be about football, which I'm not big on sports. But in utter despiration, I gave it a try. What a beautiful movie it was! Evidently a true story of a young man with a strong will, self control and sheer determination to overcome obstacles and obtain his dream to attend Notre Dame and play on the football team. It was definitely two hours well spent.

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