I’m one of those shoppers that traditional brick and mortar stores love to hate. The only ‘real life’ shopping experiences I willingly take on are the after Christmas shopping trips with my mom and my kids. We make them into fun adventures in which the gift recipient gets the benefit of making sure the size and color is right and the gift giver doesn’t have to worry about the risk of returning a gift that didn’t quite hit the mark.
I am an avid online shopper, I love comparing prices, finding deals, and I’d rather buy a leaf blower on Amazon and wait for it to be delivered to avoid having to set foot in Sears, Home Depot, or Lowes. That is of course, unless I need said leaf blower immediately so we can make sure we get the yard cleaned up before the rain and leaf collection day. That was the situation this fall when I discovered the beauty of buying on line and picking an item up in the store.
I knew Sears had a feature to check the availability of a product on the website, so before driving there I wisely checked online first. I was pleasantly surprised to find a suitable leaf blower on sale and in the store, even better I realized that I could enter my zip code, select store pickup, choose the store, provide my cell phone number, and complete the transaction. Ten minutes later I received a text message letting me know my order was ready to pick up. There was no waiting and no hassle; I was in and out of the store in less than five minutes. I couldn’t believe I’d waited so long to try the in-store-pickup as an option.
Over Thanksgiving I was in St. Louis and my parents surprised me with the news that my Christmas shopping trip included a trip to Best Buy to pick out a new printer. I was thrilled about the printer, but less than excited about going to Best Buy on Black Friday. My mom suggested we check online to see if we could order it from the website and have it delivered to the store in Langhorne. My dad and I jumped on the idea, especially after I shared how easy my experience at Sears was.
I found the printer I wanted, verified that it was stock at the store near my home, entered in all the information, selected in-store-pickup, sat back and smiled. I received the order confirmation within seconds of placing the order and duly noted that I was to wait for an email that says “Your item is ready for pickup.”
Two days later I received the email with the pickup instructions and it dawned on me that I had made a critical mistake when I placed the order. I missed the part of the process where I was supposed to indicate who would be doing the picking up. Positive that I wasn’t the first person that this had happened to, I forwarded the email to my dad with the subject of ‘Pickup reminder – need help.’
it looks like I goofed on one thing when I placed the order and I forgot to select the option that says someone else is going to pick it up. Can you call Best Buy and let them know that I will be picking it up rather than you? Hopefully they will cooperate with us.”
A few hours later I received a call from my dad with instructions from the folks at Best Buy.
“Take the order confirmation with you to the store, go to the pickup counter, show them the confirmation and if they won’t give you the printer have them give me a call. The gal on the phone said that should be all we need to do,” he said.
The pickup was a no go. No matter how hard I pleaded and explained that we had called and told it would be ok, I was firmly informed that they could not turn the printer over to me. My name had to be on the order and I must show my driver’s license at the time of pickup. If I’m not mistaken I think she even told me it was the law, I guess if it’s not a state law it’s at least a corporate one.
Apparently we hadn’t known to use the right lingo; my dad had to actually add my name to the order for ‘gift pickup.’ You would have thought the person on the other end of 888-BESTBUY and a seemingly endless number of voice prompts might have passed along that information on the first call.
Confident we had everything squared away I returned to the store for a second time. A smiling young woman welcomed me to Best Buy and took my information. After twenty minutes of searching and a whispered conversation with another associate she returned.
“We don’t show your name on the order. Are you sure he called?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m positive, he called a couple of hours ago,” I replied.
“Oh, that could be the problem then, they have to update the orders manually and they have a really big backlog. It should be in the system by tomorrow. But you should probably call first,” she explained.
Manually? Are you kidding me?
As directed, I called the store the following day and was not surprised to find that my name was still missing from the order. Another series of phone calls about the printer and it’s pick up arrangements ensued, and a third trip to the store followed.
“May I speak with Michelle? I’m here to pick up a printer and I was told to ask for her.”
“She’s left for the day, but you’re Beth, right? She left me a detailed note and I have your printer ready to go. I’m really sorry for all the trouble you’ve had.”
“Do you need to see my ID?” I asked.
“No, that’s fine, we know who you are,” she responded.
I had to laugh. So much for the ‘law.’