Thursday, October 9, 2008

The BOGO Dilemma

I went to Payless Shoe Source today to get my toddler a pair of black dress shoes for the winter. She was really excited when I walked her into the toddler section and she realized the shoes were for her. Actually, every time I go shoe shopping she is usually one of the recipients, as the shoes have invariably been worn out by the first two girls. Either that, or I have saved them so long that I no longer can locate them.

Whenever there is a “buy one get one free” offer I intend to take advantage of, I always search for two of the same exact price so I can get the full value of the deal. (With meats, I am willing to risk frostbite so I can find a package with the same exact poundage.)

After finding exactly what I was looking for, a size 8 black leather “Mary Jane” type of shoe for $12.99, I started looking for another shoe of the exact same price. For some reason, the same style shoe in the next size up was marked $14.99, so I looked in the women’s department. There was nothing I could use in that price range. So I went back and agonized over the choice.

There was another size 9 shoe for $12.99, but it was not real leather and not as nice a style as the first shoe. Finally, I decided I liked the first pair enough that I would like to have them in the next size, even if there was a $2.00 difference between the two. I brought up my twin pairs in sizes 8 and 9.

Oh, no. The customer in front of me was returning a pair of shoes and started an argument with the store manager. Apparently she had used the BOGO deal on her purchase and did not understand why she was not getting the full value of the shoe back. This went on for a full ten minutes. Now I started looking at my watch nervously, because I had to get to a cross country meet.

My toddler had been good long enough, and wanted to “go go” and “walk”. I struggled with her as she tried to get down. Seeing no one else ready to get in line, I took her to sit on a chair. She flopped off it and sat on the floor.

Now a pregnant-looking woman was headed toward the line. I scooped up my little one and high-tailed it over there. “Excuse me, I’m sorry, but I’ve been waiting for a while and had to chase her over there. She’s at the end of her rope.” She gave me an understanding look and waved me ahead.

The manager ended the argument by giving in. “Look, I just want you to understand that it’s not right, because you’ve gotten three pairs of shoes at half price and that’s not the way it’s supposed to work, but I don’t want to lose customers so I’m going to give it to you this time.”

By this time, the baby was shrieking, “Down! Down!”

Whenever I see a customer being difficult with a cashier, I try to go out of my way to be extra nice to the employee. There is much to be said about civility, and a kind word or sympathetic look can go a long way to make up for the irritations that may be building up throughout their shift.

I arrived at the counter, apologizing, “I am so sorry, she has lost her patience,” knowing full well that the manager was on the edge of losing hers as well. She probably identified with my toddler, wishing she could throw a tantrum.

“That’s okay, I have kids too,” she said.

I saw the lesser pair of shoes ring up at $7.50 and quietly asked, “Excuse me, but was that shoe not $12.99?”

“Actually, they were mismarked. The price has gone up to $14.99,” she replied.

“Oh,” I said, hardly caring anymore.

Then she did a quick recalculation and rang up a new number. “I’m going to ring in both shoes at $12.99,” she said, and I got the second pair for $6.50.

So I got my full value of the deal plus a few dollars off, just by being nice. The other lady got what she wanted as well, but only by leaving bad feelings all over the place.

*By the way, be careful of breast cancer awareness bracelets, which are sold at Payless at well as many other distributors. Carefully research the company before contributing; many times much of the funding goes towards “women’s reproductive health”, which includes abortion.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

I used to work as a cashier in a grocery store. I could tell you stories...