This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't Do Me Any Favors

The other day, while at volleyball practice, Tim and I decided to go out for a snack run. We hit Food Lion, a grocery chain mainly on the East Coast (headquartered in NC) because I remembered a promotion there, from my visit to it a day or two prior, for buy one get one free M&Ms. Ever since NOT purchasing them the day I saw the promotion, I couldn't stop thinking about grabbing a bag of Christmas decorated, peanut M&Ms.

We stopped at one and picked up two bags of M&Ms (peanut and peanut butter), along with a bag of twizzlers and pistachios.

We hit the self-checkout and noticed that our bags of M&Ms were not ringing up as BOGO free. We hit the HELP button, since we couldn't cancel the transaction, and for about 2 minutes, no one indicated they were even paying attention to us.

So...a bit annoyed...we head to the checkout line (non-self-checkout). Again, our M&Ms ring up differently and *still* not BOGOF. We mention it to the lady, who explains that it took $1.80 off. We remind her that the bag is 4.29 each...and that 1.80 does not equal 4.29.

She calls on another person to come over and discuss this with us. THAT person also states "it took 1.80 off". Um...that is NOT equal to BOGOF. I am baffled that they are justifying the 1.80.

So the 'another person' looks at us and says "is there a sign?" Jeezuz. There were signs everywhere! Right next to the register was a sign for the promotion. I point it out. Guess what she said? That is for the *holiday* version of M&Ms.

Arrrrgghhh. I tell the 'another person' 'come with me; i will show you the signs'. So I escort her to the candy aisle, and right there is the sign that says "Buy one, get one free M&Ms". She then says "that sign is under _these_ M&Ms".


Instead, I said "Um, it doesn't say a specific M&M type. You will have to honor this promotion."

"Let me get my manager".

I wait at the register while she shuffles along looking for the store manager. Who the fuck was she anyway? I thought I was already dealing with the manager?

We had another idiotic conversation with the cashier, who was saying 'yeah, sometimes the position of the signs throws people off...that's our fault' implying that, indeed, where the sign is located is where the promotion applies. WHICH IS FUCKING INSANE?

I told MiMi: this is a user experience problem: they expect the user to figure out how to shop according to their rules.

Finally, the 'another' person comes to the register and she says the following: "I just talked to my manager and I am going to do this for you this time..." This is when Tim blew a gasket and told her "you aren't doing me a favor...i just want to pay for this for the price it's supposed to be".

In the end, we had a bit of an exchange of words: she justifying that she is doing us a favor by honoring the BOGOF, Tim telling her he wasn't interested in anything she had to say and that she was NOT doing us a favor.

Eventually, she made eye contact with me to tell me that it was actually taking the price off for taking a 1.80 off each bag. The math didn't add up and I was just keeping it together so I could have my M&Ms.

But we had frazzled her so much that we were charged $7.xx for our entire order. Tim challenged her:
did you ring up the twizzlers?
Did you ring up the pistachios?
The pistachios are nearly $6.00; the twizzlers and M&Ms are $2?
That's how it's ringing up after the discount.
< sarcastic laughter > OK.

So grocery chains, listen to me:
1. It's not worth fighting with the customer over a 4.00 bag of anything.
2. Don't get anal retentive about your signage. Either honor everything or say so on the sign. ONLY THE YELLOW BAGS OF M&Ms are BOGOF. FWIW, they are not...the other Food Lions allow a customer to pick any M&M bag...
3. If you have BOGOF, make it look like that on the receipt. Why do you expect customers to figure out the math? It was only lucky that we had a few items. If I had my weekly cart full of food, I would have missed this completely.

Did I ever mention the other great customer service I had several years ago? From KFC?

It was a picnic day at CJ's elementary school. We picked up chicken for our meal. We got one of those big family meal specials: chicken, cake and soda - a humongous 32 oz jug of coke. I asked the KFC attendant if I could have three cups to pour the coke into. She said no, they don't do that and shut the window.

Oh yeah. And this KFC, located on Duraleigh, has at least twice this year (with me) NOT HAD CHICKEN. And were fine letting me know that there was no more chicken to serve. Period. Done. No 'we will have some finished in 10 minutes'...nothing. Kaput.

Yes, I have written to KFC about these incidents, never expecting anything in return. The place is still a piece of shit and I have received no apologies.

Guess it's time to write my friendly, neighborhood Food Lion.

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