Friday, May 21, 2010

Mall gift cards and family christian stores

Yesterday afternoon I did some running around. I needed to buy some gift cards to give as gifts, so I initially headed to the Jefferson Pointe Mall to get them. As I walked up to the office door I noticed a rather large sign taped onto the door reminding me that they charge $2 per gift card, and that they don't work at about a half dozen places at the mall. So I stopped... and decided maybe I should get them somewhere else. I forgot we have had problems before with giving JP gift cards and then they wouldn't work, or the balance would be wrong; not to mention paying extra just to get them a gift card to use at THEIR stores...

So I thought I would just go to Glenbrook Mall and get the gift cards there. Ha! I drove clear out north, only to find they charge THREE dollars for their gift cards!! I told the lady "no thank you" and sat on a bench to ponder the perplexity of these retailers stupidity.

I mean, I understand that when you use "visa" or "american express" (or whatever) gift cards, there is a charge by those companies to use their card. So I 'get' that the mall is not necessarily charging us to use their gift cards, they are simply passing on the charge from the credit card companies. Banks do the same thing with their gift cards. So what I don't understand is... what was wrong with the old gift CERTIFICATES that people use to use? You got a piece of paper, and it was good at whatever store you wanted to shop in at the mall. I know, I know... those probably don't mesh with each companies corporate office procedures, and it would simply be too obtuse to do something that made sense to people on an ordinary everyday level. It just seems stupid that malls cannot figure out another way of giving customers gift cards/certificates so they don't have to charge us money to shop at their stores. Then they wonder why stores can't afford to set up in malls anymore, and... Ugh. It just seems pretty stupid to me. And it actually lost the mall stores several hundred dollars in sales yesterday.

I ended up driving around to various restaurants and the movie theater and buying my gift cards from them. They didn't charge me anything to get them, and while people won't have the advantage of choosing where to shop or eat, they will at least be getting something of value that isn't putting extra money into corporate America's pocket (well, at least any MORE money in their pocket). Argh.

Of course, that was nothing compared to my trip to the Family Christian Store. This company has got to be one of THE WORST at customer relations. To be honest, I can hardly go into their stores. And it's not because of the merchandise. It is completely because of their apparent company policies on how they treat their customers. And then they wonder why people order online!

I walk into this store knowing exactly what I wanted. I needed two boxes of cards. As soon as I walk in the door, and their loud ding lets everyone know I am there, 2 sales guys ask if they can help me. I told them I knew what I was looking for and went and grabbed my items. Then.... I took a spot in line. There was only one person ahead of me, so it shouldn't have taken any time at all, but NOOOOOOOOO... they have to play the 20 questions game EVERY STINKING TIME YOU TRY TO BUY SOMETHING. This drives me crazy to no end! First they want to know if you have a perks card, then do you want to donate to this, then would you like to sponsor that, then would you like to buy one of these other items, then did you realize such and such items were on sale, then.... it just seems to go on and on and on forever! You know, I don't mind if they want to ask, "Did you find everything you need?" But I hate it when people insult our intelligence by assuming we are too stupid to know what it is we were shopping for. Like, "Oh, I am so silly; I completely didn't realize that I wanted to buy one of these stupid little teddy bears. How could I not have known that I wanted one of those. Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention!"

Is it too much to ask that we walk into a store, get what we want, be told how much we owe them, pay for said item, and leave? It's not complicated, people.

To top things off - and I've had this happen to me several times, all at this same store - I bought 2 boxes of cards, and the sales guy tells me to go pick out a 3rd box because it's free. So I walked 10 feet to my right, immediately grabbed a box of cards off the shelf, walked back... AND HE HAD STARTED TO WAIT ON THE PERSON IN LINE BEHIND ME!!! So I had to wait until he got done going through all of this with them before he would check me out, even though I was already in line!!!! Are they freaking insane or what?!?

I don't know why I even stuck around to buy the stupid cards from them. And it would be one thing if this was an isolate incident, but I actually believe this must be company policy, because it happens every single time I go to this store. I tell you, one of these days, if I have some extra time on my hands, I'm gonna write me a letter to their corporate office. Because I really do appreciate having stores like this around. It's not that I WANT to order stuff online. But I totally hate going through this crap every time I go there.

Okay... I am better now. It's really more frustrating than anything. How can people not know how irritating it is. Whatever.

Peace out, my friends; and in.


Jim said...

I'm with you on the "Leave me alone when I'm shopping in your store - if I want something from you I'll yank on your chain." I think it's a guy thing, sorta like not wanting to ask for directions. :o)

FYI, I don't know if they charge anything for the cards or not, but our grocery store (HyVee) has an end cap full of gift cards for various chain restaurants and stores. I think that's pretty common in many grocery stores. Could be more convenient than driving around, even if it costs something per card (hey, gas and your time are worth SOMETHING). Just file that away for future reference.

Mickymar said...

Great post! I agree, so much of the time they concentrate on proper customer service, and yet there is always someone getting the wrong end of the stick. I know from working in stores they are instructed to wait on the next person if the current person is getting an addon to their order. There are some stores, that will ring you up and keep it all in que to wait on you when you return.

Gift Baskets

John said...

I would like to share a tip I just found about a discount gift card exchange called . You can buy sell and trade gift cards at discounted prices from all National retailers.