Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Target: Left Hand, meet Right Hand

My friend Maria wanted to buy some new pants from Target (a.k.a. Le Target Boutique)
so she checked for what she wanted on their website, first.

When you look at products on their website, the page will say whether the product is available just online or "Item is available online and in stores." If available in stores a BIG RED BUTTON appears that says "Find it at a Target Store." You type your zip code and within seconds ... Presto! A beautiful list of locations, distance from the provided zip code, and - most importantly - whether the item is available or not at that location. It's great!

So, Maria found what she wanted and the website said there were lots of them in stock at the Target store north of Alexandria, VA. So, off she went.

When she arrived at the store, she showed a staff person a printout of what she wanted. She was immediately told, "We don't carry those here. That's a webpage you are holding. Those are only on the website." She explained -- twice -- that the website had indicated inventory in their store. The staff person was not getting it.

So she went to a manager. Explained the situation. And SAME RESPONSE.
"I'm sorry Ma'am. You're confused. This is a store, and that is the website. We have different inventories". She tried to explain that the site said it was checking store inventories, but the manager persisted in insisted that she was confused. She finally left, absolutely furious at Target.

Hey Target Folks: Maria and I program web databases for a LIVING. It's what we DO. It's what we've done for A DECADE. We are not confused ... YOU ARE.

To summarize, there are two issues here:

1) The "Find it" function on the website clearly doesn't work. Whatever inventory system it is pointed to does not in fact reflect the real inventory at the stores

2) The staff at the stores are not only unaware of this function, it appears to be INCONCEIVABLE to them that the function could even exist. I think that some serious training is needed here, folks. Start small and simple, with an easy concept like "The Customer is always Right." Then you can build up from there.


Maria Lima said...

The really really BEST part about all of this? The look of "what a dumb woman" on each and every one of the employees' faces.

Frustrating as all get out!

Pish Posh, @imakeagoodhat said...

Well, the customer isn't always right, but the employee can also be wrong.

Anywho. They are silly. I suggest checking online and then calling the store in advance. Makes life easier.

It was rude of them to react like that. They should have offered to check their inventory. (Most stores do have that capability. May not be correct at the time, but at least it should know what was there that morning.)