Retailers: You Are Not Helping the Recession

by Cathy Miller

in Miller Musings

bored shopper womanCyber Monday was a big hit.

What once was confined to Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S) now extends past the weekend into Cyber Monday.

According to IBM’s 2012 Holiday Benchmark report, there was a huge leap in the online sales area this year.

  • Over a 30% increase over 2011 online sales
  • Strong sales after commuting hours
  • Mobile online shopping was a whopping 70% higher than 2011

But, how many of those sales actually delivered?

If your experience is anything like mine, 2012 has been a huge case of retailer letdown. That’s the retailer letting us down – not the other way around.

This is what I found.

Multiple Choices – Not

One retailer who shall remain nameless due to my love of their spokesperson, Ellen, has been beyond frustrating.

  • You peruse sweater selections
  • Multiple selections – multiple colors
  • Then you make your selection.

Sorry – we don’t have that size – or –

It’s your unlucky day – out of the 6 different colors to choose from, only the putrid color is available – and did we mention we don’t have it in the size you are looking for?

Grr…

Oh, You Wanted it by Christmas?

Another retailer had a similar supply and demand problem as Ellen’s retailer – not as bad – or so I thought.

  • I ordered my gift in November
  • Plenty of time, right?
  • On December 10th, I receive a mechanical-sounding voice mail

We’re sorry. Your selection is on back-order  It will become available for delivery on January 6th. Thank you for shopping with Don’t Ask For Too Much (like on-time delivery)

Then there was the joke of actually trying to get a live, human being at customer service to cancel the order.

Because, silly me, I thought a Christmas present ought to be given, oh I don’t know, BEFORE Christmas is over.

The phone tree was sprouting an orchard of canned responses.

Just let me speak to someone who is still breathing and NOT plugged into a wall socket.

Oops

Now, there’s a word you never want to see attached to your online order.

But, that’s just what I got. I am not kidding.

Apparently, there was a screw-up with my order so wouldn’t I love to use the 20% discount coupon they attached to give them another shot at screwing up my order?

I guess if they continue to screw up I could collect enough discounts for a free gift. That has about the same logic.

Ho-Ho-Ho

As I toddle off for liquid retail relief, I wish you pain-free shopping, delivery bliss, and the sanity to make it into the new year in one piece.

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Live…Laugh…Love

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Hurley Hall December 13, 2012 at 5:20 am

I feel your pain, Cathy. I’ve got my last two presents to buy (for international delivery) and I’m hoping it all goes smoothly.
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Cathy December 13, 2012 at 5:53 am

Now, see there, Sharon. This is a good example that someone else always has bigger challenges. I cannot imagine dealing with shipping internationally.

I thought I was done until that last mechanical voice mail about the back order. Now, I have to replace that gift. I may actually have to fight the physical crowd *shudder*

Thanks for sharing your story, Sharon.

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Sharon Hurley Hall December 13, 2012 at 6:01 am

I really loathe the Christmas crowds, Cathy, though I have promised to accompany someone else on Monday. My plan is to be a bystander, though – I won’t be shopping.
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Cathy December 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

You and me both (twin ;-)). I’m forced to because I’m afraid the gift won’t get here on time.

I’ve always said I am missing the shopping gene. I hate it. I remember one Christmas I went shopping with a friend. I looked like the husband slouching in a chair as she went ALL over the blasted mall. After that experience, I told her in order for our friendship to survive, we would never shop together again. We didn’t and we are still friends. :-)

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John Soares December 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

I get around this by doing very minimal Christmas shopping and gift giving. I tend to give people things they really need when they need them, not because I’m expected to at a certain time of year.

Of course, young children don’t understand this philosophy, so that’s a different situation.
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Cathy December 13, 2012 at 7:45 am

Now, that’s a great approach, John. But, I enjoy the Christmas Eve gift-sharing. It’s just the shopping part I don’t like. :-)

Thanks for sharing your method for sanity, John. :-)

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Anne Wayman December 13, 2012 at 8:23 am

I did all my xmas shopping (except, probably, for bags for wrapping) in two days… Costco when I went to pick up scrips, and Amazon the next day. I’m leery of how much control Amazon has and intended not to use them this year, but… when I tried to shop thehungersite.com but they were having tech troubles and I was’t willing to wait.

Cathy, I think you should name the store because I believe we should hold folks with awful service accountable.

My orders from the big A have already shipped. Hard to beat that kind of service.
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Cathy December 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

Amazon is a good one in terms of service, Anne. I used them as well and everything shipped without a hitch.

I figured people would see my tongue-in-cheek reference to the one retailer’s spokesperson.

My problem was not with getting the shopping done. It was with the retailers not holding up their end of the deal. Thanks for sharing your experience, Anne.

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Paula H December 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

I hate shopping, too, Cathy, but it’s mostly because I see too many pretty things I want and know I can’t justify the costs.

I’ve had great success online shopping at smaller stores this year. Two gifts I ordered (one from a site my sister has used before, the other from a small but established store) less that a week ago have already arrived. Meanwhile some other things are taking far longer. I loathe entering giant toy stores so much that I paid $6.95 shipping for my niece & nephew’s toys.

It’s probably no surprise to those of you who know me, but I make a lot of gifts. This year four people made specific requests, too. Next year they need to make their requests earlier. Only so much knitting a girl can do between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Someone might open a box of yarn with a photo of what they’ll be getting.)
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Cathy December 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

LOL, Paula. :-D A very long time ago, I did needlepoint Christmas gifts. I was on the plane ride for Christmas at my parents’ house and still working on the gifts. I think that’s the last time I made my gifts. :-)

Thanks for sharing your shopping tips, Paula.

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Lori December 13, 2012 at 11:31 am

Oh Cathy, you’ve hit on my biggest peeve of all — the “you can’t have it by Christmas despite our overabundance of commercials promising you that you can” peeve. Another retailer, who shall remain nameless, failed to hit the, er, target with a particular designer product line. I ordered two things, got a note a week later saying they were back-ordered. Fine, as the order was just for me and for no reason other than I like shiny, new things. :) Three weeks later, they sent a note to the effect “Sorry, but you’re not getting what we’ve made you wait three extra weeks to get.”

I wrote them an angry email. Two weeks later I get a gift card for $20. Really? I wanted what I’d ordered. If they had limited those morons who buy up 50 of everything to sell at a huge profit on eBay to a few items per order, I’d have been sporting some sweet shoes.

Now when they go on about “Great Fabulous Designer Coming Soon to Our Store!” I ignore them. They lost me because of lousy communication.
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Cathy December 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

You know I hadn’t even thought about the eBay angle. Yeah, that frosts me. What got me was that the mechanical voice mail message didn’t even consider the possibility that receiving it in January was not good enough. I’m supposed to be impressed that they called me “personally” (Ha!) to let me know about the back-order.

Grrrrrrr…..

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Jacko December 14, 2012 at 6:44 am

It’s out deception society a sign of the times.

99% of all offers are laced with lies we just get used to it:

> NO CREDIT CHECK SIGN AND DRIVE
> MAKE $5000000000000 in 5 minutes click here now
> OWN THIS HOME with ZERO DOWN and no proof of income

It’s just how it is these days.

I’ll never forget I once reserved a hotel for super bowl weekend in Miami. I made my reservation AND PAID about 11 months in advance.
I got a great deal on the room only like $125/night for south beach super bowl weekend, AWESOME. Or so I thought.

When I arrived to check in they told me they sold my room to someone else because the rates had risen to over $400/night by the day of the super bowl.

It’s just how it is.

lies lies lies.

What can you do?
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Cathy December 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

Hi Jacko: It’s too bad we are so skeptical of advertising and are surprised when we get what we paid for with no hassles.

I would hope that hotel has shut down with those kinds of tactics. Thanks for sharing your story.

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