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Wednesday, April 13, 2005



Ironically, today I made a comment on Vicki’s post about how much I LURVE Wal-Mart… and may I say again, I love Wal-Mart.

I HATE TARGET. Say it with me, it’s easy – I HATE TARGET.

DO. NOT. EVER. BUY. ANYTHING. FROM. THEM. EVER. Boycott, boycott. Boycott. They don’t care about you.

Last night, Earl wanted the new Splinter Cell game. He just got paid and was all excited to go get it so we stopped at Target on the way home from work.

We were happy to see they had it in stock. There was one for the Xbox and one for the Game Cube right next to it. Earl asked the Target guy for the Xbox one, and the guy handed it to him. He paid $52.87 for it and we drove 25 minutes home. Earl took off the cellophane and at that point – he realized –

The game in his hand was for the FREAK’N Game Cube.

He was greatly saddened by the fact that he had the wrong game, but hey, it was an honest mistake. The two game boxes are identical except for the tiny little game system name on top of the box. And even though Earl specifically asked for the Xbox, he admits his finger may have pointed at the wrong one as they were right next to each other – at any rate, the guy handed him the wrong one.

Easy mistake, easy fix... right?


We went back to Target today. We saw the same guy who helped us yesterday. He did not necessarily remember us, but he understood the problem and walked Earl over to the customer service desk and handed us over to Sophie, the manager -


Sophie listened to Earl’s request to simply exchange the Game Cube game for the Xbox. No sale would be lost, no problem with the inventory, should be an easy thing to take care of –

And Sophie said NO.

I meanwhile, had somehow found myself purchasing the new 50 Cent CD. I could see Earl talking to some blonde chic over at customer service and thought he should be almost finished by the time I got over there.

To my surprise, I found Earl quietly arguing with Sophie about how she could help, she just obviously didn’t want to... I thought, this was odd. Not exactly what I expected to hear. Why was there a problem? Sophie insisted that because because the cellophane had been removed and because of Target’s policy, she could not accept the game back.

She was suspicious that Earl had copied the disk...

Earl explained that there is absolutely no technology out there that enables anyone to copy a game disk. It is not like music CD or a DVD. It is not physically possible to copy the game. Earl explained again that he did not want his money back, he simply wanted the correct game for his game system - That all this was caused from one of Target’s employees handing him the wrong game and he simply didn’t realize it until he took off the wrapper - That this was Target’s mistake and he was being treated unfairly.

Sophie said NO. Sophie said she couldn’t help him.

Earl remained remarkably calm and collected through out the argument. He never lost control, even when he told her that he also worked in customer service and he knows that this problem should be very easy to resolve; that it is unbelievable and poor service; that she was unwilling to even try. He finished with the old “I hope you know, you just lost a customer.”

And Sophie didn’t care. She said if he didn’t want to continue to be a customer than there was nothing she could do.

“You could do something, you just don’t want to. You could realize this was a mistake on your part, give me what I paid $52.78 for, shrink wrap the game and put it back on the shelf.”

Sophie said NO.

She handed him a business card with the number for the customer relation headquarters and told him he could call them.

So Earl took the card and walked outside. I, of course, felt the need to say something and I wondered how Earl stayed so calm through out all of this. My face got hot as hell at the mere thought of opening my mouth about this. And I said,

“You know part of having a good customer service department is understanding your policies but listening to a particular situation and working with your customers to fix it.”

A woman who had been behind us in line and listening to the whole thing, looked at me when I said that and responded, “That’s right!

I kindly answered with a “Thank you!” to her and joined Earl outside, where I could see the steam coming out of his ears.

I suggested Earl call that number while we were still in front of the building. So he did. He talked to a representative who said that this should not be a problem. Earl was on the phone with her for 15 minutes explaining the situation a couple more times, explaining how it is impossible to copy a game disk, and explaining how the Xbox and the Game Cube game box look exactly alike, how it’s understandable how the mistake was made, and that he only wanted to exchange the damn thing.

The rep decided she needed to talk to Sophie, so Earl walked back inside and was put on hold while the two Target employees talked shop.

This is NOT an exaggeration... Sophie turned her back to Earl while she talked on the phone. She then put her hand over the receiver and whisper into the phone. Then, she ducked down behind the counter while she continued to whisper. - I shit you not - She then stood back up, gave Earl a stern look, and hung up the phone. Earl's looking at Sophie like 'what the hell was that??', and the rep connected back with Earl on his phone. She said to him...

“Ultimately sir, it’s up to the manager. There’s no way to prove that you didn’t originally ask for the Game Cube and if Sophie doesn’t wish to accept the exchange, then we can’t help you.”

Earl was speechless. This whole conversation just went from, okay no problem, to sorry you're shit out of luck, we just took $58 from you, and if you don’t want to be a customer anymore, than that's fine.

“This is unbelievable! No one's even going to try!” He hung up, thinking how can a store manager be higher up than headquarters... and we left the store. We heard, “have a good day” from behind our backs...


We only knew one person with a Game Cube who might buy this stupid game from us. And this person didn’t exactly want the game but felt bad for us... He paid Earl $21.00 for it (because that’s what he had in his pocket).

We stopped by Wal-Mart and bought Splinter Cell for the Xbox.

This game has now officially cost Earl $84.56.

I think a letter to the CEO of Target is in order.

Where we work, we have policies. But in order to keep our customers and maintain a good standing with them, first we listen to the problem, then we try to do what we can to make it right with the customer. We even bend rules if we have to.

And I'm not saying that Wal-Mart doens't have the same policy about removing the cellophane, but I know Wal-Mart would work with us. They would TRY to help.

If you don’t like to deal with stores that could care less if you are a satisfied customer, or remain a customer at all, don’t shop at Target. It's not just the manager - headquarters agrees.
Update from Outside In

"This just in: Although outdoor enthusiasts approved the proposal 6,830 to 5,201 at Monday's hearings...Gov. Jim Doyle said Wednesday, "I don't think Wisconsin should become known as a state where we shoot cats...What it does is sort of hold us up as a state everyone is laughing at." He says he'll veto it. That on Yahoo news at 210pm. :-) "

Like I said to Vicki before - finally, a politician that used his brain - although his reasons were a bit off. I would have preferred him to veto it because hunting cats is wrong and the Egyptian Pharaohs would be turning in their tombs, but whatever. I'll take not wanting a cat killing rep.

And isn't "outdoor enthusiasts who like to kill animals" an oxymoron?

Nice job reporting Vicki and a pat on the back for everyone. Another day, another cat saved.
The following quote was stolen from Outside In - and if you haven't had the good fortune of stumbling across this blog, DO SO. It's some of the best writting I've come across yet. She has a powerful post called CHEESEHEAD CONSERVATION NEWS about Wisconsin and the INSANE laws they are trying to pass - one being the right for hunters to shoot cats. That's right, cats. Why? Because they eat too many doves.

Words to live by, people.

"The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."

~Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928