Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carol of the Idiot Clerk

Hark we're at Sears,
Christmas is near,
It's Monday night,
Clerk's not too bright.

We'd like to buy,
From your supply,
Chair's not displayed,
Can you please aid?

She goes online,
Boggles my mind,
We tried before,
But she ignores.

She has no clue,
What she should do?
I'm getting mean:

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Gift cards to spend,
Night never ends,
It just goes on, She's a moron.

Source: Carol of the Bells

Explanation: So, I've sat on this for a while, thinking I'd cool off a bit, and yet it still irks me. Here's the tale in it's entirety:

Sarah and I have a lot of money in gift cards for Sears. This came about because my credit card rewards program hsa slowly been reducing the number of retailers for which they offer the optimal points-to-card-value ratio. I thought it would be smart to accumulate a lot of points at Sears and then use it toward a new household appliance. So, I started accumulating.

Anyway, after a failed attempt at capitalizing on the Black Friday spectacular sales (which included, among other things, a computer issue resulting in an inability for Sears to accept gift cards), we decided to scrap the appliance idea and use the points for other things we need. Well, Sarah found a glider (rocking chair) for the baby's room that she really liked and it turned out Sears carried the same chair. In her quick survey of the web site, she did not see a way to pay with gift cards, however, so we decided it would be easiest to just go to the store. We were planning on picking it up there anyway, so the trip wasn't really anything extra. Plus, the sales associates should know the process better than us.

We went there on a Monday evening, right after the Thanksgiving weekend. The store was empty of customers, but full of customer service folks. We first asked a gentleman at the central customer service desk about buying the glider, but he told us to go upstairs to the department that was selling it. So up we went.

Upstairs, the nearest clerk was a young lady who was working at a Land's End counter next to the baby stuff. We explained that the glider was not on the showroom floor, but their web site indicated that they did have it in stock at the store. We also explained that we wanted to pay for the item with gift cards. She immediately took some initiative and hopped on the computer nearest her counter.

After about a minute and a half of confused web-browsing, she ascertained that she was on a Land's End computer and she needed to be on a Sears computer. While I clearly saw four tabs on the top of the web page, one for Land's End, and one for Sears, I figured she knew what she was talking about and followed her halfway across the store.

When we got to the next computer, it was a "Sears" computer... with the same four tabs across the top. I didn't have the heart to explain to her that both machines were looking at the same web site, but at this point, I lost all faith in her ability to help us. The next ten to four hundred minutes (it seemed like the latter) were spent watching her try to navigate the site. Now, while my wife didn't see how to pay with gift cards, both of us had verified that the item was listed as "in stock" at this store. So, we spent a long time watching this clerk, who was having difficulty with the brand new modern technology that they call the "mouse", try to walk through footsteps we had already taken. At one point, she decided to use the touch screen interface instead, and pushed a button on the screen. One problem - the computer was not a touch screen. As a professional computer scientist, this was perhaps the most excruciating experience of my life.

Eventually, she ascertained that she wasn't going to be able to accomplish anything using the computer and decided to seek out additional help. She was holding the piece of paper on which we had written the item and model number and proclaimed that she was heading down to the merchandise pickup desk to see if they could help. She then went walking off (with our paper) to go downstairs to the desk. Meanwhile, my pregnant wife was in the restroom, so I was stuck waiting at the computer kiosk looking like I just got hit by a freight train of stupidity.

When Sarah returned, we went downstairs to find our helpless clerk with a gentleman from the merchandise pickup area. He was clearly not comfortable with the retail aspects of the operation, but to his credit he quickly determined that she was an idiot and volunteered to help us. He then confiscated the paper from her and took us back upstairs. She got the hint as we all ran away from her and went back to the Land's End desk.

After a few minutes with the merchandise pickup guy trying to use their computer system, he handed us off to an appliance salesperson who was competent and managed to perform the transaction for us. Gift cards taken, glider ready, we shopped for about ten more minutes and then headed back to merchandise pickup to get our glider.

So, after a 15 minute trip turned into an hour and a half, we watched a large man FINALLY wheel out our glider... and realized that it wouldn't fit in our car. He tried for a few minutes to squeeze it in at different angles, but to no avail. So, we used a lifeline, phoned a friend, and went to borrow his truck. As we pulled up to the friend's house, it started to rain. Sometimes it's nice when the weather matches your mood. Anyway, with the borrowed truck, the move was a cinch, and we were totally done with everything in about two and a half hours.

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. Gift cards to spend, night never ends, it just goes on, she's a moron. MOR-ON. MOR-ON. MOR-ON.


Jack said...

From the Sear’s Sales Associates Computer Guide Manual.
Subtitled "Idiots_R_Us"

Many of our web pages are designed for touch screen applications. If you are attempting to use the touch screen application and the computer does not respond, you must void the transaction before continuing. This can be accomplished by using the liquid “Whiteout” located below the computer. Please note that an excessive number of voids will render the display screen useless.

Willie Y said...

It sounds like the time that Monica and I were trying to buy a dish washer at Sears. We were with a clerk for hours and came away with nothing. If you are hired by Sear the first thing they do is send you to the hospital and have your brain removed. Then you are ready to go.

Jeremy said...

In hindsight, I retract everything I've said about Sears. It's a great store. Anybody want to buy my gift cards off of me?