Sunday, September 13, 2009

Target's Gift Registry is the Worst

It’s been several weeks since I’ve blogged. It’s been a hectic, but productive summer. I’ve been prepping for my sister’s upcoming wedding on October 12th in Vegas (threw a shower for 70, bachelorette fondue party/sleepover), I coordinated a friend’s wedding day a few weeks ago, consulting full-time, and running a professional organization with 1,200 members. Whew! I need a vacation.

This blog comes with heavy heart. My favorite store in the world has let me down. I am still very frustrated and angry about my experience yesterday with Target. I’ve always been a huge fan of Target, shopping there several times a week. In fact, there are four Targets in a 10 mile radius of my home and they’ve all been gracious enough to take my money each time. As long as there is a Target close by, all is good in the world.

My sister, Jen, who equally shares in my fondness of the Big Red T, registered there for her wedding. I thought it was a great idea because she would get all her essentials, her guests wouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to buy a gift, and there are so many stores around that you could pick it up and not have to pay for shipping charges. Awesome, right? Well, what she quickly found out was Target is not at the top of their game when it comes to gift registries. Their return policy is absolutely ridiculous. It’s so ridiculous, that I wrote a letter to the CEO last night, and woke up at 6:00 AM this morning (Sunday) to blog about this. I would highly recommend not using Target for gift registries. They are not gift recipient-friendly.

I was with Jen when she returned one item from her shower a few weeks ago, because it was a duplicate. The associate was so rude to her and said that she only had x amount of dollars worth of gifts that she could return. Um, huh? What does that mean? I remember the days when friends would return all of their wedding and shower gifts because they needed the money. In this case, my sister actually took the time to register for things they needed. She only returned something because she had already received it. This was her first clue that a Target registry may not have been a good idea.

Last night, we went shopping and of course, Target was one of our stops. Jen had a gift she needed to return, because it was another duplicate from her registry. We got to my favorite store in Manhattan Beach and proceeded to Guest Services to make the return. Since she didn’t have a receipt, the associate had to call Corporate for approval to give a gift card. We didn’t think much of it and said we would do some shopping and come back. As I was in the checkout line, my sister went back to Guest Services to check on her return. I noticed that she was visibly angry, and the associate was back on the phone. Apparently, Corporate could not approve the return without a receipt. How many people actually put gift receipts in with gifts? 10%? The gift did not show up on the registry as being purchased. Something happened where either the purchaser didn’t ask to have the gift registry updated or Target did not update it. In either case, this was no my sister’s fault and she was being penalized for it. I asked to talk to the person on the phone as a last resort. I reiterated what happened and asked what he could do to help the situation. The “gentleman” said that there was nothing he could do without a receipt, regardless if it was on the registry or not. Huh? Seriously? What? I asked to talk to his supervisor and he said he was the highest level of escalation there, and was incredibly rude. Does he realize who he’s talking to? Does he realize that this is not going to go away?

The manager of the store, who they refer to as the ETL (Executive Team Leader), was asked to call Corporate to see what she could do. We explained the situation to her and she completely agreed with us. She admitted that when she got married a few weeks ago, she didn’t even register at Target. She called Corporate and spoke to a few different people. I was shocked at what I was hearing. It was apparent that the “gentleman” on the phone was raising his voice with her. At one point, I heard her say, “I am not a team member, I am an ETL and you are out of line.” She was wonderful, helpful, and really wanted to do the right thing. She was shocked herself that this was the return policy. She kept repeating, “I have a very upset guest in front of me, and this is not her fault. This is on her gift registry and you are telling me that there is nothing we can do, as a corporation, to help her? This is a Target mistake that it’s not showing up as purchased. I think this is ridiculous. Yes, you did hear me, this is ridiculous.” When she hung up, her face was flush and she looked completely defeated. She felt so sorry and kept apologizing. She said that the man on the phone was raising his voice and was threatening to her. Not only was Corporate rude to a guest, but they were rude to their own employees. We waited about an hour, and the result was that we left with a $300 gift that my sister already had.

As I’ve mentioned above a few times, I am still in shock. This is cut and dry. I could see if my sister tried to return something that was opened or clearly didn’t come from Target or was trying to get cash back. None of these were the case. The money was going to be spent right back into Target, and this was on her registry!

I came home and wrote a letter to the CEO. I wish I could hand deliver it to him, because that’s how irate I am over this. I am hopeful that I will be able to update you all in a week that this ended in a positive result. We’ll see if Target holds up to their reputation for excellent guest services. Right now, I am not convinced.

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