Monday, December 27, 2010

I'll Never Shop at JR's Again.


 (Or, "Security Run Amok")

Today, we went to return things.

I went to a JR's, a store that seems to have everything.  Adam had bought me a present there (not cigars, I promise!!  They carry all kinds of stuff). It was a rather large puzzle, which I decided I didn't want to tackle right now. I took the pristine, unopened package, and the original receipt.

Now, 30 years ago, that was all you needed to get a refund. At many stores, it's still enough.

I went up to the check-out. The lady asked for my credit card. My husband bought the puzzle with his card.  We have the same Visa account, with the same bill.  But his last four digits are different from mine. The other numbers are the same. And (as you know) it's the last 4 digits that are on the store receipt. (Thus, with my card, and the receipt, I have all his numbers anyway.)

Anyway, the lady tells me that they can't put the $$ back on the card, unless I have the actual card in hand. And they won't give me cash back either!!  With a receipt! That's insane, my friends.

With all the progress we've made in cards and technology and security over the years. the customer is actually worse off.

She asks if I want to look around the store to find something I want.  Because, you see, they're perfectly happy for me to spend the $18.86 IN THEIR STORE.  They just don't want me to take it OUT of their store. So I take my grumpy self around JR's.  And, of course, in that state, there was nothing in their icky ole store that I wanted, thank you very much. They mostly have a lot of junky bric-a-brac, cowboy leather goods, and bad-for-you snack food.

So, my only options were:
1. Go get my husband, drag him or his card back to JR's, and get the $$ back on the card.
2. Let me husband take a separate trip to the store to do the same.
3. Get the dreaded Gift Card.

This made me highly irritable.  The lady volunteered to beckon a manager.

Now, managers come in several varieties.  Some are bend-over-backwards nice.  Some are whiny and apologetic, but unbending in their insipid state.  Others, however, look upon the simmering customer with a bored eye, and tell outright lies.  Such was my lot this morning.

I explained that I had a receipt. All I wanted was cash back.  She said that the corporate office would not allow this.  She threw around "security" as an impressive word.  I wondered, if I already had a receipt with the final four digits of the card, how having $18.86 in cash in my hand would in any way impinge on the security of any card. Sigh.

"This is an unreasonable policy," I told her.  "Basically, JR's requires me to carry my husband's credit card with me, in order to do business.  Nobody does that!"  I pause.  Then I put the question to her, "Do you carry your husband's credit card around with you all the time?"

"Yes,"  she said, "I do."

I should have called her a bold-faced liar on the spot, but my natural civility and Southern charm restrained me.

So, I opted for the Dreaded Gift Card, which I will never use, and perhaps Adam will use eventually. Merry Christmas to me.

As I stood in line waiting for it, the girl behind me whispered to her friend what I was getting, and that she would probably have to get one too.  I turned and told her my predicament.  "Well," she replied, "At least they're watching out for the security of your card."

I ruminated on that thought briefly, and then disagreed with her.  "This is overkill, like the TSA at the airport.  This is not reasonable.  It does nothing to protect my husband's card.  All this policy does is ensure that the money gets spent in THIS STORE, and never leaves this store."  Her friend nodded and agreed. I mean, honestly -- what's the difference between getting the cash and getting the gift card?  I'll tell you:  where it's spent.

Thus the "secure" return policy is in the best interest of the store, not of the customer.

I mean, if they think I'm a thief, -- that some poor sucker left a 5-foot puzzle, complete with bag and receipt, lying around in the street, for me to steal-- then they should call the cops.  There is NO security breach in taking an in-tact item, with its receipt, into a store and asking for my money back. Period.

Bottom line?  I'll never shop at JR's again. I doubt they have much that I need anyway.

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