Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why retail shopping drives me [insane | online]

We needed new patio furniture.  Ours is about 14 years old, rusting, and really needs replacing. We've been out a couple times looking, but still haven't found what we were looking for.  My wife saw an ad in the local paper for resin wicker chair and table set.  Not the highest end, but given our weather, it might just work.  So she sent me on a mission--find them.   We called the closest store, and they were all out.  We called the next closest, and they said they had the tables we were looking for.

I arrived, couldn't find it, so asked for help.  The manager looked up their inventory and it said they had the table and 5 chairs in stock.  It was near closing time, so I paid for the purchase while they pulled it from the stock room.

When we finished, the stock room they could only find 4 chairs.  No table.After doing a "return" of the missing items I left somewhat frustrated.  After 7 visits to 4 different stores, I have all 8 chairs I wanted, but still no table.  I'm very very frustrated, because they don't know what they have, where they have it, and where it's going. They're 30 years behind the times.

1)  Even on clearance items, an organization should know their inventory, across the chain.  Not having real-time inventory in inexcusable in 2012.  (I understand shrinkage and other inventory issues, but generally, you should know what's where!)

2)  You should know what's coming in, and when it is expected.  I can go to Amazon and pull up the tracking number from the order I placed December 12, 2002 (almost 10 years ago!)  How can you not know what's coming?

3)  Figure out a way to take a phone order.  One store had the tables I needed.  I was ready to pay by credit card over the phone.  Their "systems" could not handle it.   Both tables were gone by the time I arrived 45 minutes later.   Certainly added to my frustration.

Not a smarter business.

One of the table/chair sets.
I want to support local business, but compared to how easy it is for me to go on line and find what I'd like, it's getting harder and harder to do it!


P.S. After calling around to each of the 5 stores near me, twice a day, we came home with both tables and 8 chairs. 

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