Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hobby Lobby, Take a Lesson from Chick-fil-a and Publix

CFA and Publix are two establishments who've got customer service down. They've identified their main customer base and they cater to it. I would argue that the customer base for each of these stores is the same...moms with young kids.

Chick-fil-a's got the playground, the sticky placemats, the option to trade in your toy for ice cream.
And we've already gone over what Publix has (double shopping carts with steering wheels, free cookies and balloons, free diapers in the bathrooms, etc.).

Hobby Lobby has got a lot going for it. It's a Christian company and I feel good about spending my money there. In fact, there have been numerous times I've called it my favorite store. However, after today, I don't know that I can say that anymore.

Relive it with me...
After I finagled Grey's carseat into the much-too-small cart, which didn't leave room for me to put Sam in the top, so he had to walk, I headed in to wait, in a pretty long line, to return some paper. Imagine this, an almost two, crazy little boy in Hobby Lobby. He is NOT allowed to not be in a cart in there for good reason BUT, I didn't have much choice because I forgot the double stroller. Strike one for me.

Anyway, I'm trying to exchange some paper I bought a while ago to get some for Grey's birth announcements and Sam's birthday party invitations.
I've got my receipt. Great, right? Nope. Strike number two for me.
The cashier informs me that my receipt is over 60 days old so she can't do anything for me. She won't even do an even exchange, which is what I wanted.

By this time, I've had to pick up Sam who was running around the registers, and he has begun to squirm out of my arms to touch the credit card swiper...oh, and he's whining :).

I let the lady know this store has allowed me to do this very same thing many times before. She just stares at me.
So, I ask her if I didn't have the receipt, would I be able to get store credit...and pick up my receipt to stick back in my bag. She informs me that she has to follow store policy and that if I come back through her line, she won't be able to do anything.


I understand an employee needing and wanting to follow store policy. She was doing the right thing. What I don't understand is why the store policy allows someone to walk in without a receipt and get store credit for any item but they have a time limit on when you can EXCHANGE something if you come in with a receipt for it. How does that make any sense?

I know one reason all these stores are cracking down on returns, ahem Target, is because they're losing money on shoplifting. But hello, if I can get something out of Hobby Lobby, then walk back in and "return" it for store credit YOU ARE LOSING MONEY. If I buy something and a couple months later, come in to exchange it with my receipt, you are not losing money. You are breaking even and keeping one of your most frequent customers happy.

Strike number three for me was not thinking to ask to talk to a manager. Surely they would've had a different response. Don't you think?


Lauren said...

Ungggg, so frustrating! About every 3 months I get so mad at Target that I loudly proclaim I'll never shop there again. But of course...

Although, for what it's worth, in a situation like yours today where it seems like either policy has changed or the cashier didn't fully understand what the policy was, it might have helped to ask for a manager. Maybe you could try again...? When you feel like braving it again.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I had the kidS throwing tantrums in the grocery store yesterday. So 2 toddlers screaming is way worse than 1 whining. :) We all have days like that, and even when you feel like people are giving you dirty "why-don't-you-take-that-poor-kid-home" looks (like I always feel folks are doing), maybe they're just doing their best to give you a sympathetic "oh-honey-i've-been-there-too" look. :)

Lauren said...

** Yikes! I just re-read my comment. I mean I loudly proclaim to my husband that I'll never set foot in Target again. I really do try my hardest to be patient and gracious with the poor souls working at the customer service counter.

Alicia said...

Not that this was your reason for posting, but I had no idea kids could trade in toys for ice cream at chick-fil-a!! I learn so much from you!

Dave and Carrie Tyson said...

It's funny you mention Chick-fil-A, I've been writing them about once a month begging them to open a store in Hawaii. I miss them so much. :)

Lauren said...

You are totally right. I've had the same discussion at Hobby Lobby. It's like you're being punished for your honesty.

Chick-fil-A is definitely the measuring stick for good customer service. Ours even has little condiment cups full of cheerios for babies!

melissa richie said...

what a bummer about hobby lobby. i love that fact, i was there the same day you were. too bad i wasn't around at the same time to help you out!

Shea said...

I definitely would go back in (maybe without the kids) and talk to the manager. I've done it there before b/c apparently I had the right receipt for the merchandise but not the itemized reciept. A bit picky, ummmm yes! They gave me the return though.