Monday, October 20, 2008

"Babys R' Us" Sucks R' us (Guest Blog)

... [S]ince my blog doesn't seem appropriate for venting...if you deem blogworthy I have a rant for yours...

I am already predisposed to hate "big box" stores. I am a local area shopper, try to support my community where I can. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet and shop where the shopping is and again I have regretted it. For some time now, I have been looking to replace Lilah's large stroller with something smaller (that will actually fit in my trunk) but sturdy (so not a $30 umbrella stroller). So when my cousin with five kids who I consider a baby expert showed me a mini-running stroller she was using - I thought - this is perfect, but the price was a bit high. Then last week, I ran across a 20% off coupon for Baby's R Us and it even qualified for the stroller I wanted - I was in luck! With the coupon and some returns we were still spending a hefty amount, but it was now what I deemed "worth the drive and the expense". The drive you see is because Baby's R Us is about 40 minutes from our house, but not wanting to pay the shipping costs and wanting to get it before it got to cold off I went trekking over there yesterday.

Well of course they didn't have ANY of the four colors in stock and of course I could ONLY get it online -- which meant crazy amounts of shipping ($50 if I wanted it anytime soon / $18 if I wanted it in whatever "ground" shipping meant). Now I admit I could have called and saved myself the trip, but the online site told me they carried it at the store - so silly me for believing what I read on the Internet. So as I was discussing my shipping dilemma with the nice lady at the store she told me I could sign up for their FREE rewards program which allowed for one time only free shipping on ANY (keep this in mind) item. Well that sounded great, so after standing in line another 20 minutes to return what we had to return (and get some new sippy cups - thanks Anne and Joe!) we trekked another 40 minutes back home where I proceeded to get online and sign up for the rewards program.

After signing up for the program and getting ready to order the stroller (and knowing I will now get LOTS of spam email till new years) they say the free shipping is only available between 6am and 11pm today - the day after you sign up AND it is only for $15 total. But hey, I can get a free umbrella stroller with my purchase since it is over $100 so as Mrs. Bloggerman says - at least that was suppose to be a consolation. So I get annoyed, but figure one more day is no big deal. Keeping track, I have at this point put almost three hours into getting this stroller.

So this morning, I get up early and figure I will complete this purchase before I start the day, forget about it, and get pissed that I can't get the shipping because it is past 11pm. So back online I go, into the online shopping cart, apply the $15 off shipping (I opted to pay $3 ground and not have it overnighted - $50 is INSANE). Just about to check out, I realized two things 1. The 20% off is no longer applied, 2. The umbrella stroller is not listed anyplace on the shipping order. So I go back out and start over. After a bit of finagling, I got both the 20% off and the $15 shipping applied, but still no umbrella stroller. Figuring maybe it is one of those things that you can't check the box until you check out, I go through the whole process and pay, still no stroller -- so I call.

After - I kid you not - NINE different "If you are .... press 1, 2, 3) options I finally get to a person at Baby's R Us who informs me I had to pretend I was purchasing the umbrella stroller, then enter in another code then it would have been "free". This she says is written in very small type apparently at the very bottom of the page of the stroller I had purchased if I had kept scrolling down on the "Buy Me" page. OK I tell her how stupid that is - yes I used the word stupid - and she offers to add it for me. For another $6 shipping. So..and I knew this was coming...ask her how much the stroller is...$16. OK so basically for now FOUR hours of time, I have to pay another $6 for $16 off to get a cheap stroller that will break in about 3 days according to all of the reviews on their web site. I don't think so.

So I give up on the umbrella stroller. Vow never to shop their again expect for other people's gifts. Get what I wanted to for slightly more than I would have if the store had it in the first place, but wasted way to much of my own time because I was trying to find a "deal" at big box, national store. I am crawling back into my local product, eco geek hole today hopefully never to come out again.

Thanks for listening,

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