Monday, February 28, 2011

Hell hath no fury like a woman denied use of her birthday coupon.

Oh hello, I am mid-rage, so please....grab a seat.

Today I finally made it to a certain un-named nationwide import chain (known for yummy smelling candles and a certain style of chairs that are almost impossible to get out of but that everyone had in their dorm room) to buy a sofa.

This has been a purchase long in the making. We have had a second (or third?) hand sofa for about 5 years, and it is a big old rambling sectional that is taking up a ton of floor space we just don't have to spare. I've been looking for a new sofa forever, and finally found one I liked at this particular un-named store.

I have a credit card for this store, and just like every other retail store credit card I have, they send me a 20% off coupon to use "for my birthday" cleverly disguising a ploy for me to charge purchases on their card as a gift they are graciously giving me. Every year I get a few of these, and I inevitably lose them, forget them, or they get delivered after the expiration date, or I use them to buy a $10 candle, take my $2 savings and pay $20 in interest. Happy Birthday to me!

This year I got this particular coupon on time, we needed a new sofa, and they had one I liked. It was like the universe was coming together to provide me with a wonderful birthday gift -that included free delivery.

So I went down and took the couch for a test sit, to make sure the cushions were soft, yet supporting, and to confirm that the back was high enough to recline against comfortably. Then I took off my shoes and lay down to make sure the couch was long enough to fit. Then I sat back up and took the cushions off and examined the frame. Then I sat back down and stretched out and tossed and turned to see if it would be good for napping. It passed the tests with flying colors. I had me a winner! But there was a problem: it wasn't in stock in any color, and they weren't expecting any to be delivered, so it would take 6-8 weeks to arrive. I gave them my name, and said I wanted to buy a sofa, but needed my husband to give his okay.

And then I called Sam.

"I found a sofa. I want it. I need you to come sit on it after work."

Which he did. And then he went up to the counter and got someone to assist him (which is a whole seperate issue - he finds it almost impossible to get an employee to talk to him in this particular store) and explained that I had a birthday coupon, and could I give them the discount code over the phone.

No, they needed it in person.

I had taken the coupon out of my purse to give him the code over the phone, and left it sitting on the kitchen counter. For the next week, every time I was in town I would reach in to my purse and remember the coupon sitting on my kitchen counter. So today, I made a conscious effort. I put the coupon IN my purse before I left for town, and put a reminder on my phone to go to the store and order the couch with my coupon.

I walked in to the store, and the salesperson who had helped me last week was there. The couch had gone on sale, she told me, and we high fived. It was only about 10% off though, so my coupon was still the better deal. I pulled out the coupon and her face fell. "You can't use that coupon on sale merchandise." I thought for a second. "Can't you give me the discount off the original, full price?"

"Oh,would that be a bigger discount? Let me check. Oh, yes, you're right, that would be a much better price. Okay, let me get the manager to approve it." As an added bonus, she told me before she went in the back that suddenly they had one on island, in stock! It was a MIRACLE. I couldn't believe my good fortune.

She came back a few minutes later and started apologizing before she had even gotten to the counter. "He said he's sorry, but you can't use the coupon."

I almost cried.

"When did it go on sale?"


I stood there, frozen.

I walked around, and tried to think clearly.
Living on an island, everything has a "destination charge" which is basically a surcharge added on to the base price of every item to reflect the additional cost of getting the item to our remote location. Most luxury and large items have this surcharge - things are just more expensive here. So if I look on a website for the price of something, I have to keep in mind that here, in the store, it will be a different (higher) price. So even using my birthday coupon, the couch would still only be the price people paid on the mainland. I was basically just saving the destination charge. And since it was already here, and since they hadn't been expecting it last week, that meant it was most likely a return or something, I was taking a piece of furniture off their hands.

But not without my coupon I wasn't.

"You know" I said, as I walked out the door "I need to think about this. It just feels yucky that you won't let me use my birthday coupon for an item I had already picked out, that has only been on sale for a few hours."

And I got right in my car, and called corporate.

Yup. I'm that girl.

The woman at corporate didn't seem to understand why the manager didn't just give me the discount. The sofa had literally only been on sale for 107 minutes when I got there (not to be specific or anyhting). She said she would call the manager and see if this could "be worked out". Which should make me the manager's favorite person right about now. So here I sit, waiting. And waiting. If they don't call back, so help me I am going to drag my husband down there, have HIM open a charge account and get the  20% discount for starting a new account - 20% off the SALE PRICE mind you, and they can all sit and spin as far as I'm concerned. In the meantime, I''m going to light some scented candles that I got on clearance at that very store, and arrange my throw pillows from that very same store artfully on the sectional, and perhaps wrap my legs in the chenille throw I got for my birthday FROM THAT STORE and maybe rearrange my bookshelf I bought THERE when we first moved in, after pouring a glass of wine out of the carafe that THEY have discontinued into a wine glass I bought with 23 others a few years ago IN THAT VERY LOCATION.

My point is, they are about to lose a very VERY good customer, and they may not realize how loud I can be.....


Kitty Deschanel said...

Ooh, they messed with the wrong birthday girl! I hope they call soon :)

Elly said...

I don't actually know what brand you're talking about, but regardless - way to mess up a perfectly good pr opportunity. Isn't the rule that you make a big fuss about it not being policy, and then you give in to make it seem like its a bigger deal, that you as a brand really are brilliant?

I hope they let you use it. And if not, I hope that you did get your husband in and that using his his new fancy discounts was as satisfying as rubbing it in their face should be.