In between local retail and the Craigslist hunt live the netherworld of “ship to store.” This can be a viable alternative, and I’m certainly not above shopping in any form whatsoever. One thing I’ve noticed is that, despite the fact that grocery stores, pharmacies, you name it are filled to overflowing with thousands of products, they don’t always carry the exact one I need in the store (and really, do there have to be, like, 25 variations of one brand of face cream? I know, I know, can you say “product line extension?”).
Recently, I need one of those 25 product line extensions, which was “not available in-store,” but was available for “ship to store.” Ordering this was easy…picking up, not so much.
The Five Day Odyssey
Saturday: “Thank you for your order!”
Monday: “Your order’s at the store! You have seven days to pick it up.”
Tuesday: I appear at the store, order number in hand. 20 minutes later, the determined clerk reappears, disheveled and empty-handed. “I don’t know what’s happening,” she tells me, “but I’ve never seen this before” (shocking!). “The system says it’s here, but it’s not.” She promises to make a few calls in the morning and gives me her personal phone number. This woman is already a hero in my eyes.
Wednesday: I call the clerk, and she still can’t find it but asks me to come by the store so we can solve this together. When I arrive, more phone calls are made and more mayhem ensues because not only can she still not find my order (nor can anyone at corporate), the order now says it’s been picked up in one computer system and canceled in another. Really, I am not making this up. Undeterred, this heroic clerk manages to overcome the dueling computer systems and refunds my order. On a hunch, I decide to peruse the aisle containing the product line I’m in search of – and right there on the shelf is the exact product I needed that was, according to this major retailer, “unavailable in stores.”
I scooped it up and ran back to Hero Clerk. Last time I checked, the store personnel said that she recovered quickly from her fainting episode. No word yet from corporate, though. ⧉