I went to The Children Place (TCP) today… Quite likely for the last time. But this story doesn’t really start today, this is strike two in several months.
Here is a lesson in what I call “catch and release” shopping. I do a lot of catch and release shopping. Mostly due to time and sanity boundaries. I’ll use the first strike against The Children’s Place to illustrate.
Back in August I needed to do some Back to School shopping. I have uber skinny kids. MiniMe is 55 pounds and the Destroyer is 38 . He just turned 6 today and is 48″ tall, MiniMe is exactly one month away from 9 and she is 52.5 inches tall. This means I have been buying slim size jeans, always from somewhere that also has the elastic pull them tighter options and in some cases pulling the elastic ALL the way to the end and then having to loop it back on itself so the ends are not so long. The no weight to above average height equation is always tricky with these two. I’ve never been happier that super skinny jeans are the fashion these days, but I digress.
I headed mall alone to attempt to accomplish 5 hours of shopping in less than 2. Did I already mention that none of this luxurious shopping was for me? There are several stores for kids all clustered together at this mall and I moved efficiently from one to the next. I had my coupons and discount codes all organized and with me. I bought what I liked and what I thought the kids would like. Rinse repeat, repeat through about 4 stores. Old Navy carries Slim fit, but good luck ever finding any in the size you need actually in the any Old navy you shop at. Crazy 8 carries slim cut in their stores. Same with Justice and Gymboree. The Children’s Place, however, does not. I seem to recall that maybe they used to, but I could be making that up in my head. Here is what I can tell you about jeans. It doesn’t matter what the tag says, until you try them on you have no idea how they really fit and if they will work. When I was “done” with BTS Shopping I had enough clothes to outfit at least two families of kids. The Catch…
Then I have to lug it all home, and proceed to torture myself, the Husband and the children with…I need you to try this all on. Big seasonal shopping fashion shows like this also involve going through all of the remains from last year to determine what is still usable. It is a large endeavor and no one enjoys this, least of all me. They get cranky after about the 3rd outfit. I get cranky because they are rifling through all of the “cool ” clothes and screwing with my carefully laid out system of trying to keep this all organized, documented as to what we need and what we have, making sure they don’t rip the tags of of anything. Once we have accomplished the 1+ hours of all of that then I gather up what I am not keeping and decide if I am keeping it for later . (I’ll do another post on the skill/game of buying clothes a year ahead from this year’s clearance) Then I need to locate the receipts, get the don’t want/need items back into the original bags and find time in my life to drive to the mall that actually has the store I need to get to and make my returns. The Release….
This year’s ungrateful whiny children fashion show extravaganza ended in quite a large return to TCP. I had returns at Justice and Crazy 8 as well. I purchased the clothes at the Store near Shorty’s house, and even though we have a TCP within walking/running distance of my house I did all my returns one weekend night with the family in tow. Here are the details of those transactions.
TCP- I caught two giant bags of clothing. Including roughly 10+pairs of jeans. All of these stores like to play these games with coupons and ” you have to come back to use them bucks” to convince me that I really NOT paying too much for kids clothing. I participate willingly in their little schemes and do not attempt to defraud them with fancy schmancy return schemes I’m too busy/tired to concoct. I’d earned a Denim Buck for each pair of denim I caught. The stack was still stapled to the receipt in the bag. I walk in with one (that’s one less than two) bag full of the denim I am returning. I kept all of the shirts I bought and one pair of jeggings MiniMe has yet to actually wear; preferring instead to wear whatever looks like no one loves her when getting dressed for school. She saves the really fancy nice stuff for sliding down the neighbors 2 ton dirt pile. I walk into the store, tell the nice lady I have a return and I have my receipt, and that I know that I will need to give her BACK the denim bucks I have earned that I now, due to the return, didn’t really earn. This was a very long receipt and the nice lady had to go through the part of HER JOB where she looks up the items I am returning and matches them to the slip. As I am setting the piles of jeans up on the counter she actually has the nerve to say to me something along the lines of “did you actually keep anything” . It doesn’t matter what she said, her tone was snotty and she was insinuating I am somehow a less desirable shopper because I had the audacity to return things, WITH A RECEIPT, to her store. I look her dead in the eyes and say, ” You don’t carry slims in your store and these do not fit my children, you need to carry slims cut in your stores”. “I can give you a coupon for free shipping.” she counters. I again look directly at her and state, ” There are two stores on either side of you that DO manage to carry slims in their stores and they got my business.” Now I’m not mean and nasty to sales people, I am polite and direct. But you aren’t going to make me feel like I’m not good enough to shop at the freaking TCP b/c you can’t be bothered to meet my needs.
The nice lady that closed the night before when I was in there was working again. She happily took my return and said that yes, their clothes do run a littel bigger and that maybe I could try the sales rack behind her for the next size down. I spent more time looking through the clearance racks for both kids and walked out with about as much $$ wise as I returned at TCP, but WAY more clothes. Thanks Crazy 8!
The Lola family has professional family pictures tomorrow. Last night we did Catch shopping for MiniMe, the Husband and myself. Today I had MiniMe perform the do I have to try this one again game and it yielded the need to return things at TCP. I went to the store nearby and quickly picked out the new sizes, things I needed and got in line for the transaction. Once again I had the receipt. The little girl asked to see my Drivers License to do the return. I don’t like it when stores do that, but plenty do so I got my wallet out and set it on the counter for her. Usually they take a look at it and that is that. Not so here. She performed her job of matching up the returned items to the receipt and then TOLD ( not asked) me I needed to get it out. I attempt but it’s not budging, she finally has pity on me and says it is ok she can use it in the wallet. Then she proceed to ring up the transaction, during which she takes my wallet/ID, leans down with it under the counter and starts typing something into what I can only imagine is some sort of under the counter machine. She is looking at my Id and then typing, then she gets the returned clothes and starts counting them, then more typing things under the counter, then she starts to look at the receipt and still more typing under the counter. Finally I’ve had enough.
“What are you doing with my drivers license?”
Deer in the headlight eyes
“Is TCP monitoring how much I am returning? Are you setting some sort of limits on that/”
Something that results in “yes” and now the attention of the other little girl and the rest of the customers in line is caught.
“I have a receipt”
“It doesn’t matter, there was this one lady I looked up and it told me she couldn’t return anything else for 60 days”
“Even with a receipt?”
The transaction is completed, I got $11 back
“Here’s a coupon for next time that starts on””I won’t be needing that I’m not shopping her again”
I turn and leave, and the more I think about it as I drive to the next stop on my 4 hour errand run this afternoon the madder I get.
WTF TCP, are you seriously trying to tell me that you are trying to tell me I am only allowed to bring things back to your store as long as it doesn’t cross some perceived line you have set for shopping there? That I have to be subjected to the ID check every time I make a return and wait in line for you to tell me if it ok for me to bring back items of yours I don’t like or don’t need? WITH A RECEIPT AND WITHIN YOUR RETURN PERIOD. You are telling me that I get the added bonus of potential censure and embarrassment while I’m in your store DECIDING TO SPEND MY HARD EARNED MONEY?
I may not even be able to choose your pretty clothing for MineMe’s outfit on principle alone. If I do end up using them I can tell I am going to be much more frugal in your store should I choose to enter it again for something other than the return I am likely to make of today’s purchases.
Badly done TCP, shame on you for solving whatever your return shennigan loss issues are by choosing to judge and chastise the entire populace of your customer base. You’ll be getting this blog post in an email shortly.
And I’ll be catching in other ponds for a while, from the looks of it I am not the only one.