I hate shopping. I find the stores and the selections just too overwhelming. However, I do like new clothes occasionally. I have dresses in my closet that I bought when I was pregnant with my first child, almost thirty years ago. Yes, they are somewhat dated, but they still fit. I am bored with my closet, and I like the convenience of internet or catalogue shopping.
I sat down yesterday morning, credit card in hand with a handful of catalogues. I had been ‘window shopping’ for a couple of weeks, and had made the decision to actually call them up and order.
You would think that this would be a simple task. Some of these catalogues had my customer number in the little blue box on the back of the cover, even though I had not purchased anything from them in this millennium. I rather like the idea of sitting down at my computer and ordering online, but with so many passwords to remember, this is usually an exercise in frustration.
I set my cup of coffee on the table, picked up the telephone and made the plunge. The first item I ordered was a pair of boots. I love boots. The last pair I owned was provided by my father, when he sent me a birthday check circa 1983. They have lasted me a good long while, but I hanker for something new. Something more stylish. As I get the customer service lady on the line, I make my selection. She asks me for my next item, and I tell her that I am only ordering the boots. She sweetens the deal, saying that she will give me 20% off my next item. I very politely tell her “no thank you,” which is apparently not an appropriate answer. She further sweetens the deal with free shipping, should I order a second item. Again, I tell her “No thank you.”
I toss that catalogue, and pick up the next. I want to order two items: a pair of slacks and a pair of shoes (both in navy blue). I get the customer service representative on the line, make my selections, only to be told that the slacks are out of stock, and will be until late November. Do I want to hold that item? No, thank you. I asked if I can get the slacks in a different color, and I am told that I can. I make a second color selection, then move on to the shoes. When I have made my two-line item selection, the clerk asks for my next item. I tell her that I am not ordering a third item. Déjà vu: We will give you 20% off your next item…. No, thank you. (As you can tell, I am not an impulse buyer, for which my husband is very thankful. I mean, after all—- I have clothes in my closet (that I can still wear) that are thirty years old.) She must be following some retailer’s script that stated that bullying the customer with further reductions or free shipping will elicit a second or third purchase.
I continue through my stack of catalogues, making my one or two-line item purchases, and fending off the retail bullies with my consistent “No, thank yous.” At the end of my twenty-minute foray into the cellular shopping spree, I am exhausted. Shopping is not a pleasurable experience for me. I will not darken the pages of another catalogue for probably the next thirty years.
Am I the only one? Am I the only one who is turned off by the consistent sweetening of the deals? We see this in the television ads which make their “not sold in any store” promotions; but then, at the end of the commercial, say something like: “if you call RIGHT NOW, we will give you a second set free, pay only additional shipping.” I have fallen for this one. I want the two for one bargain. However, when I do get the retailer on the line, I can’t get off. I make my selection, say my ‘no, thank you’ to the further enhancements they are dangling in front of my credit card. To every ‘no, thank you,” they say “but you can have……” I DON’T CARE. I just want my little one item (two if I pay for the extra shipping). By the time I have exhausted all their additional offers, I am fatigued. I almost— just almost just tell them to forget the order. By this time I have what my mother calls ‘cauliflower ear,’ and a headache from the retail bullying.
This happens on-line too. I used to have my business cards printed using an internet provider. I like their prices, and I can usually get something free with my order. I am into marketing, so I like the ‘freebies’. However, when I give my credit card number, I am held hostage by about fifteen pop-ups, asking me if I will order the next greatest item to further market my business. I give the equivalent of a polite ‘No, thank you” by clicking on the large X at the top right corner of the pop up. By the time I am finally out of that site, my poor computer is wounded from my index finger pounding the escape key harder and harder as I try to get out of that loop. Needless to say, I no longer order my business supplies from that retailer.
Can someone please furnish these telemarketer/catalogue sales people with a new script??? Shopping should not be this hard.
Until next time,