In our country, when you buy something at a store it is more than likely that either pre-purchase or post-purchase you will be asked to invest in an additional offer. These extra “opportunities” come in many different forms. I don’t have a problem with being hit up for one, but when the single offer turns into a string of solicitations I get a tad annoyed. This just happened about 90 minutes ago.
Tonight I paid my first ever visit to a Books-A-Million store. This is not because I don’t read. Instead it is solely because in the places I have ever lived we only had Barnes & Noble, Hastings, and Borders. Any way, I went inside the store and found exactly what I was looking for, the book titled “Unbroken.” With the movie coming out on Christmas and with my parents raving about it, I decided I wanted to read the book so I could have a true appreciation for it when I watch it with them in the theater on December 25. That part was easy, it was the checking out part that proved tougher than I imagined.
I went up to the cash register and a semi-awkward older lady helped me. She scanned my book but before I could swipe my card she was going to hit me with every possible sales pitch/scheme in the book. In order, this is the charade she put me through.
1. Customer Loyalty Program: Every single store on this planet has a loyalty club, I get it. I don’t necessarily hate them and many times I will join them…if membership is free of course. This lady took three minutes to tell me all about the BAM Club. She went into detail about the 10% discount, the secret sales, the special e-mails, the birthday benefits, the exclusive newsletter, and a whole bunch of other garbage I didn’t care about. I literally cut her off as nicely as possible and said I would join. She then added on the yearly $25 membership to my total. I promptly rescinded my intention to become part of the club.
2. Buy a Toy: Disappointed with me for backing out of the loyalty club she tested to see if I had a heart by asking me to purchase a toy to automatically donate to charity. She pointed in back of her to the choices I had to choose from. Now at many stores, you can donate for as little as $1 or $2. These toys were all $5 and up. Look, I know I am coming across as a total Scrooge/cheapskate here but I declined the chance to be a Good Samaritan. I apologize, but every single business this holiday season will be asking for donations such as these. I will donate to some, but not all 1,000.
3. Magazines: She wasn’t done. She then put a brochure in front of me that had several magazine titles and told me that I was eligible to get free subscription trials for three different magazines. She then looked at me and said “What magazines would you like?” Whoa, whoa, whoa….hold up. One thing I know from the door-to-door scam artists that would come by our neighborhood when I was a kid is that you don’t sign up for magazine promotions. Besides, I have three different magazines delivered to my mailbox already, I don’t need anymore. I told the woman I would pass on that.
4. Survey on the Receipt: After the magazine pitch I finally was able to pay. I slid my card through the machine as quickly as possible but I was not out of the woods yet. The lady hit me with another trend in the retail industry…the follow up website survey! She made a scribbly circle around a bunch of words and a jumbled code and told me to complete it, using my refusal of the previous three offers as grounds for me to do it no matter what. As she handed me my book and receipt all I could think to myself was “No, I won’t fill out a survey about my experience…but I will definitely blog about it.”