Eye on the Target and other assorted ramblings
Yesterday was a mixed-bag of epic proportions. I had an awesome day with my son. He developed a cold overnight on Sunday but finally began to feel better yesterday. He ate, burped, and slept. It was a great day with him.
I downloaded necessary tools for my freelance trade: SnagIt and Adobe Acrobat Standard. Sure, those two pieces of software cost quite a bit of money together, but I’ve decided it’s better for me to have them and recoup my expenses through earning income than to lose income and not spend the money at all. I have used Adobe Reader’s basic sticky note feature extensively and felt as though I needed to upgrade to more advanced annotation for PDFs. I have used SnagIt in my freelance career and at home for a free trial and decided it was worth the expense if I’m going to edit/proofread websites.
But nothing, oh nothing, compared to the frustration I experienced with my Target card.
I received my basic store Target card sometime last year in 2013. If I had paid attention, I would have noticed that it said I had been a cardholder since 2011. But I didn’t pay attention. All I knew was that I had opened a Target account and could use my card anytime I chose to do so.
Cue the Law & Order theme song.
I tried using my Target red card at the store sometime before the holidays. The card wouldn’t work. I didn’t think much of it because I remembered I hadn’t really activated it. Then I read on the Target red card website that the Target store card does not need to be activated. So I wondered why my card didn’t work but was too lazy to call.
Last night, when I tried to purchase a gift that would have cost me $8.20 in shipping & handling on the website, I noticed the fine print that said “No shipping fees when you use your red card!” Of course! So I whipped the card out and entered it into the payment section and was puzzled when I received a SQL error. When I tried again, the website took me all the way to the final screen and then back to billing where it asked me to enter another valid form of payment. So Target.com recognized my store card as a valid Target card but then didn’t.
Finally frustrated enough to save $8, I called the Target number to speak to a representative. After becoming even more puzzled (and more frustrated) as to why my account number was not being recognized, I kept pressing random buttons until I reached a customer representative. This customer representative informed me that because I had not used my Target card within 2 or 3 months, it was cancelled.
TWO or THREE months?
Cancelled without informing me?
The customer representative proceeded to tell me that if I wanted another Target card to go to the store and open a new one. K? Thx. Bai.
I hung up, absolutely livid. This isn’t the first lousy experience I’ve had with Target and (THANK GOD) haven’t even been hacked. So below is an open letter to Target:
I am very disappointed in a variety of things concerning your store. I chose to have my baby registry there in the hopes that it would be a frustration-free experience. Imagine my surprise (and that of my gift givers) when I received redundant gifts at my baby shower. Your registry software leaves something to be desired. I will commend you, however, on excellent return policies, but if your registry software worked properly, I would have not needed to utilize those policies. Your registry software should either remove items that have been purchased or CLEARLY indicate (as it stands, it’s confusing) that the item selection has been completed. The former suggestion would be more preferable than the latter. When I tried to purchase an item from a friend’s baby registry yesterday, I was not clearly informed that the item was already purchased, which would have resulted in my friend receiving a higher quantity of items than desired. I should have been—ahem—clearly informed that the item was already purchased and to select another item or give me the option to KNOW that the item was purchased and whether I wanted to continue purchasing it. Babies ‘R’ Us removes purchased items from a registry. Amazon.com does a fantastic job of hiding them so that buyers do not purchase duplicates. Target, you are a major retailer. I shop with you because I do not expect Walmart-quality service. And it would be unfortunate to think that Walmart has the edge over your store in terms of price and service.
I won’t go deep into the fact that your credit card systems in store were hacked around the 2013 holiday season. But again, Walmart hasn’t had a major problem with that like you’ve had. I really, really hate to make a good case for Walmart.
As for the Target store card, I understand you reserve the right to cancel the card at any time (I’m sure that’s in the agreement somewhere) but as a courtesy, it would have been kind to send me a notice and give me more than 60–90 days to use the card.
I was pretty livid about the situation last night. I am a bit annoyed writing this letter now. But the main word that stands out to me in this letter is CLARITY. Be clear about everything you do. From implementing registry software to return policies to issuing store cards to being honest about the number of people who could have been affected my hacked credit/debit card systems, Target needs to be forthcoming and forthright.
Most people would end this letter by threatening to never use the store again. I will not do that. No, Target, I have gift cards and need you as much as you need me. (See how I’m being clear and honest?) But if you continue to produce shoddy quality in your service, don’t be surprised when the government approves a buyout by Walmart to turn Target stores into “higher-end” Walmarts.
You’ve done so well, Target. I’m annoyed with you, but I still love you. This is tough love. I am rooting for you. You can turn this around. I know you can.