I got up to the counter and said "Hi, I just got a coupon in the mail for twenty-five dollars off a hundred dollar purchase and I spent a little over a hundred here yesterday on these clothes. Can I get a credit back on my card or something like that?"
The employee said no, which I understood. What I didn't understand was the unbelievable attitude I got starting at that moment. Head wagging, the "you're stupid" voice, eye rolling, the works.
Since there's really no way to convey her tone in written form, I will bold all the places she spoke to me very slowly, as if to a child, or to someone who doesn't speak English well.
She starts out by saying "You can't DO that," but not in a nice way, in an "I can't believe you're even asking me! Inconceivable!" way. I said "That's fine. I'll just go ahead and return them then buy them again with the coupon."
Employee: "No, you can't do that either."
Me: "Why not?"
Employee: "I can't do chargebacks on previous purchases."
Me: "I understand that - I want to return all of these and then buy them back. They all still have the tags on them, I never even removed them from the bag."
Employee: "I want to keep my job. I can't do that."
Me: *wha??* "Okay, should I just return them and come and buy them back again tomorrow?"
Employee: "You can do whatever you want."
Me: "Okay, so what's the difference if I buy them back now?"
She grabs the coupon out of my hand then scrutinizes the small print. She points to one part and says "See? 'Cannot be used on previous purchases.'"
Me: "Okay, but once I return these items they will no longer be mine. They will be Lane Bryant's. At that point it will be a new purchase."
Employee: "NO. You bought them before so they're a previous purchase."
Me: "Can you explain the difference between buying them back in five minutes and buying them back tomorrow with the coupon, since you said I could do that?"
Once again, she takes the coupon from me. She grabs a phone, dials a number, looks at me, rolls her eyes, hangs up the phone, then walks into the stock room. She's gone a good 3-4 minutes before the other employee that's checking people out says "Did she say she was coming back?" I said that she hadn't said anything, but I was waiting for my coupon. Nice employee said "I would too."
So she comes out of the stock room and says "She's gonna let you do it this time." I don't know who "she" is, but I'm kinda guessing that "she" just schooled my helpful employee on store policy, and she wanted to save face so she threw in the "this time." She processes my return then rings up everything again with my coupon, not saying a word, even when the total came up. Just stood there fiddling with her fingernails. Whatever.
I got my bag and started to leave when a dress called out to me. My high school reunion is coming up, and while I hadn't planned on making any purchases that day, the dress looked awesome on me. I went back up to buy the dress (which, ironically, cost a little over a hundred with an accessory, so I'm sure grumpy employee just thought I was a jerk at that point), and while the nice employee from before was ringing me up, I started to get upset about how the other employee had treated me. While I'm not the kind of person to back down if I know I'm right, that doesn't mean I don't get embarrassed if I'm being yelled at or talked to like I'm an idiot in public. I decided to confront the woman. I waited till she had finished ringing up her line and started heading toward the stock room and I asked if I could talk with her for a second.
Me: "I really don't appreciate the way you treated me back there. You talked down to me and embarrassed me in front of a bunch of people."Employee: "I'm sorry you feel that way. That's just my mannerisms. I'm trying to keep my job."
Me: "I wasn't doing anything to threaten your job. This is standard operating procedure at most stores and I was just trying to get my money back."Employee: "No. You made a fraudulent return."
Me: *seriously pissed that I was just accused of fraud* "How was it fraudulent? I was returning things and then buying things with a coupon. It was a new purchase."
Employee: "That's your opinion. I'm trying to keep my job."
Me: "You're more interested in arguing than customer service. I'm through."
Employee: "Mmm hmm. Have a nice day."
I contacted the district manager a few days later and he seemed sincerely floored. He said that they have so many coupon promotions that things like this happen all the time, and normally that's exactly what they do - process a return, then re-ring everything up including the coupon. He even joked that even if it weren't an acceptable return, she missed an opportunity to upsell me. "She could've said 'no, you can't do the return, but have you seen our fabulous new necklaces?'" He apologized emphatically and offered me gift certificates, which I stupidly declined. He said he'd be retraining her. Yay, validation!