So my husband and I were making a trip to Staples near us on Christmas Eve morning for a specific product. The product listed Staples as a certified retailer so I was happy to buy it from them as we would get rewards points on our membership card and they have generally served us well in the past.
The day prior to Christmas Eve, I had looked at Staples online to see if it was actually in stock at this particular store and according to the online site it was, YAY! We expected it might be crowded and a little crazy at any retail place on Christmas Eve, but we decided to brave it.
After picking up some groceries, we got there about 2.5 hours after it opened. It wasn't very crowded at all. There were maybe 10 people in the store, if that (we had gotten a parking space right in front) and the registers only had one person in line at each. We decided to ask someone where it would be located instead of searching around the whole store (the online thing doesn't tell you what section or aisle to find it in). We asked the person at the register and he wasn't sure what the product was, so I showed him what it was on their website. He was still unsure where exactly it would be so he paged someone to help locate it. After about 10 minutes a manager appeared.
Sales Associate: Can you help them find where this is?
Me: We are looking for "this product." The online site said it was in stock and we were wondering where exactly we could find it.
Sales Associate: Yea, I'm really sorry, I'm just not even sure what it is.
Manager to Sales Associate: *mumble mumble* (types some things on the register computer, then walks away past us)
Me: Sorry I couldn't quite catch that. Where can we find it?
Manager: You might find it on the shelves, but we just got in a shipment so it might be with that.
He walked away very quickly, and assuming he was heading in the direction we needed to go to find it, we followed him down several aisles. At least two of the aisles we walked through had several boxes strewn across them, both opened and unopened, and clearly disorganized merchandise just sitting in various piles. At one point we had to climb and step over some boxes and various things. I am six months pregnant, so this was no quick task, and the manager was walking very fast. At one point while he was up ahead he stopped and dug through a box briefly, and then just continued walking again toward the back of the store. We hadn't caught up to him but I figured maybe they had a back area and he could pull one from their recent shipment as some stores do have this capability. I know not all do, but the big box ones occasionally keep merchandise in a back area. I figured if they didn't have it, he would at least let us know. We decided to wait sort of near the front so he could see us when he came back.
About 5 minutes pass and no manager, no word on the product. So I decide to go look for it while my husband waits up front for him where we were previously standing. I understand it's a busy season and something could have come up while he was on his way to looking. After several minutes I find an aisle that looks promising and see some things that could be in the general area of what we are looking for. I began scanning the area since it's a relatively smal-in-sizel electronic thing so easy to potentially miss. My husband is starting to get impatient and texts me asking if I found it. After not even seeing a spot for it on the shelves I return up front. Still no manager or answer.
My husband, who has been standing patiently at the register for the last 10 minutes while I looked, ends up asking the sales associate again who says that they don't have it in yet as it's on the truck and therefore inaccessible.
AT NO POINT was this ever mentioned clearly before this moment. The manager had said it MIGHT be with the shipment. This particular sales associate had only one customer between the time that my husband was standing next to his register and when I returned. He was even joking with the cashier next to him when we asked that second time.
The suck is not that they didn't have it, those online things can absolutely be wrong. The suck is that the manager basically ignored us, was totally unclear, and left us to fend for our selves and didn't even help after we asked the question. In my opinion that manager was totally unprofessional to boot. I understand that it's a typically busy retail day, and that stores are often understaffed, but it really was barely busy there and someone could have at least clarified and an apology wouldn't have hurt. If there were good customer service skills present, they could have offered to let us put it on their equivalent of a hold or told us when it would be available to purchase there.
Instead of waiting or ordering it online through them, we ended up going to the Target right down the road and buying a slightly more expensive product that really suited our needs much better anyway.