Earlier this morning I drove over to the Plymouth, Minnesota Target store. I wanted to return a wine opener I had purchased about six months ago. I knew that I could not expect a refund or in-store credit, but I felt Target would want to know about a defective product. You see, this wine opener does a very poor job of opening bottles. The screw part does not grab the cork very well. Here is how my visit went:
- I walked up to Customer Service, and placed the wine opener on the counter. I explained that I did not expect a refund as I had owned the opener for about six months. However, I felt Target might like my name and contact information which would give the corporation feedback about a poor quaility product.
- At this point, another employee walked over and explained: "I understand you don't want credit or a refund, but you can't leave the wine opener here. It's not Target property." She repeated this point a number of time, in a lecturing / firm kind of tone to me.
- I then asked incredulously, don't you want to know what product, and my contact information?
- I'm paraphasing, but the answer was "no" and I was once again quoted store policy about not being able to take the product back.
It was obvious that it did not make sense to continue the conversation. When I walked into Target, I felt I was doing them a favor by returning a defective product; instead I received a lecture. I had stated up front that I had no expectation of receiving any credit. During the conversation I never raised my voice or became argumentative. I will admit that my final action was to say: "I understand your store policy. I'm leaving the wine opener on the counter". I then walked away.
In summation, let's examine the situation. I have been a satisfied Target customer for years. Some of my earliest and fondest childhood memories in the 1960's are watching the automatic doughnut machine at work at the Duluth, Minnesota store (my Dad would always buy me a doughnut). I have no doubt that Target does have the store policy that was quoted to me, but I would also hope that customer service employees have some flexibility on how they deal with the public. This wine opener was in perfect condition (just didn't work very well). Smart customer service would have been to accept the product, take my contact information (even if they threw out the paper moments later), and I would hope ... contact their corporate buyer.
Instead, Target made a customer mad, and they still had to throw out the wine opener. When I arrived home my neighbors were talking outside. Of course, I ended up telling them about my Saturday morning experience at Target. Guess what, both of them had recent poor Target customer service experiences which we discussed.
The end result ... poor word of mouth advertsing for Target and this blog post. Seems like a dumb corporate policy. I would also not purchase this kind of kitchen / entertaining utensils from Target. I would normally buy the more basic wine opener, but I liked the brushed metal look of this opener. I thought it would look nicer when entertaining guests. Shame on me!