My friend and colleague is due in a few weeks and I've organized a shower for her at work. I was also in charge of collecting contributions from the team to buy her a gift. We were hoping to collect enough money to buy her a stroller she registered for at Babies R Us. It's $250.
I looked at her registry online Monday night and saw the price of her stroller listed as $199.99. I do not know why today the price was different than when I first looked at her registry two weeks ago but I scooted straight over to Babies R Us. This young guy named Tim asked me right away if I needed any help. I showed him the stroller on the registry I had printed out and he walked me over to it. The price sign said $249.99. I showed him the registry and pointed out that it was $199.99 on my paper. He said he'd go ask someone about it. When he came back he told me that $199.99 was the online price.
Okay, here we go. I hate retail.
I said, "So how do I buy this stroller for $199.99 online while I'm in the store. Can I use one of your computers? And then can I just arrange for store pickup and take this stroller with me?"
"I...don't...know. But I'll go ask."
"Well I'll just go ask. I mean, I have to go to the registers at some point to figure it out anyway."
"No really, it's no problem. I'll go ask; I've got nothing better to do." This guy was on my side because I was promising to be a project and he really needed something to do.
"Well, I'll just go with you to see what the story is," my new young friend Tim says.
Tim goes to the computer at the customer service counter behind the register. I show the cashier my registry and she says that was the sale price of the stroller when my friend registered for it.
"Then that's what I should pay for it since that's the price listed on her registry."
No? Who trained this woman? When I am faced with a flat out no like that, you better believe I am going to get exactly what I want and it won't take me longer than 15 minutes to get there.
"Does this sale price have anything to do with my rewards card?" Yes, it's true, I have one of those stupid rewards cards but inevitably we make a big purchase at Toys R Us around Christmas and there's always the big ticket item from Babies R Us I pick up for my pregnant friends.
The cashier begins to explain how my rewards card has nothing to do with sale prices but she mentions something about coupons. Meanwhile, Tim interjects, "See, $199.99 the online price," referring to the computer screen and directing his statement more towards his cashier co-worker than at me.
I point out that in no way does the registry print out say anything about online prices versus in store prices. I'm about to say that it's deceptive advertising but I don't want to be combative. Yet. I've got other strategies. You catch more flies with honey, you know.
The cashier shows me a coupon that expired yesterday that gives you $10 off every $50. I tell her that I get coupon emails from my rewards card. I'm kind of working the I'm-ignorant-about-how-my-rewards-card-works-so-I'm-just-going-to-keep-talking-about-my-rewards-card-as-if-it'll-earn-me-a-discount angle. She tells me that those emails are different than coupons.
"Oh. Because right before I came here I looked at my rewards card email coupons and it said 20% off baby gear."
Tim pipes in, "It's indoor baby gear," as if he's bummed for me.
I turn to Tim and say, "I know...I got real excited when I saw 'baby gear' on the rewards card coupon but then I saw that it said 'indoor' so it was, like, swings and stuff."
"Yeah, a stroller is not indoor baby gear." Good ol' Tim.
Then she tells me that a new coupon promotion is starting tomorrow. I say, "I am in the store right now. How can I get that stroller for $199.99?" I'm still holding the expired $10 off $50 coupon she showed me as if I'm perplexed about how coupons and expirations and promotion start dates work.
I think the cashier is sick of me talking about coupons that don't work or a rewards card that doesn't actually give me any sort of discount so she says, "If you can find that price [$199.99] online and show it to me, I'll price match it for you."
"Oh, I can totally show you that stroller for $199.99 online."
I point at Tim and his computer, "Right there. Babies R Us online price. $199.99."
"Okay fine. I'll grant you the online price."
Tim shouts, "I'll go get it for you!"