Friday, September 14, 2012

an open letter to retailers

dear madams and sirs of the retail industry,

let me begin by saying how much i appreciate you and the services you render.  when i feel the sudden need to make a purchase at the modern day marketplace, you are always there for me.  there used to be a day when i had to wait until you opened your doors, but now you have brought your stores right into my living room.  whether i need some soap shaped like bacon, something to stretch my shoes, or a goatee-saver, you never fail to deliver with just the thing i need.  i salute you.

but i wanted to write to you today just to clarify something.  recently you've taught me a new word, which i must admit, i love: BOGO (i'm pretty sure you have to write it in all caps, which annoys me, but i digress). 



yes, you've been luring me to your stores and websites with an amazing deal that seems almost too good to be true, but then when i make any attempt to take advantage of that deal as you've advertised, it seems to be retracted at the last minute, and i have finally reached a breaking point.  if this continues to happen i will be getting in contact with the BBB (that's better business bureau, since you seem to love all-caps acronyms) and reporting all of you. 

here's the problem.  when i walk into hot topic to purchase a darth vader lamp that was advertised as BOGO, i pick up my lamp, walk to the cashier and prepare for the transaction with great joy and expectation.  the cashier takes the lamp, as usual, scans it into the computer (and this is where things get hairy) asks me for $54.50.  i then point out the sign that says BOGO, and that i shouldn't be charged that amount, and the pimply-faced, korn t-shirt wearing cashier stares at me blankly.  i decide that maybe i've made a mistake, so i clarify:  BOGO does indeed stand for "buy one get one free," correct?  he says yes with raised eyebrows, as if he can't believe that i don't get the concept.  so i proceed:  "okay.  i'm buying one, and i'd like to get one free." 
cashier: "okay....well, do you want to go get another one, then?"
me: "no, i'm good just with this darth vader one, thanks."
cashier, "but you get a free one."
me: "yeah, i'll just take this one for free."
cashier: "i'm sorry but you have to buy one to get the other one free."
me:  "that's not what your sign says." 

then i storm out and decide never to go in hot topic again. 

let me explain it further.  when i go to mcdonalds i order one big mac.  i expect to pay for one big mac and get one big mac.  when i order one, i expect to get one.  does that make sense to you math-challenged retailers?  okay, good.   now, if you tell me that i can BOGO, i should be able to go to the counter to buy one big mac, and get one big mac free - the one that i just ordered.  and yet store manager after store manager has told me that i can't get my free big mac or pair of skinny jeans because "that's not how it works."  yeah, that's not how 'bait and switch' works, is what you mean.

i had a friend explain to me that BOGO means that you have to pay for one item but you get to take home two items.  well that would be fine except your signs don't say BOGT.  they say BOGO, which, i agree, sounds better, but apparently isn't accurate.  maybe you should change your signs to BOGAO (buy one and get another one) if that is what you've been trying to say.  but as long as your sign says BOGO, i expect to get my cowboy boot toilet brush holder for free, just the way you advertise. 

in conclusion, please cease and desist your faulty-math-based manipulative marketing techniques, unless you intend to follow through on your promises.  oh, and also, hot topic, would it kill you to make your cashiers wear belts?  i don't need to see their "zombie apocalypse" underwear when i'm debating with them. 

sincerely,
greg.

ps.  i know it may seem odd to buy a cowboy boot toilet brush holder, but hey, i figure YOLO

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