Grrrrr … Online Shopping Experience

Have you got a few minutes? This is a good story but a little longer than my usual posts. Here goes:

In November, I bought my husband 4 packages of Jockey’s briefs in Macy’s on sale for “Buy one, get one 50% Off.” He liked them so much that he said he’d like another 2 packages.Macy sale

The next day, Veteran’s Day, I decided to stay away from the mall and, instead, to order the packages online at I found the items, got the same sale price, and decided to also add a $100 Christmas gift card. Macys LogoLuck would also have it that on top of the “buy one, get one 50% off”, I also had a “VETDAY” code for 20% off! When I got to my Cart, I noticed that I was being charged $10 for shipping. The site clearly stated no shipping on $99 or more, so I decided to pursue this by phoning the 800 number for customer service. Someone who was probably in Mumbai answered; I clearly explained my complaint about the shipping cost. After some back and forth mumbling (on her part) and explaining (on my part), she said, “Not a problem, Madam, I will look into that right now.” At this point, I’m playing games on the computer, checking my email and heating up some water for tea. She finally returns, tells me the computers are slow and she is having a problem entering the sale, so she will have to call me back. I naively believed she would do so. The entire phone call took 26 minutes and of course, no call back.

The next day, I decided to try again. Putting in my order online, I noticed that both discounts I had gotten on Veteran’s Day were no longer valid! Clearly, they needed to be reinstated; this was not my fault, but that of the operator who didn’t call back! This required another Customer Service call, again reaching someone Macys phone frustrationoverseas (Pakistan?) and explaining, translating, repeating, etc. The operator this time kept leaving me hanging to “check” with someone, to “ask questions” of someone and to “consult.” Long story short … I insisted on speaking with a supervisor, he said, “Of course, Madam, one moment;” he then put me on hold and … I soon got a dial tone, indicating disconnection. This phone call took 47 minutes.

At that point, I realized that my local Macy’s was still open, phoned them, put in the order, explained about the expired sale codes (which were overridden by the salesclerk), and was completely satisfied in 10 minutes.

Fast forward to the end of the week when I realized I wanted another gift card. Having ordered them online for many years, I figured I’d do it and get it over with. Not so fast. I ordered another $100 gift card, paid and closed the site. The next day, I got a muddled phone call (from Bangladesh?!!) asking (I think) for a “verification” of my purchase. Thinking it was unnecessary, I ignored the call but subsequently got an email that said I must phone or my order could not go through. When I called, the operator informed me that the card only comes in $10 amounts, so would I want 10 of them? Of course, that’s preposterous so I skipped the small talk and asked for her supervisor. She put me through … to a hold … and after waiting about 4 or 5 minutes, I hung up and bought the gift card, instead, at my local Stop and Shop!

The teacher in me thought I ought to give feedback to someone in authority about this experience, so on Black Friday, I phoned Macy’s at the mall and asked to speak to the store manager with whom I wanted to make a face-to-face appointment. I was put through to a friendly secretary who took my information and promised that Mr. Bossi (yes, that was the name of the store manager) would return my call within the hour. Yeah, right, I thought, what’s the chance of that happening?

Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Mike Bossi, Vice President and Store Manager, returned my call, listened for my request, and made a convenient appointment for me on Monday. I was floored!macys face happy

Mr. Bossi was apologetic (although none of it was his fault) and said he would bring my concerns to or, would I like to write them an email through customer service? I thanked him profusely for his time, said, I will never deal with them again, and in the future, will only buy at the store or on the phone with the store.

This was a frustrating experience that screamed incompetence, stupidity, ineptitude and uselessness. The only thing that saved it from a hair-pulling one was speaking face-to-face to a real person who cared enough to listen to me attentively, treat my complaints seriously and promised to pass it on. Amen!


  1. Linda Levine

    I never knew I had so much red hot rage inside of me that after an unbelievably frustrating experience, knowing full well no one would read or answer it
    I wrote a letter with every sentence containing the f word and every other violently crude, rude curse I could think of!

  2. petertripper

    Our calls are very (un) important to them. OTOH, I have never been any less than 100% satisfied with the results of speaking with a company service rep in Mumbai, Bangalore, or whatever. EVERY TIME I’ve been treated with exceptional politeness, and gotten what I wanted. Verizon’s US reps have produced the same result. Am somewhat astounded to be able to to report this!

    • I agree — politeness reigns but often competence does not. Glad you’ve had good experiences. Obviously, I have had the opposite.

  3. This sort of experience is all too common these days. Richard III said “my kingdom for a horse.” I say, “my kingdom for a native English speaker on the phone!>”

    • I’ll second that! Thanks for reading.

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