COUNTRYSIDE, ILLINOIS -- I am a long time Joann's customer (15+ years) and visit their stores an average of once per week (sometimes much more). I also spend several thousand dollars per year on both fabric and craft items during my visits. I find most of the employees to be polite and helpful... I know most of them by face if not name and they, in turn, know me. Unfortunately, they are handicapped by corporate policies that make absolutely no sense and only serve to irritate loyal customers like myself. Today is the perfect example. I visited the Countryside, IL store fully prepared to drop several hundred dollars on curtain fabric and framing.
First the framing: I had never used their framing services as I have a very good framer that I use for all my artwork but I had seen the coupons and the piece in question was an inexpensive poster so I decided to bring it to Joann's. I had a coupon for 60% off the regular price so imagine my surprise when the price I was quoted for a simple metal frame/no mat was $150! This is more than I would pay to take it to my usual CUSTOM framer - never mind about the cost comparison of Joann's "regular" price.
I was prepared to pay about $75 for said frame so, needless to say, chose not to leave the piece with Joann's. Based on past experience, I will probably have to pay $100 at my usual framer but I know the quality will be top notch and there won't be anything shady about the pricing structure.
Now for the fabric: I brought my daughter with me to the store today so that we could pick out fabric for bedroom curtains. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, there were almost no precut samples in the plastic pouches attached to each bolt. Nevertheless, we went around and identified approx. 5-6 samples that looked like potential candidates. I then approached the employee behind the cutting counter and asked her if she would cut samples for us. She replied that no, she couldn't do that and I would have to bring each of the bolts up to the cutting counter.
Please note that there was next to no one in the store this afternoon and nobody at the cutting counter waiting to be served. I was less than pleased but what really frosted me was her insistence that I could not have more than 3 samples (this in spite of the fact that if there had been samples precut as there should have been, I could have taken one for each bolt that we were interested in). Fine. We selected 3 bolts and brought them up for cutting which, by the way, took almost 10 minutes thanks to all the paperwork she had to fill in.
When I finally got my samples, they were so tiny that they did not include all the colors in the fabric (never mind about any sense of what the pattern looked like). To her credit, she sorted through all the samples to find the "best" ones but this was little consolation when the end result was so useless!
As someone who sews full-time, Joann's is not the only store I frequent. One of the other stores I like to shop at is Calico Corners. Unlike Joann's, they provide customers with an unlimited # of samples that are generous enough to actually be of some use when making a final selection. They also cut the samples in situ with no lengthy delays while employees fill in tedious paperwork. Their prices are similar to Joann's but the service is in a completely different league.
Unfortunately, none of the three samples we brought home from Joann's was quite the right thing but, rather than going back for another 3 samples (a 40 minute round trip), I will be making the 20 minute round trip to Calico Corners. The net result was that instead of the several hundred dollars I intended to spend, I walked out with $1.50 in embroidery floss! Although I have never filed a complaint before, I decided that I have had enough of this nonsense (especially since employees have asked me to give them a good review to boost the store's ratings - something I can't in good conscience do even though the problems I regularly encounter are not their fault).
To add insult to injury, the website is set up to make filing a complaint virtually impossible... Customers are expected to have full contact info, including phone and zip code, for a store in order to file a complaint and comments are limited to so few characters it is impossible to adequately describe the problem. Hence my decision to post my complaint on this and other websites.
MICHIGAN, MICHIGAN -- Although Joann's stores claim to have a clear, well-defined return policy which they post over the customer service stands, what they don't tell you (or advertise, for good reason) is that different items have return policies specific to themselves. Recently, Jo Ann has also changed some of their policies.
1.) SPECIAL ORDER RETURNS: Special orders on their designer fabric samples in the home decor department ARE NOT returnable. Period. Even for FLAWS, which would be a legitimate reason to most retailers. Buy special orders at your own risk. They USED to check items in one-by-one in home decorator fabrics at my local store, to check for weaving flaws, etc.- they NO longer do. 2.) CLEARANCE ITEM RETURNS: Clearance items and seasonal items are now non-refundable. Don't even try, because I have.
3.) "RED TAG" aka "FLATFOLD TABLE" FABRIC RETURNS: Many larger stores have a section in the back of the store with odd ball bits and ends/remnants of various types of materials, from home dec/upholstery, quilting cottons, fashion fabrics, etc called "RED TAG" fabrics. Now, since Jo-Ann has instituted a no-return policy on ALL clearance items, these materials are also lumped in with "clearance" merchandise. Red tag fabrics are NOT RETURNABLE any more. They USED to be. It's not posted on the racks, and also for obvious reasons they rope you in and then tell you, "the new policy is printed on the back of the receipt."
4.) SPECIAL ORDER POLICIES: a. They used to allow you to put down 50% as a deposit on special order fabrics - not any more. You now have to pay all the balance up front, including SHIPPING even though they are not even shipping the merchandise to your home. It arrives at the store you ordered it from on one of their TRUCKS which, by the way, arrives on a weekly basis anyway. Jo-Ann's is making YOU pick up the tab for their fuel costs!
b. If you fail to come and pick up your special order within 30 days, you essentially forfeit your order (including the amount you paid for it!) and it is placed on the rack for sale AT FULL RETAIL PRICE. The special order form thingy has a chronological process of informing the sales clerks to call you and remind you at 30, 60, and finally 90 days (corresponding to the final extent of their return policy time frame).
However, I have witnessed orders going out to the floor after only 30! So, make sure your phone number is correct, and if at all possible, GIVE THEM MORE THAN ONE CONTACT NUMBER! They will NOT try to "look you up" in the phone book, etc. It's your responsibility to GO IN AND CHECK, physically, with the people at the front desk and ASK them if your order has arrived yet.
c. Keep your receipt! When you check out on a special order, you get BOTH a copy of the register's receipt ALONG with that big form you had to fill out at the front desk that describes what you ordered. Not having this with you could jeopardize your order!
Some stores are nicer and let you come in and get your order without it, because they are supposed to have a binder with all the special orders carbon copies in it going back AT LEAST 2 years. Now, if you go to one of those "ghetto" stores with lazy, apathetic workers who will not put forth the effort to dig this binder out AND/OR tell you they don't know anything about special orders, bring your order form and receipt!
5.) RETURNS WITHOUT A RECEIPT. Here is one that a lot of people on here just cannot seem to wrap their heads around. Jo-Ann's WILL accept returns without a receipt, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF FABRICS, TRIMS, OR THINGS THAT HAVE TO BE CUT. If it's cut, and you try to return it without a sales receipt, the nice folks at the return counter will ASSUME you are returning the item FRAUDULENTLY. In other words, let's say the more shady character buys ten yards of something, and only uses five, and tries to return the rest - being that you cannot present a valid receipt for only five yards, then you'd have to go without a receipt. Bingo! They caught you.
No receipt, no return. PERIOD. I did this legitimately on the full yardage on trim once, and got asked to LEAVE THE STORE. They do not want you there. NOW, if you have non-cuttable items like general merchandise THAT WAS NOT ON CLEARANCE, then you CAN return it without a receipt with a catch. ALL items bought without a receipt (EXCEPT CUT YARDAGE ITEMS) will be charged 50% off of the current selling price. Why? Well, the more shady customer could have used one of those lovely coupons they make you sign up for then you'd be getting back more than what you paid. BINGO.
Well, what if you, the honest customer says, "Sure, I used a coupon, but it was ONLY a 40% off coupon, or a 30% off coupon!" So what? Because you could be potentially trying to defraud the store, and they DO issue 50% ones. So, BECAUSE they do issue 50% coupons and they are readily available, they keep HALF of what you originally paid EVEN IF you paid full price under the assumption that you are attempting to DEFRAUD them. Great customer service attitude, huh? This is how one of their store managers explained it to me.
BOTTOM LINE: When the clerk asks you if you want the receipt IN the bag, say no. Why? Because you are MORE LIKELY TO LOSE IT if it's in the bag, rather than your wallet therefore lowering returns for Jo-Ann's stores. That's retail chain mentality for you.
6.) GENERAL STORE POLICY: Jo-Ann's store managers train their employees to treat every customer as if he/she is a POTENTIAL THIEF. Why? Because big-box retailers lose millions of dollars of merchandise to shady customers as well as shady employees. In order to protect from this, they cover their backs to the nth degree. So should you! Playing innocent of their policies won't absolve you of them. The second you select merchandise and agree to pay for it, you are bound to that retailer's long (and often unpublished) policy handbook!
SUMMARY: Jo-Ann's used to be a store that never took ANY returns, and coupons could NOT be used on any special order items or specialty things. Now, at least, they DO accept returns (although Jo-Ann's is getting back to being much more selective on those.) SO what can you do? Always ask the customer service person at the FRONT DESK (more likely to be a manager or supervisor) "WHAT IS YOUR RETURN POLICY ON X PRODUCT?" BEFORE buying or checking out or having them cut anything. Protect yourself, and be proactive. Don't get on these complaints boards if you failed to inform yourself beforehand.
Keep in mind, businesses are out there to MAKE MONEY. They are going to protect THEIR interests not yours. *The reviewer has spent several (heartachingly bad) years in the retail and retail management fields. I have gleaned much of this info DIRECTLY from ACTUAL store policies and am presenting it here for you - THE CONSUMER, because retailers DON'T want you to know this information!*
***Stores in Michigan to avoid if you want decent customer service aka "ghetto" stores: Lansing (west side near Lansing Mall), Waterford (near Summit Place Mall), Bloomfield Hills (Long Lake & Telegraph - TERRIBLE customer service, run by lazy rich people who argue every policy detail to the minutest), Roseville (at 13 Mile Road) Very dirty and bad service.
MADISON, TENNESSEE -- Me and Jo-Ann's go way back, it used to feel like an art store but now since the remodel it's all toys and cheap crap. All I can ever think is "This is where the trendy moms come to get their Pinterest fails" (I've been there too. :P). The prices seemed to have tripled, I've gotten entire hoards of fabric at estate sales for less than what they charge for one yard or jersey knit.
The store is so stretched out I can't find anything, and the 40% off coupon has been 30% as of late. I just learned that the glue sticks I paid $8 for were only worth $3 store credit when I found my glue stick stash and wanted to return the ones I bought the day before. Thanks for the platform to vent. It's over Jo-Ann's. I'm breaking up with you.
"Returns are Now Even Easier!" This is the tag line at JoAnn.COM. Don't believe it. Purchased roller case for my sewing machine from online store. Case handles were too short to comfortably pull, and I am only 5'2". Was charged approximately $10.00 for original shipping which was reasonable. When I wanted to return it, instructions indicated I needed to call and get return authorization. Turns out this wasn't necessary. Was told to take to local UPS to return ship, this would only cost me $35.00. There is a local JoAnn store, but I couldn't return it there. Are they not the same entity?
The cost return an $80.00 item, turned out to be $45.00. What kind of business operates like this? This was the very WORST online experience I have ever encountered. I will never use the online store again. No other online store has a policy like this one.
BOISE, IDAHO -- I ran into JoAnn Fabrics on Federal Way in Boise, Idaho to grab a couple of magazines and some candy since I needed something to occupy a few hours of time sitting in an office. The magazines were from JANUARY 2014! Not just one, but 3 different magazines. I finally found a Somerset that was current and then went to the check out aisle to find a couple of candy bars. The candy had expired in 2013. I tried several, including the bags of candies - EXPIRED!! I let the clerk know. Her response: "The magazines get replaced when someone has time to do that, and since we only have 2 employees in the store at one time, we don't have time."
I asked if they were discounted, since they were past the expiration date and she "Absolutely not!" Don't the people at their corporate offices understand that if they don't keep up with the quality, they will lose their customers?! More and more I am finding that JoAnn's as a whole doesn't care at all about customer service, only transporting all that cheap fabric into their stores and all that CRAP FROM CHINA onto their shelves. Today was my very last visit to their store. Too many other stores where you can purchase magazines, not to mention craft supplies and QUALITY FABRIC.
SPOKANE, WASHINGTON -- The short of it... they said they would be getting more material in, so we bought 1/3 the amount needed because that was all they had at the time. 3 months go by while I check every 2 weeks. They kept saying in 2 more weeks.. Until finally material is discontinued. Now they won't take back our original purchase. This is the 3rd awful transaction. I will NEVER shop there again, their corporate policies are not good for the customer and there are other fabric store that carry almost everything they do, so why risk it?
FAIRBANKS, ALASKA -- I haven't been to Joann's in a long time, and never been to the one in Fairbanks, so I thought I would check it out. I found their ads for discounted fleece to be very misleading. They posted the discount on all of the shelves with fleece, it was all over the place, but when I got to the checkout counter I found out that it was only for one kind. WTF! They only post the ad near that brand that is discounted!! Then things all over the store were on shelves without prices, I guess they want you to be surprised at checkout.
The cashier didn't know what she was doing and counter our items and what showed on the receipt like 3 times, and when I asked her about the discounted fabric she explained it to me like I was an idiot... It was my first and last time in that store. For now on I guess I'll stick to Wal-Mart and Michaels for all of my craft needs. (I actually get better customer service there anyway)
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Shopped in Joann Crafts today - got the email reminder about today is the last day for 25% off all purchases including sales items. Picked up some things I needed and then added some cross stitch items because the sign said additional 25% off.
When the clerk rang up the sale, the 25% didn't come off. She said she would have to go back and look, but she didn't want to do that because there was a long line. I explained that I too had been waiting for a long time in the line and the store should honor the sign and the price. She said she didn't have time to go look for the sign. I told her that was bad business and if she wasn't going to honor the advertised price I wasn't going to buy the items. She tried to say that I would be getting the 25% off because I had the coupon. I tried to explain that there's a difference between 25% off plus another 25% off.
Additionally, she gave the woman just ahead of me in line the 25% off the entire purchase even though she didn't have the coupon. The clerk essentially told me that my business is not important to the store. There are so many frustrations shopping at JoAnn's that I think I will take that advice and not shop there any more. I will also advise everyone else I know how poor their business practices are and that it is much better to shop elsewhere.
CUDAHY, WISCONSIN -- I am fed up with JoAnn's misleading advertising!! I recently visited my local JoAnn Store where a sign posted in the middle of several shelves stated that Copco was on sale for 40% off. The sign led me to believe that both the cups AND the water bottles were on sale. When I checked out, the water bottle was not discounted. I questioned the clerk, so she called the Store Manager up front who stated that the cups and bottles are usually on sale at the same time and it should be discounted. However, the clerk would not adjust the price. I was livid!!
This is not the first time that I purchased an item, only to find that the advertising sign was placed in the incorrect location. (If an item is not included in the sale, DON'T POST THE SIGN WITH THE NON-SALE ITEMS!!!!!! Common Sense!!!) With another incident, the clerk cut my fabric too short. I had 6 pieces of fabric that I could not use because the measurement was shorted! When I filed a complaint about this, the Regional Manager contacted me and stated she would send me a gift card, which I NEVER received! I am DONE with JoAnn Fabrics!!
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE -- I have worked for the Joann Fabrics store for 3 months and for the most part I have enjoyed learning all the crafts that Joann has to offer. There needs to be protocol and how an employer talks to other employee. I am not a dog and deserve to be talked to like you want to be addressed. There is an manager in the Chattanooga, Tennessee Joann by the name of ** who has no respect for her employees and well as the customers. There has been complaints about her and nothing is ever done. When I was hired I was not informed I would have to work past 10 pm since I have school-aged kids that have to be woken up to come and get me from work.
When I informed the manager I had to leave since it was after 10 I was informed I needed to make other arrangements if I wanted to be there further.. That I feel a very rude comment to make. The bathrooms and the over all store needs be supervision and not a manager that is always missing in action. When it's time to work she makes sure she's off. There should be notice given to employers when needed to stay later and be told the day off that you need to stay late because there was a big boss coming and things weren't done all that needed to be done should have been done at the last minute.