WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA -- I have for a long time held Macy's in high regard. However, this opinion was greatly changed not so long ago when I tried to return a gold bracelet in your department store at the Wellington Mall, in West Palm Beach. What a disgrace – and I can't believe it happened at Macy's of all places. On Sunday 28th October, my boyfriend decided to buy me a very special gift for my birthday, at Macy's. He managed to get a 65% discount on it so it cost him $156.00. When my boyfriend gave me the gift, he said if I didn't like it, I could take it back. Of course I loved it especially as it was carefully picked out by him.
About 4 weeks later, the bracelet broke. I couldn't believe it as I really hadn't done anything to make it break. Unfortunately my boyfriend had already thrown out the receipt. Neither of us imagined for one minute that I would have to take it back. I really didn't want my money back for it, I just simply wanted to get it fixed or replaced. I took the bracelet back to the store in its original box (this is all they gave me) and explained what had happened. The store clerks were very rude and told me that there was nothing that they could do as I had no receipt. They really treated me as though I was a thief. I was stunned.
I complained to the floor manager who told me that the fine jewelry department was not owned by Macy's, it was contracted out to another company. Why would Macy's have their name on everything and then not be responsible for its merchandise? Sounds like a convenient “ripoff” to me. The manager for the fine jewelry department was off that day so I left all my contact details. Although I thought that my boyfriend had paid cash for the bracelet, I could tell them exactly what day, what time, how much he paid for it, and which day and time he picked it up.
I ended up having to call the jewelry manager myself. I told her that the bracelet was paid for in a pre-sale. The manager snapped at me and said that wasn't possible as they never do pre-sales. She was very rude and also implied that I was lying. As it turns out after talking further to my boyfriend, not only did he pay for the bracelet in a pre-sale (Sunday 28th October), his mother who was with him that day took out a Macy's credit card just so they could save an extra 15%. He was not permitted to actually pick up the item until November 1st.
According to the manager of the jewelry department, she has no record of the bracelet or the transaction. The transaction is clearly stated on the credit card statement.
So far I have still not been able to return the bracelet, which by the way I had a jeweler fix, only to have the bracelet break again in exactly the same place. I'm now glad that my boyfriend only paid 65%, just imagine if he paid full price for it. If he had bought a cheap trinket from Walmart, and had no receipt, they would simply have given him store credit. Macy's just looks down their noses at you and calls you a liar. I am thoroughly disappointed with Macy's and I am now going to post my story in as many places as possible because I find it intolerable. Guess where I will not be doing my Christmas shopping.
I used to like shopping at Macy's and am presumably the type of customer whom you would like to keep, given that I just spent $394 on three sweaters for my husband. However, you will not be seeing me or my money at Macy's again. You have bombarded me with coupons through the mail, in part because of the Macy's credit card which I hold and which I am about to cut into two parts since I will not be using it anymore. I went with the coupons to the store, picked out the three sweaters for my husband, only to discover at the register that the coupons (ANY of the five coupons) applied only to one of the three sweaters.
Having spent 20 minutes picking the sweaters out, I bought them but was quite displeased that the coupons were useless for two of the three. This will not happen again. I then went to try to buy some gifts for my daughter. I selected two items adding up to $48 and gave the sales person a coupon for $10 off of $30 in sales. OF COURSE, one of the two items didn't qualify for the coupon, which meant that I could not use the coupon. I decided to leave both items at the counter rather than reward Macy's for yet another "fake" coupon.
I then went to the jewelry counter hoping to use any one of the coupons for a bracelet. Again, I was told that none of the coupons could be used. I did not buy the bracelet; instead I headed for the exit and I see no reason to return. I am a marketing professor and teach the concepts of customer loyalty and lifetime value of a customer not only to MBAs but also to large executive audiences. I plan to use as an example your strategy of thinking only of attracting the customer but not of serving the customer so that he or she will return (e.g., lifetime value).
Please note: I once received such poor service from Bloomingdale's (now owned by you) that I started using this incident of poor service in executive classes as an example of how NOT to handle service recovery. I had to contact the VP of Marketing at Bloomingdale's to get my problem solved; however, it took two years to do so. I told this story to so many executive audiences that the VP at Bloomingdale's heard about it and sent me a large floral arrangement asking me to stop telling the story; I have not stopped.
You have now provided me with another example of poor management and ill-directed marketing strategy. Your heavy use of coupons is directed to attracting customers to your store. However, the inability of the customer to USE the coupons (let's see, you can use the coupons on Tuesdays before 11 am and Saturdays before the 27th of November and only on items whose brands contain Cs, Ls, Ms or Es, plus they can't fall into any of 17 product categories) means that the customer gets to the register and finds that the coupons are useless; this is essentially bait and switch. You can't expect the customers to memorize the myriad of limitations to each coupon.
If you actually do expect this of the customer, then you had better learn more about consumer behavior. If I have to educate myself about your rules in order to shop in your store using the very reason you provide to me to shop there (the coupons), I will not visit your store. There are plenty of other stores with good prices without having to use coupons, good merchandise, and no rules in tiny print with which I have to familiarize myself in order to make a purchase there at the expected price.
The good news is at least that I did not have to stand in line at the register to learn that the coupons were fake; you have no lines! Apparently other customers have discovered the zero value of your coupons, have been equally offended that they took the time to visit your store only to find that the coupons were nearly without value - and that therefore your ultimate prices were not nearly as attractive as you would like the customer to think they are - and have voted with their feet. They are elsewhere shopping rather than forming lines at your registers.
The purpose of marketing is not just to attract a customer but to KEEP a customer. Your strategy is designed to frustrate customers who might otherwise be loyal. If you treat your customers as if they were stupid ("Oh, they won't notice that you can't use the coupons other than on every 29th item"), it won't take them long to leave you for good, as I am doing. I will be using this in executive sessions as yet another example of poor marketing strategy. How sad that you have provided me with this opportunity.
BANGOR, MAINE -- Last summer there were two bracelets bought in my family. My mother bought a $1,600 diamond tennis bracelet for my daughter as a graduation gift and my boyfriend bought me a gold link bracelet for my birthday. The diamond bracelet was purchased in Boca Raton, FL and the gold bracelet in Portland, Maine. Back in September, I noticed a spacer on the gold bracelet was broken so I took it back to Portland to be fixed. No problems whatsoever. They happily took back the item, fixed it, called me and seemed more than happy to help me. I noticed a few weeks ago that the link broke again.
In the meantime, my daughter decided to start wearing her diamond tennis bracelet every day, and after about a week, she noticed one of the diamonds had fallen out. Last night, I was in Bangor Mall in Bangor Maine. First I went to the jewelry department and nobody was there. We shopped a bit then went back. I had the price tag for the diamond bracelet and the sales and repair receipt for the gold bracelet. The salesperson in Boca Raton told my mother that that little tag had the bar code on it that would bring up everything about the bracelet in the computer.
There was a boy behind the counter named ** who basically told me I might have gone to another jewelry store in the mall or anywhere for that matter, bought an inferior product and then brought it to Macy's to be repaired so they had no proof that the tag belonged to the bracelet. REALLY??? I was trying to steal repair service from Macy's?? Then they told me they couldn't do anything about the gold bracelet unless I had a service plan on it. They told me three times they had a 30-day return policy. RETURN POLICY? Did I say I was trying to return anything?
I did get a little angry that I was being called a thief. Insulted, hurt and very angry. I might have started yelling a little and probably got a little loud, but they just accused me of being a thief. Then the kid back peddled and claimed he said, "Some people..." Give me a break! Then the manager came over and they brought out a sheet of stickers and said that unless the bracelet had one of those stickers on it, they couldn't help me.
Anybody ever have stickers on their jewelry that they wear?? Me either. He said those stickers allow them to look up anything in the computer and it will bring up a copy of the receipt so they can see the purchase. I thought the bar code on the price tag was supposed to do that. History time... The same manager a few weeks ago wouldn't let me exchange a blouse that had one of those "stickers" on it because he told me the sticker was just an inventory control and that it didn't bring anything up in the computer.
The salespeople involved didn't want to give me their names. I got the boy's name, but I wasn't able to get the girl's name as she ran away fast. So I took a picture with my camera phone. I was then told that it is against the rules to take pictures in their store. LMAO... Really??? So basically I bought have two pieces of expensive jewelry from Macy's that are defective and the Bangor Mall Macy's won't help out.
I called Macy's in Portland Maine this morning about my gold bracelet and they said, "No problem, please bring it in. We will be happy to help." I asked them about the diamond bracelet and they said they will call the Boca Raton store and get the information based on the tag information I called them. STAY AWAY FROM BANGOR MALL MACY'S. THEY ARE AWFUL. THEY ARE RUDE. THEY MUST TAKE SPECIAL CLASSES ON HOW TO NOT TAKE RETURNS.
SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN -- Let me first say that I am not one to normally complain. However, Macy's furniture department beginning with their advertisement to their employees' knowledge and competence are just, well...ridiculous.
My 75-year-old mother saw an ad in this week's Detroit News for a leather recliner on sale. She went to Macy's at the Southland Mall where the chair was actually displayed and was told they did not stock the chair but the Macy's at Northland and Oakland Malls both did. The following day, I drove 45 miles in my truck to my mother's house and then drove another 20 to Northland Mall. First of all, the furniture dept. almost appeared as if it was closed due to the absence of anyone around. Seriously, without embellishment, someone dishonest could actually walk out with a room full of furniture from the showroom and no one would even know it.
When we finally found a salesman, we also ran into a retired couple who were interested in the same chair. They had originally gone to Macy's at Twelve Oaks Mall and were also told they had to go to either Northland or Oakland to get the chair. The salesman upon hearing this began a rant and said how those salespeople are incompetent and don't know the facts (nice image for the store). This response was because that actually none of the stores stock furniture. Even though the ad says "In Stock."
The warehouse is in Ohio and even if you were willing to drive there, customers cannot pick anything up there. Just to get the chair to one of their stores, it would be $15!!! This is crazy! So the advertised sale price of $599 should actually be $614. Let alone that this practice is just wrong and actually false advertisement. "In Stock" means a customer can leave with the merchandise. The whole thing does not stop there.
We finally said okay, the whole transaction took over 90 minutes!!! This is for a single chair. During this time, there were quite a few other customers who needed help and could not get any. I was appalled by the whole thing. I closed on my home in less time than it took to buy a chair. I doubt anyone from Macy's management will read this as it seems they do not care. All that furniture inventory sitting there month after month adds up and costs quite a bit. Any financial difficulty that Macy's experiences can probably be greatly aided by better logistics, management and policy. A chain as large as Macy's should be professional and efficient.
Maybe they figure adding $15 to the price will make up for it?? I would like to say that the manager ** did come over and do her best to alleviate the situation. It did appear that she was up against crazy store policy and trying to please customers. She was apologetic while assisting the incompetent salesman. I hope someone from Macy's reads this. However, I highly doubt it. The next time in the market for furniture, I doubt I'll even consider Macy's.
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- My husband took me out shopping for my birthday last weekend, hoping to buy me a new large cooking pot. We went directly to your store to see what was being offered. When we got to the cookware department, everything was laid out, easy to see & easy to price. We were able to review our options (there were several!) & find a quality 8-quart pot (by Martha Stewart) quickly & easily. Even the sales representative was friendly & helped us make the purchase so we could get out the door without a care in the world. I love Macy's & will be coming back to your store many times every year.
2300 EAST LINCOLN HIGHWAY, PENNSYLVANIA -- My search began when my wife spotted a diamond ring that she really wanted as an anniversary present in a Macy's catalog advertising their one-day sale on various items 3/31/10. It matched her wedding and engagement rings and, much to my delight, was on sale for a couple of hundred dollars less than other rings she'd looked at. So I went online to order it. The web ID number wouldn't take so I called their Catalog center and got **. She couldn't get the ring to come up and her computer was jammed so she had to call tech support and promised to call me back.
Okay, this is beginning to look a bit dicey, but by God I'm going to get that ring. ** calls back after about 15 minutes to tell me the ring is no longer in stock at the catalog center warehouse, but she found several stores (my local Macy's wasn't one of them) that show it in stock, one of which is Oxford Valley/Langhorne, PA near Philly (I'm in Pittsburgh). She gives me the phone number to call them. It's now a quest. I will get that ring if I have to drive 7 hours to buy it. Fortunately, I get ** in Macy's Jewelry Department at Oxford Valley.
She checks stock (it's there!), takes down my shipping information, double checks to make sure it's the ring I want, and quotes me the price (sale price, but I'm paying shipping which is fine and a heck of a lot better than driving there). ** calls later that night to tell me the ring (I'm now thinking 'The Ring, My Precious' kind of like Smeagol in Lord of the Rings) is on its way. It arrives, it fits, my wife is happy (and consequently so am I), and Meena calls to make sure it arrived safely.
The customer service given by ** (catalog center) and ** (Oxford Valley Macy's) was excellent. They were courteous and helpful. The product was what we wanted. I get +10 points in the husband rankings from my wife. Great job, Macy's!
SALEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Macy's. It's by far my favorite store. My problem is with their business practices. Every time I open a new account with Macy's (I have had many over the years), I get my bill with the account number on it, so I create a payee with my bank. I send in the payment, usually payment in full and the credit department will credit the wrong account and assess a late fee.
Every time this happens, and it happens every time, I call them to bring this to their attention and am always told that I need to add 2 numbers to the end of the account number in order for my payment to be credited to the correct account. So why don't they just give you the complete account number in the first place? It seems to me that this is a fraudulent business practice and that some folks who may have many accounts with them, like myself, won't notice these extra fees and just go ahead and pay them.
My second problem with their business practices has to do with billing and charging late fees. On December 3, 2008, I received a bill for my department store credit account for $242.32. I paid it in full on 12/9/08 even though it wasn't due until 12/29/08 according to the bill I received. When I go online and view my account, I notice an additional charge of $33.76 with no explanation as to what it is for. So I complain (this is the second complaint for assessing late fees in one month, by the way). For the record, I have never missed a payment or been late on a payment for any of my Macy's accounts. EVER.
ELMHUSRT, NEW YORK -- I was at Macy's recently and I had the most absolute rudest cashier EVER! I've been a manager in the retail business for about 13 years now so I know how it is for sales associates so I always smile and say “Hi” whenever I go shopping and mostly they are very helpful but this woman was in a class of her own - the lowest a person could possibly be in. I was paying for a couple of items at Macy's and I gave the cashier some cash while looking in my wallet to find some change when I noticed that the cashier, **, was about to close the cash drawer.
I told her to wait and that I had the change but she looked me right in the eye while she closed the drawer and told me, “Too bad, you should have told her before.” WHAT??? Why did I have to say anything in the first place? Did she think I was going through my wallet to giver her a tip? Of course I wanted to speak with a manager after that and she told me that there were no managers working. Yeah, a big store like that with no managers? I said something like that back to her and then she absolutely refused to call a manager.
So I went looking for somebody to call a manager for me and found a security guard. He directed me to another cashier who tried to help me and called a manager a couple of times to try to get him to speak with me but the manager kept making excuses and refused to. With managers that don't care, no wonder they have salespeople that have a nasty attitude. ** also refused to give me her name, she actually covered her name badge with her sweater! The cashier that was trying to call the manager for me was nice enough to look up the cashier's name for me with the receipt I had or else I wouldn't have known her name.
In my experience, most of the employees that always complain about their managers or their jobs are the ones that purposely give customers a difficult time and are constantly being spoken to or written up. They are ALWAYS trying to make excuses for their own behavior.
AKRON, OHIO -- I was walking in the mall and decided to just check out the furniture in the new Macy's that had taken the place of Kaufmann's. As I got to the top of the escalator, there was a sign saying "semi-annual furniture sale" (nothing else but those words) so for me, that was a plus factor to even look at their furniture displays.
I saw a black leather recliner chair that was small and just the size I had been looking for and it was on sale for $399! What a deal! I told the sales clerk that I wanted to purchase that chair and was there a delivery charge? He said the delivery charge was $65. I said wow, I just had a refrigerator and stove delivered from hhgregg and it was only $50 plus they removed my old appliances.
I told him that my friend would pick it up for me with his truck. He then proceeded to fill out the papers and then said that there was a $15 charge for pick-up. I said what! He said it was for the paperwork and getting the chair ready for me to put it in my friend's truck.
I said the sign should say $414 for the chair, not $399 if I have to pay that amount even to pick it up. I also said there were no signs and nothing on the tag stating that there is a $15 charge for pick-up. He said that is Macy's policy. I said OK, well then the sign says $399 for that chair then I will take that chair. He said he could not sell it to me, it was the floor model and that I would have to get one out of the warehouse (thus adding the $15).
After talking with various managers, the home office, and district manager, they basically said it was Macy's policy and they were not going to change it for me or anyone else. I then said I would apply for a Macy's card and get 20% off my first purchase. They informed me that I had a Kaufmann's charge and that it automatically turned into a Macy's card and that I could not apply for a new card and get the discount.
To make a long story short, my friend with the truck filled out a form for a Macy's card bought the chair for me and had it delivered to my house and the cost was a lot less than if they would have just taken the $15 off the price. So I paid my friend, he cut up the card and Macy's lost two customers. Normally I spent a great deal of money over the holidays at that store but not this year! I feel for $15, they lost a good customer and I am sure there are others who feel the same way!
HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS -- I was helped by a wonderful woman in the ladies lingerie department at the Holyoke Mall store the other day. I have had a very difficult time finding a bra style that will stay on my shoulders and not slip off. ** came to my aid when she showed me the line of Warner bras that have a bit of very soft rubber that runs under the bra straps. I have finally found a style of bra that I can wear in complete comfort! Thank you again, ** for the wonderful help that you gave me. I'll call to be sure that you will be there the next time.