Saturday, December 11, 2004

Present-tense Store

We are in the throws of assembling gear for the six-week hiatus that we are about to take in the country. I should probably say that Sue is in the throws and that I move paper around my desk and run the occasional errand, for I am pretty useless at getting organized in this manner. It's better for both of us, in this situation at least, if I remain on the periphery rather than get my ponderous hulk in the way.

So it was that one of my errands today took me to Canada's leading electronic retailer. If you're Canadian, you know it without hearing the name. If you're not, the name hardly matters. So I'm not going to tell you. Yes, I am going to tell you … in a way. It's not called Present-tense Store, but that's a clue.

On the whole, I rather like the place, but they practise one form of retailing that displeases me. In fact, I find it shoddy and bordering on the fraudulent. Rather than describe it right now, let me back up and tell the reader what I bought today and why.

As I mentioned, we are heading for the country where short days, long nights, and no tv, will afford this blogger a fine opportunity to sort through his computer files, backup all sorts of them to CDs, and eliminate many from his crowded hard drive.

Aside: truthfully, the drive isn't crowded; it actually has more space remaining than what existed on my previous computer's hard drive when it was empty. However, because it's more than half full, it begins to gnaw at me — odd fellow that I am.

To get back to the storyline, this afternoon I purchased a spindle of fifty CDs for thirty dollars — or so I thought. When I got home, I realized that the store had charged me forty dollars. Had I been mistaken? As it turns out: no and yes.

No: I was not mistaken because when I went back, the sign over the bin clearly said thirty dollars.

Yes: I was mistaken because when my wife bent down to study the fine print, she read that the price was thirty dollars: only after I were to receive a ten-dollar rebate. Why didn't the sign read: "$40 with $10 rebate that you have faint hope of receiving before next Christmas unless it snows in July and rains cats and dogs in January and a certain president becomes a statesman and peacemaker"?

I should have known really, for just several months ago I had a similar experience at the same store. In that instance, I brought an item to the pert and friendly cashier who, rather unfortunately, attempted to charge me something significantly greater than the price that I had seen listed. In that case, the discrepancy was sufficient for me to notice while I was still at the checkout, and I was able to renege on the purchase right then and there.

So, yes, perhaps I should have known better, but I am a trusting kind of guy. I am so trusting that I don't normally think to lower my head to ground level in order to read the fine print on the bin tag: silly old fool that I am.

I remain flummoxed over the reason for this practice. They would have had my business regardless, for there were several other brands selling at my price. It's not that they gained or lost, but I feel as though I have been had.

Rather than being yet another deliriously happy customer, here I am: blogging my displeasure over Present-tense Store. The story is out there now: out there for the whole world to see and read. Okay: at least my wife and daughter, will read it, and if they read it, they will tell others. Don't studies reveal that one dissatisfied customer spreads the word to twelve other consumers?

Does this sort of business practice make sense to you?

Am I alone in this, or does the word, fraudulent, leap to anyone else's mind?

Watch out Present-tense Store, lest you become Past-tense before your time, for we may not in the Future, Shop there.



Melodee said...

Oh I know what you mean. Not long ago, I got a free cellphone . . . well, it would have been free, had I saved the receipt and sent in for the rebate.

Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. I appreciate it. :)

karla said...

Ahh..lets not forget good old Canadian Tire! Just a few weeks go there was a miter saw on sale for 99.99 (AFTER the $30.00 mail in rebate). Much as your experience, the advertisements were absolutely unclear about the actual price you pay at the register!
Present-tense! Clever blog!

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