Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Shopping Disappointment

We're buying a house.  It has a lot of potential, but right now is very beige. The walls? Beige. The carpet? Beige. For a little variety the countertops are off-white.  This must change.  We like color, and we don't much like carpeting.  Carpeting in the dining room, when we have three small kids, seems like a particularly bad idea.   The house is also huge.  Like three times bigger than our first home.  But helpfully, due to the move from Boston to Dallas, not three times as expensive!  As with most housing purchases, we will be bleeding money for the next little bit.  Especially to get rid of the beige.  Oh, and to get furniture.  And fix the myriad of tiny things the inspector mentioned we just might possibly want to fix, but aren't huge problems.  And so we are trying to have a less expensive Christmas. 

As our fat little rabbit will be only three months old, we figured we could get away with getting her mostly clothes as gifts -- she needs them anyway, and she really will not know the difference.  So cyber Monday rolls around, and I have a 35% off coupon for gap.com, along with free shipping.  We really like Gap's baby clothes, so I log on and start filling up my virtual shopping cart.  I also had coupons for gymboree.com and carters.com, so I looked there as well.  As I shopped at all three stores, my orders at Gymboree and Carter's would occasionally update, as items sold out.  My loss, as I was taking my sweet little time making up my mind what I wanted.  I finally had the three carts filled with what I wanted, and decided to go with the cart at gap.com.  I finished my order, and made a mental note to watch for the package.  That night, I showed my husband the order, and was particularly excited about a super cute lilac cardigan, with a matching onesie.  My husband humors my desire to dress our little girl in purple; he prefers the pinks.

Around 3 a.m. this morning, I was nursing the fat little rabbit, and playing on my iPad.  I checked my e-mail, and noted an e-mail from gap.com regarding my order.  "We're sorry, but while processing your order, we found that the item(s) below are no longer available. Your Order Total has been adjusted to reflect any changes."  it said.  The items?  The onesie and cardigan I was most excited about.  But wait a minute.  Gap is just now processing my order? A week after I placed it?  And it just now "found" that the items are no longer available?  Does Gap not have an inventory control system?  I have visions in my head of a huge warehouse, and frantic holiday hire employees walking around with order forms.  They walk to the spot on the shelf where the lilac cardigans are kept, and oh no! they are gone!  Surely that's not how it works.

The real kicker is in the adjustment to my order total.  I had a $20 rewards coupon I earned from previous purchases with my Banana Republic card.  The way Gap handles the coupon when you buy multiple items is to allocate the discount across all of the items.  So when gap.com credited my account for the two items it was unable to sell me, it credited back only the price minus the allocated portion of the rewards coupon.  But it wasn't my fault that Gap can't keep track of its inventory.  I didn't decide to return the items; Gap refuses to sell them to me.  In the end, I didn't get to use around $4.50 of my rewards coupon, because Gap made a mistake.

Gap does feel sorry though.  To make it up to me, they've offered a 10% discount code.  What?  The 35% off discount is no longer valid, and I've lost $4.50 from my rewards coupon, but I can have 10% off a future order?  Is that really supposed to make me feel better? Credit the $4.50 to the original order, so I can use the whole $20 rewards certificate, honor a 35% discount for two like items so I can replace the items you agreed to sell me but now cannot, and I'll feel as if I'm at least back in the same position I was last Monday.  At that point, throwing in a 10% oops-we-messed-up discount is a nice thing to do.  As it stands, I think your customer service is crappy.

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