I prefer to wear inexpensive, non-branded/non-logo clothes1 . My avoidance of over-priced merchandise is a silent economic/political statement on my part.
Last week I checked Old Navy online to see if some specific pants and shirts were in stock at the Old Navy flagship store in San Francisco. According to their website, only one item was available for in-store pickup. Everything else had to be delivered. But the good news was that all online purchases were on sale for 20% off!
I placed my order and went to Old Navy to pick up the one item that was available in the store. When I got to the store, I became angry.
Every item I had ordered was in fact in stock in the store. They had a massive stock! And every item I had ordered for 20% off was 50% off in the store! Their online ordering system apparently forced me to be ripped off! Old Navy had misrepresented to me what was in stock; so, they could charge me 30% more?! Had I not gone to the store, I would never have known.
When the order I had placed online arrived, I double checked. Yes. I had been ripped off. (Additionally, I received an email saying that two items from my online order were not available at all; so, I had placed a second order to replace those two items that were actually in the store! Had I known before going to the store, I would have purchased them there.)
On Monday, today, I called Old Navy customer service. I was told that as a matter of policy they do not honor in-store promotions. I asked her if their policy was to be deceitful about what was available for in-store pickup so as not to honor their in-store promotions in the store. She then reiterated she could not honor the extra discount.
I then told her I would take the merchandise to the store and return it for what I had paid for it and never purchase from Old Navy again. I also pointed out that between the two orders I had spent $44 for shipping I didn’t need to spend at all because the items were all in the store I had walked to when I picked up my in-store pick up purchase.
At this point, she put me on hold. She returned to say that, as a one time courtesy, Old Navy would honor their in-store pricing. She would give me the additional 30% off. She reiterated that this was a one time event and would be noted as such in my purchase history. She wanted to be certain I understood this.
I then wanted to be certain that she understood that I would be sharing my being ripped off by Old Navy in social media. To be very, very clear, what Old Navy is really, actually saying, as I see it, when you peel back their layers of bullshit, is:
- Their policy is to rip off their online customers by charging them more than those who shop in their stores.
- They mis-state their in-store stock, probably deliberately. This store had a massive stock.
- When you call them on their efforts to overcharge you online by 30%, they act like not ripping you off is a courtesy they graciously give to you instead of your right, as a customer, to not be ripped off and abused by a big corporation.
- They seem to miss the fact that your shopping with them is your extending a courtesy to them, and not the other way around.
- To this customer, this looks like a predatory business plan (their “policy”), a manipulation designed to take as much of their customers’ money as they can possibly get. This seems to be the name of the game in predatory capitalism these days.
- This is not the first time I’ve caught Old Navy craftily deceiving customers as a matter of standard practice.
- And, finally, to this customer, this feels like Old Navy expects customers to be grateful to them for ripping us off.
This experience makes me wonder in what other ways the corporation2 that owns Old Navy is ripping us off that are better concealed from view. I simply stumbled upon the exposition of this rip off by accident. What else are they doing that we don’t know anything about?
I found my interaction with Old Navy customer service to be polite and relatively efficient. But at the very same time, I found their carefully scripted narrative condescending, offensive, even abusive. I still spent $44 for shipping I didn’t have to spend at all had I walked over to the store. I didn’t walk over to the store because Old Navy told me they did not stock what they in fact not only stocked but had in abundant stock in the store.
The use of deceit and manipulation to extract more money from someone, even when they are unaware you are doing so, is still wrong in my book. Old Navy apparently calls partially righting this wrong a “one-time courtesy.”
Shame on them!
I don’t like wearing over-priced advertisement. But then, I don’t like advertisement at all. ↩
“Old Navy is an American clothing and accessories retailing company owned by American multinational corporation Gap Inc. It has corporate operations in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco. The largest of the Old Navy stores are its flagship stores, located in New York City, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and Mexico City.” –from Wikipedia.org ↩