I’m not a big online purchaser. Yet I do realize there are advantages to be had by using the old smart box to buy things: large reductions in price, greater variety and, perhaps most importantly no waiting in line. A couple of weeks ago while carrying out my daily morning routine of checking emails I noticed an opportunity that I decided to look into.
It was the infamous Cyber Monday and I had received an email offering a product that I have bought before but at a reduced price. The email was from Indigo.ca, a company with which I have dealt many times before. The email offered me a 25% discount on an item I would be purchasing anyway, so I thought I’d give it a whirl, as it would not only be a saving, but I would not have to wait in the line to pay.
Indigo does many things very well, processing paying customers is not one of them. They need to take a page from the Costco book when it comes to this.
So I went through the process of signing in, adding the item to my cart, then advancing to the checkout. At which point I realized that the delivery charge would erase any savings I may have enjoyed. Nice try Indigo. Also, having the item delivered to my home, where I can rarely be found during the day, would have entailed taking the Canada Post ‘sorry we missed you’ slip to the appropriate post office and – yep, waiting in line – to pick up the item.
But no, another option existed. I could order the item with the reduced Cyber Monday price, have it sent to an Indigo store for pick up thereby avoiding delivery charges. Wonderful, great idea. I completed the purchase. Not long after I received an email confirming my order. Things were moving along swimmingly.
Two days ago. A half week prior to the ‘expected date of pick up’ I received an email informing me that my item was ready to be picked up at the downtown Montreal store to which I had arranged for it to be sent. This was just peachy-keen, on time, reduced price, and no line-up.
The email explained that, upon my arrival at the store, I need only show it to any staff member who would provide me with my item.
Arriving at the store on a Wednesday afternoon I had a tough time finding a member of staff. I suspect they were all busy seeing to patrons who, not as savvy as I, had made the mistake of shopping in-store, and were now waiting in ridiculously long lines to pay for their goods. Thank God I had avoided that nightmare by shopping online.
I went upstairs where I found a staff member who told me I should make my way to the children’s department because, for some odd reason, that is where this Indigo store handles pick-ups. Off I went to the children’s department only to find yet another long line up of folks waiting to pay for in-store purchases. Silly saps thought I, the era of line-ups is gone now that we have online shopping.
I presented myself to a woman who, instead of seeing to waiting customers, was busily wrapping recently purchased items. I showed her my iPhone with the Indigo email and assumed she would go to retrieve my item. But no. She said, and I must admit I thought she was joking at first – perhaps I was on camera as part of a Just For Laughs Gags episode – that I had to get in line to pick up my item.
I withheld the anger that was building within me and pointed out that asking someone to wait in line to pick-up an online purchase completely and absolutely defeated the purpose of buying online. I had only made the purchase online so I would not have to wait in line, yet here I was waiting in line to get the item I had bought.
The experience was totally illogical, in fact, Kafkaesque in nature.
As I was leaving the store an employee asked if she could help me. I was just about to leave when I thought it would be an idea to speak to a manager about this asinine situation. To explain that an “Online Purchase Pick-Up” counter was required if the system was to work properly. Alas, all managers were busy at check-outs trying to deal with in-store clients, rather than being available to help disgruntled online clients whose money is worth just as much.