Monday, February 05, 2007

The Limitations of The Limited

It's frustrating how few opportunities there are for consumers to make our opinions, experiences and disappointments known. When we have negative experiences, our first inclination is to call someone inside the company or even write a complaint letter. Neither proves to be very effective. Nothing generally gets done.

When blogging came along, to a small extent it shifted the paradigm. Now we have the ability to tell our experiences to anyone who might happen along. And, courtesy of major search engines, people who are interested enough can read and compare experiences.

So before I tell the brief story, I will include a few search terms, which will help to attract those who are interested:
The Limited's bad customer service
The Limited treats customers poorly
The Limited Store 304 manager Dina
Avoid doing business with The Limited
The Limited misrepresents itself

For Christmas, Emily received gift cards to The Limited. Along with those gift cards were "bonus" cards worth 50 dollars, which had an expiration date of February 3, 2007. We chose the St. Louis Galleria location because it offers a larger selection than other stores in the area.

The manager, Dina, was a nightmare.

First, I noticed (while Em was shopping) that Dina was a high-strung, loud, brash fast-walker. Those people are irritating. As I observed her, she came across as aloof and condescending to the customers with whom she dealt.

After about 30 minutes of shopping, Em found what she wanted and took it to the register. Upon presenting the cards, she was told that she couldn't use more than one card per purchase. She asked the cashier (who was also very rude) if they work like gift cards, and was told "no, they work just like cash."

First, if there are restrictions, they do not work like cash. Second, nowhere on the card did it say anything about the restriction the cashier referred to. It simply said that the total of the purchase had to meet or exceed the value of the card. (meaning there would be no change given) It needed to say something to the effect of "one item per card," which it did not.

After quickly becoming frustrated, the cashier summoned Dina the manager. Her contribution was, "it won't let us ring it up that way." That was it. I asked why such a restriction wouldn't be printed clearly on the card, so that people who travel a long distance in order to use them would know. She said "first, you don't have to be rude about it, and second, it's just company policy." I found her response condescending and apathetic.

That was it. Emily and I looked at each other, then turned for the exit. Em turned back, asked her name and asked how to get in touch with the company. Dina gave her a credit application with a phone number on it and made a smart comment... something like "go right ahead and call them, then." She turned her back and walked away. (quickly, again)

Emily has a credit card from The Limited, which she will now cancel. She has gift cards which she intends to use... but unless she gets some sort of consolation from the company, they have lost a good customer.

People like Dina should work in The Limited's credit collections department or cleaning the building after hours, but she certainly shouldn't be allowed access to their most valuable asset, the customer.

9 comments:

Blogarita said...

I feel your frustration, and would definitely be contacting the company's higher-ups.

I have to disagree, though, about complaint letters being ineffective. I've had quite a bit of success sending letters of both complaint and praise to companies. I've received anything from free recipes and coupons from companies with great products, to free dinner gift cards from restaurants where the service was poor (we just took them to another location).

Sometimes you get nothing, but usually amends are made. It helps if you tell them what you DO like about their company as well as what you don't.

Dr. Mike said...

Funny you blogged about the same Limited store that we, also, will no longer frequent.

Paula and I were there on Saturday and the fast-pacing woman kept mentioning, "Free limited cash. Buy an item for $50 and get $25 limited cash - that's half of your purchase."

When Paula purchased a $60 shirt, I was expecting a $25 discount... but NO NO NOOO. The cashier lady stapled a coupon-looking-card to our receipt and said, "You can bring this card back with you, on the weekend of Feb. 21 ONLY and get $25 any purchase of $50 or more *IF* it's still stapled to this receipt."

We still made the purchase, but Paula had to pull me out of the store to keep me from making a scene because it was total BULL-SPIT!

arthist99 said...

That's when I get one thing on one gift card, leave and get a snack, then come back and get something else, leave again, come get another item, etc. They HATE that.

We had a similar experience with Express Men/Structure.

Diana said...

That's a crock! Amanda likes to shop at the Limited Too store (same company, but for kids/pre-teens) and they do the "bucks" thing too. We've always been able to use multiple cards as long as our purchase added up to the required amount. Sorry to hear that you & Em had a bad experience.

Nichole said...

Well, gosh, guys', the name of the store is "The Limited". Im just sayin'.....

=o)

Amandarama said...

You guys showed way more self control than I would have. Hell, I would have called the company on my cell phone right outside the store and demanded some kind of restitution right then. Failing that, I would have returned later in the day wearing a hat and sunglasses and left a nicy, juicy grunt right in the dressing room.

That kind of attitude is unacceptable. I worked at friggin' Harrods and that kind of crap just wasn't tolerated. It was, as the Brits would say, a sackable offense.

Ari said...

"People like Dina should work in The Limited's credit collections department or cleaning the building after hours, but she certainly shouldn't be allowed access to their most valuable asset, the customer."

Sadly, I have uttered that same sentiment myself SO many times. I always wonder if I'm just getting curmudgeonly or if things are really that bad in the world of customer service.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Ah, using your blog to exact revenge on a lousy company is so fun.

Remember my joust with Sirius?

Good job, Dave. Thanks for sharing. Please know they'll never get a dime of my money.

Eve said...

I shit you NOT, I had the EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE WITH THE LIMITED CARDS.

After arguing for 10 minutes with the walking dildo sales girl about using more than 1 bonus card at a time, Adam got pissed, stood in line behind me, and did a SECOND PURCHASE with the SECOND card after I completed mine with the 1st.

Needless to say, they weren't happy but they did it.

I would call corporate. Be polite and cordial and play nice...

"I have been a loyal customer and LOVE your store. I cannot believe the treatment that I received?1 It's SO unrepresentative of your company?! She was rude and patronizing and insulting and brash?! If it were my company, I would want to know that I was being represented in such a manner... "

You would be shocked how far it can get you...