Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Two things that suck: Target kids' shoes and Target customer service

It's been a while since we had a good, old-fashioned nastygram here on My Adventures in Tucson. Fortunately, I've got a juicy one for you today.

In September, I bought these shoes (Toddler Girls' Genuine Kids by OshKosh™ Ariele Athleisure Shoes - Pink) for Miriam at Target:

So cute, don't you think? She calls them her "pink shinies" for obvious reasons.

Well, pink shinies they are no more. The metallic pink at the toe of the shoe has started to peel off already. Miriam doesn't even wear these shoes every day, and when she does wear them, it's not to rough places like the park or playing outside. Under what I would consider lighter than normal usage, these shoes have started to fall apart. So I asked myself, am I satisfied with my purchase? The answer was no. Naively, I took the shoes back to Target this morning to get my money back. I sometimes forget that not every store is as consumer-savvy as Costco.

I was expecting resistance, reluctance, or perhaps a little of both from the customer service people. But I did fully expect to get a refund, or store credit, or something. What was there to argue about? I, a Target customer, was not satisfied with my purchase and furthermore, could show that their product was defective. What kind of shoe falls apart under light use after less than two months? I really thought I had an airtight case.

Apparently, I underestimated Target's ability to train their employees to never give money back, ever. I talked to a regular employee, a supervisor, and the manager, and each was more dull-eyed, unhelpful, and obstinate than the last. It must have been a slow day, too, because while I argued with them, a gaggle of half a dozen slack-jawed Target employees gathered around the customer service desk to watch the fun.

Basically, it went something like this:

Me: Hi, I would like to return these shoes. As you can see, parts of the shoe are starting to peel off.
Target Employee: Well, those shoes have been worn, so we can't take them back.
Me: I am fully aware they have been worn. I am not trying to pass them off as unworn. I just want my money back so I can buy my daughter a pair of shoes that will not have to be replaced in two months.
TE: We can't take something back if it's been worn.
Me: All right then. Let me simplify. I AM NOT SATISFIED WITH MY PURCHASE. Can I have my money back now?
TE: Well, it's our policy not to give refunds on merchandise that has been used. If we can't re-sell the product, we can't take it back.
Me: I am trying to tell you that you should NOT be selling this product because it is a piece of junk (I may have actually said 'crap'). Please take it back and give me my money.
TE: I'm sorry, we can't do that.
Me: Are you telling me that even though I, a Target customer, am not satisfied with my purchase, you are refusing to give me back my money as a show of good faith, since it goes against your policy?
TE: Yes. You can return something if you're not satisfied, but it has to be new and unused.
Me: How the sam hill am I supposed to know if I'm satisfied or not if I haven't even used the product??
TE: [Blank stare. Obviously, they're not programmed to handle defensible arguments, just the indefensible ones.]

To summarize, Target and I reached an impasse when my desire to return a used item for reasons of dissatisfaction conflicted with their policy to not allow returns of used items, because dissatisfaction was only a good enough reason if the item is unused. Got that?

The really aggravating part was when they got me to leave by giving me an 800-number and telling me that the people there could help me. Guess what the 800-number was? Target customer service. Guess what they did? Put me on hold, called the store I had just come home from, got the story, and then came back on the line to tell me that their policy was not to accept used items for returns. I asked if I could call the manufacturer of the shoe with my complaint, but she said that this particular manufacturer does not deal with customers directly - my only choice was to deal with Target. Foiled again!

I hope the Google gods are listening, so that when someone searches for "Target kids' shoes," or the incorrect, non-apostrophied version "Target kids shoes," or "Target customer service," or "Toddler Girls' Genuine Kids by OshKosh™ Ariele Athleisure Shoes - Pink," they see this blog post review and think better of it. Take that, you obstructionistic, soulless Target store employees.

R.I.P. Flounder the Betta

Book Review: The Hunger Games