I offered to take my sister on a $500 shopping spree for her 28th birthday. Somehow she talked me down to $200, but it is what it is. Who knew this $200 would all be spent in the same store… full of excellent sales, phenomenal mark downs, and two-for-one specials! The store, of course, was the Ann Taylor Loft Factory Store at Arundel Mills Mall.

If you have read my blogs before, you would know my sentiments towards Ann Taylor customer service. My sister’s birthday was no different unfortunately. As we grabbed item after item, making outfit after outfit, we developed quite the mass of clothing over our forearms. My sister is about 5’2 and 100 pounds; she shouldn’t be forced to carry around a clothes pile that weighs as much as her! I remember when I was a kid the sales persons on the floor would walk around with either a basket or a kind offer to start a fitting room for you. This didn’t happen for me and my sister. Apparently we might not look like big spenders? Who knows. If you have any thoughts on why some people get these kind offers and others don’t, please enlighten me. I would love a volunteer to help me shop. Do associates no longer get commission?

So after my sister intelligently tries on all of her clothing (like a good consumer) we proceed to the check out. We have three similar items- I mean, we are sisters after all- we both have excellent taste. Imagine my surprise when there is NO LINE at the checkout! I was thrilled! I placed our 20-25 items on the table and began listening to a woman go on and on about her life paying no regard to the fact that as she is ringing the items up, the total was slowly approaching $300. Shouldn’t she pay attention to me since I am spending my money?

I now know this girl’s life story, and for the time being, let’s call her Rachel. Rachel is a teacher in the regular year and has a toddler child who “cannot stop growing!” It seemed as though every remark was followed by an ignorant cackle. She thought she was hilarious and everything she said was golden. I become very cranky if I do not have a drink while shopping; perhaps it’s from the anxiety of spending money. My sister volunteered to go get me water while Rachel kept incessantly speaking to me about nothing.

Alas, my sister comes back, the items are finally all totaled, and she says, “Would you like to open an Ann Taylor Loft MasterCard today and save 15%?” (First statement related to my purchase.) “No thanks” I say, and begin playing to get my credit card to pay this bill. “Let me see what your total would be with the 15% then…” says Rachel, BLATANTLY ignoring my answer. I understand because I am in sales though. So I allow her to punch in the numbers. “You would save about $60! Come on, it only takes 15 seconds.” I look at my sister, and say again, “no thank you” with an eye roll this time. “BUT $60 WILL SAVE YOU A GAS BILL!”

“Ugh, does it really take 15 seconds?” I relented, which is rare, but I just wanted her to shut up at this point. She was making a scene and a line was forming behind me because it took her an eternity to ring up the items. She then takes my ID, has me vocally tell her my social security number which is very unprofessional, and somehow she managed to delete all of the items off of the computer while on the phone with her corporate location which is supposed to approve the 15% in 15 seconds. Rachel leans over to her coworker and asks her to ring up my items AGAIN, while she tries to get through to the card services department.

About 5 minutes later (and after she’d made me tell her my social security number AGAIN), Rachel hangs up the phone and proclaims, shrugging, “It will take about 10 days for them to make a decision. It’s not my fault!” Apparently, I was not instantaneously approved for an Ann Taylor MasterCard in 15 seconds. I did not get the 15% off my purchase either. Idiot.

Now I wasted 5 minutes and $60 on this buffoon who can’t even throw me a frikken bone and honor the fact that if I applied for the card, I would get 15% off.

I slid my credit card through the machine and ignored Rachel for the rest of the transaction. She continued to harass me with statements like “here’s some coupons for Friends and Family next week! When you get approved, we will give you 15% off your first purchase!” Her chipper attitude really ticked me off; I didn’t even want this stupid card. I just wanted her to be quiet! I then took my bag full of presents and walked out of the store with a chip on my shoulder.

“It’s not my fault!” What does that even mean?!

Can someone please shed some light on this situation? Am I a bad customer? Should I be more nasty with my no thanks next time? What works best with persistent customer service “professionals”? How is it possible to get better floor support, and less transaction support?

Yours truly (perplexed),

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3 Responses to Birthday Shopping Spree: Literal Insanity

  1. Wow, that is a horrid story! I don’t have much experience as I only shop AT while on vacation in the US – I wonder if it’s just that store? I definitely think you should complain as this seems to be a constant issue.

  2. Jane says:

    You are definitely not the problem, Rachel is. I get so peeved with bad customer service. You are the customer, you are spending your money at their store when you could just have easily walked the extra 15 feet to the Banana Republic outlet. I know it’s their job to ask if you want the credit card. But, when you say no, that should be it. I almost always get asked if they can start a room for me, even at Forever 21. And if freaking Forever 21 can do it, Ann Taylor should be able to as well. (I however, have no idea what the trick is, sorry.)

  3. Callie says:

    @Elaine – it’s actually been several different stores across Maryland!

    @Jane – Interesting point! I’m debating doing a social sciences study of shopping in both business attire and sweatpants, to see how I get treated in both. I’ll let you know the results 🙂

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