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Why I Hate My Local Barnes and Noble Store…

January 11th, 2010 · 7 Comments · Gripes

Back in the beginning of December,  I purchased a set of Christmas cards at a Barnes and Noble, that is not my local Barnes and Noble.  They were made of a lovely card stock and had a bird sitting on a branch on the outside and Season’s Greetings written on the inside.  Simple and lovely.  I got home and wrote out the first card.  Upon pulling out the envelopes, I find that all 21 envelopes in the box were sealed.  I called the store where I bought them and I was told to return them to my local store.  Unfortunately my local store never had the cards in stock and the other stores were sold out of the cards.  I picked out new cards, checked the envelopes and learned an important lesson:

Always check the cards and the envelopes before buying stationary at Barnes and Noble.

Well fast forward to a few days after Christmas and I walked into my local Barnes and Noble and there was a huge sale table with cards and calendars on the table.  I decided to look through and I was excited when I found a box of the cards just like the ones I had returned. Well, I had to apply my new life lesson, so I open the box only to discover the card I had written on sitting on top of the sealed envelopes. When I returned the item apparently it was just restocked. I spoke to customer service and explained what had happened and asked that they get rid of the cards. They apologized and assured me this never happens and they will make sure they are labeled damaged and properly disposed of. I learned another important lesson:

Barnes and Noble restocks damaged return items, so check every last thing you buy for damage.

My friends and family got a chuckle out of this story. I posted what had happened to my Facebook account.  Well last week my best friend was shopping in our local Barnes and Noble. She had been with me when I originally bought the cards. Well she is a bargain shopper and she was going through the Christmas cards.  She came across a box of Christmas cards with a bird on the front. She had to look. Sitting on top was the Christmas card I had written and all 21 sealed envelopes.  She took them to customer service. Explained what had happened. OF COURSE THEY WERE HORRIFIED!  They put a sticky on it, wrote damaged and placed it behind the counter, so that it would not be restocked by accident.  She called me. I was perturbed but I learned another important lesson:

My local Barnes and Noble is extremely unorganized and could give a crap about their customers.

Well today I decided to go to my local Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple of books about traveling to London and the UK.  I walked up to get into line to pay and right next to the line is a table with sale items such as calendars and you guessed it, Christmas cards. I look down and there they were…I can spot these cards from 100 feet now, much less on the table right next to the check out counter. I picked them up, took a deep breathe and opened the box of cards.  The card I wrote was not on top! For a moment, I thought wow I am jaded, they had to get rid of those cards by now, maybe they had another box in stock.  I decided to follow the first rule, which was to check the envelopes. Sure enough they were all sealed. Then I decided to follow the second rule, so I counted the cards and sure enough they had thrown out the card I had written on, but put the rest in the box and restocked the item. Which brings me to my third lesson, Barnes and Noble can’t organize their staff or stock.  I went up to the customer service counter, asked for a manager and explained what happened for the fourth time.  I was assured the matter would be handled immediately. I learned another important lesson:

Barnes and Noble lies, lies, lies.

I now have daydreams about finding the cards again in a future visit.  I have thought about carrying a trash can with me and burning them in the middle of the store. I have thought about ripping them into confetti bits and tossing them at customers as they enter. I have thought about taking a Sharpie to the outside of the box.  I have thought about screaming “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”, at the top of my lungs and collapsing to the floor kicking and flailing my arms. In the end, I have concluded I won’t be doing anything that could get me arrested and I WILL NOT be going to my local Barnes and Noble for anything in the near future.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • haleyhughes

    That’s crazy.

    Trying to figure out where the failure is, perhaps if all they wrote on the note was “damaged”, when they looked at it later, they didn’t see any problem with it and didn’t notice the envelopes were sealed shut.

    Poor system, regardless.

  • Debbie

    OMG! I bet some zit-faced stockboy kid is wondering why you care so much about those cards! I would have continued to do the same thing you did. It would have become my quest! Too funny.

  • Haters

    Fresno Barnes and Noble offers free WiFi but they do not have any plugs for the laptops. Think they want people to stick around for a while?

  • kristen

    I had a horrible customer service experience where I ended up being treated incredibly rudely by a manager. He would interrupt me (as I calmly explained what happened), he was actually shaking and never once apologized for the inconvenience. He was so rude, that I almost told him how ridiculous he was acting, but held back. I have a feeling their employees are conditioned to getting angry customers since their customer service is RIDICULOUS. Before going to the store (an hour away, round-trip), I talked to customer service several times, always waiting on hold for 5 minutes. Needless to say, I finally got my refund on a gift card as they wouldn’t credit back my account. When I got home, I reread their policy and the manager flat out lied to me! Anyways, I used it online to order another book. This one arrived damaged – ha! I received it and started to laugh. Of course they don’t protect their items with shrinkwrap like my love, Amazon. That’s what I get for cheating on my favorite store! Amazon’s prices are so much better too. Even after using my gift credit, I ended up paying the same for an LSAT study book that I would’ve at Amazon.

    Oh – and while talking to the manager, I asked if the store credit would expire. When he snidely said, “nope”, I said: “what happens if you guys go under because of your terrible customer service?”. I give ’em a year or two.

    In the meantime, I will never shop at Barnes and Noble again, online or off. My first experience shopping at one of their establishments turned into a dehumanizing, stressful and time-wasting experience.

    Thanks for letting me vent! 😀

  • Abby

    Gosh, I hate barnesandnoble too. But for a different reason. I used to buy stuff on their online store all the time, and I never had any problems with it. But, I just ordered A LOT of books and spent a lot of money, and i looked at my online receipt and there wasn’t any tracking information. I contacted customer service online, and they said someone would get back to me in 24 hours and never did.

    It’s been over a week, and I still don’t have my books. It said they shipped, but I don’t have an estimated delivery date and I don’t know where the heck it is. Bleh, I’m done ordering online, and I’m done with barnesandnoble. Save myself lots of money.

  • Don U

    Dear Beeker,
    Your B&N story is hilarious! I commend you for actually continuing to give B&N business.

    My B&N experience on the other hand has driven me to avoid B&N at all costs.

    I’m a college student. I live on a small budget. I am highly organized. As quickly as textbook announcements are given – I make my selection and order early. Often, due to “special editions” I can only get certain textbooks through my University bookstore which is managed by… yes… B&N.

    For one of my summer classes I ordered a textbook online from B&N @ UCF. I was shipped the wrong book. I contacted the number on the invoice immediately and was only issued a pre-paid UPS return label when I insisted they provide me with one. Their solution was for me to drive 15 miles to the campus for fix their error. I did end up driving 3 miles to the nearest UPS drop off.

    I ordered the correct book from Amazon spending almost the same amount.

    Three weeks later, and two weeks into class a credit had not yet appeared on my charge card. I tracked the return package — it had been delivered 16 days ago. I called the number on the invoice again. After 2 transfers and several minutes of hold I was told, “Oh, we were waiting for the correct book to come in for you.” That’s not what I asked them to do on the return form. I asked for a refund.

    Being the smart guy that I am, I reminded the agent that I was expecting to see a full refund INCLUDING shipping. After all, I should not pay for the shipping of a wrong product.

    Care to guess what I was told? If you guessed, “We can’t do that” then you are correct. Instead I was issued a Gift Card with the value of the shipping loaded on it.

    Maybe that would be OK if I ever intended to shop at B&N again – but I will not.

    B&N’s error has now injected itself into my life in a way that will carry on until I can at least use the curse card. Opps, I mean Gift Card.

    If others can learn from this experience, then my venting has been worthwhile.

    Wishing all readers of this post a long, peaceful, and happy life.

    PS: Amazon Prime ROCKS!

  • Madison

    I used to love Barnes and Noble, until today. I went into the store and picked up this book I’d wanted for a while. The book had no indentation of price ,but I figured it’d be about the same as similar books. The book ended up being about TWICE the price I guessed. I paid for it anyway.
    Even though, there was some very rude workers there. This old woman checking people out ignored her other costumers and had a very long conversation with one of her so called friends. Then later after that, she leaves a long line of people to only one register open. I was very angry about that. Also, I live an hour away from the nearest Barnes and Nobles, so after I get home I notice the book a has a large rip and wrinkle on some of the pages. I feel extremely ripped off I did not pay $50 for a ripped and wrinkled book. I am returning the book for a new one and never shopping there again. Only Amazon.

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