Tuesday, 18 October 2011
A few weeks ago, we paid a visit to Lowe’s and spent just over a hundred bucks. I gave the cashier a $10 off coupon. Getting back in the car, however, I noticed I had a 10 percent off coupon which, in the case of our bill, would have meant a savings of just over a dollar. No big deal, I thought. Jennifer reminded me that we could use the 10% off coupon next time we went to Lowe’s.
Today, I stopped at Lowe’s to buy some screws. I had the 10% off coupon in my wallet and I thought, hey, instead of using it to save maybe 10 cents on a few screws, I will ask them to apply the coupon to my bill from a few weeks ago, thereby getting store credit of a dollar, which I can then apply to the screws.
So I walked up to the customer service counter. A young girl looked at the coupon, then told me that if I use the 10% off coupon, the $10 coupon would no longer apply. “I know,” I said, “but 10% off is, in this case, better than $10 off, so I’d rather use that one.”
She began typing away at her computer. After a few moments, she looked up and told me it would be a couple minutes because she had to essentially refund everything on the list and then re-ring it. I chuckled at the crazy nature of this process – at Target, for example, the cashier would simply ‘zap’ the coupon then ‘zap’ the receipt and, viola!, the computer would state the refund amount and I’d be given store credit.
After about two minutes, during which time she had to manually enter every item, she announced she had refunded me the total. I signed on some crappy screen. She then said she would now enter in all the items again, this time applying the better coupon.
After another two minutes, she told me my new total. It was higher than my original total.
“Um,” I said, “that’s not right. I should have gotten 10% off this time.”
“You did,” she said, “but it looks like it’s not as good as $10.”
“Well,” I said, speaking slowly for the typical American math student, “since I spent more than $100, then 10% is more than $10, so my savings should be higher.”
She wasn’t sure what to say (math can be like that sometimes), so she called over her manager. He double-checked the sale and said that his employee was correct.He then noticed that the tax amount was higher. I was confused, so he explained that the taxes in Hennepin County (that’s where we were) are higher than in Ramsey County, which is where he believes West St. Paul (that’s where the original sale was located) is.
I laughed, and told them I would not be paying the higher price – especially since I didn’t buy anything in Hennepin County and therefore should not be taxed for it. He said he didn’t know what to do, but since it was obvious I wasn’t about to sign for the sale – and he probably didn’t want me to just walk away with my $100+ refund – he typed in some magic manager code that allowed him to adjust the price to the original sale price. Why didn’t he give me the better price at that time? Good question. Lowe’s has a low price guarantee, but they evidently don’t stand by it.
I then walked over to select the screws I needed. Lowe’s keeps their screws in little bags which I ABSOLUTELY HATE for two reasons:
1. I can’t tell if the screws are the right size.
No big problem here, I just poke the screws through the bags. On this occasion, I found the right size screws on the third try.
2. That’s not how many screws I want to buy.
I only needed four screws. There were ten in a bag. Those assholes.
I went to the self-check out counter. It was acting funny, so an employee came over and said she would ring me up. She farted around with the self-check out computer for a few moments while she canceled my transaction, then tried ringing me up on her computer, only to announce that she couldn’t use my coupon because I had already used it.
“No I didn’t,” I said.
“Did you just return something?” she asked.
“No,” I clarified, “I tried using it to get a lower price, but your co-workers couldn’t figure out how to do that, so I ended up not using it.
She then typed in a special code and gave me 10% off on the bag of screws.
Anyway, that’s my last time at Lowe’s. I heard on the radio yesterday that they are closing several of their stores in the near future. Now I know why.