11 August 2011

Why I Currently Never Want to Go to Target Again Even Though I Love the Place

I've had bad luck with Allegra-D. When my mom said it had helped alleviate her allergies, I asked my doctor for a prescription and was shocked to pay over $100 for a month's supply. When I found out less than a week later that Allegra-D is now available without a prescription (and thus cheaper), I was, to say the least, annoyed that my doctor hadn't known that.

Unfortunately, Allegra-D is still restricted, meaning your license has to be scanned and you are only allowed to get 20 pills every 10 days. Since 20 12-hour pills take ten days to run out, there are never extras--you have to go to the pharmacy on the tenth day if you want the small amount of relief that Allegra-D can give (I have yet to find an allergy pill that really helps). A box of 20 costs $23.66, meaning each pill costs more than a dollar.

To try and stretch my dollar a bit, I only take a pill once per day. In other words, I use the 12-hour pill to get me through 24 hours. And it doesn't get me through. I wake up during the middle of the night, unable to breathe, with eyes so itchy that I'd rather have black circles under my eyes for the rest of my life than not scratch.

Taking all this into consideration, imagine my consternation . . .

I took the kids to Target, bought some Allegra-D at the pharmacy, assigned James to carry the Allegra-D and Sadie to carry the goggles, looked at a few other items, and then went to the register to purchase swimming goggles for Sadie. As we started to walk away after receiving our receipt, the lady in line behind us said, "Don't forget your bag," and held out the small paper Target pharmacy bag. "James," I said, pushing him forward, "You forgot the bag." He grabbed the bag and we returned home. A couple of hours later, I decided to put the Allegra-D away in the medicine cabinet, and grabbed it from off of the dryer by the back door.

To my shock, the bag was empty.

I looked in the garage we had walked through and all over in the car, to no avail. All I could think was that the box must have fallen out some time before the lady handed the bag to James. Why, oh why hadn't I looked in the bag? Why hadn't I held it myself in the first place even though my hands were full with other things that I didn't end up purchasing?

I called Target and explained, only to be told that I'd have to come in and have the security guard look at the security videos. I figured I'd go there on the way to institute, but I ended up being at Target for an hour and 20 minutes!

Luis, the Guest Services guy, looked through the lost and found bins, though I told him that the medicine didn't have my name on it and would have just been brought back to the pharmacy. "Can you ask the guy who rang up the goggles?" I asked, producing the receipt and describing what he looked like. "Maybe he saw the box or if the bag was empty." "Sorry," Luis answered, "there's no way to know who that cashier was, even with this receipt." He was really nice and obviously wanted to help, but he didn't seem to have any power, so he took me to Crystal, a supervisor. She asked for a description of the cashier and said she could ask him. Then she told Luis to talk to Victor at Security. Victor came back and said he saw the lady hand the bag to James, never saw anything fall out, and couldn't tell if the bag was empty or not. He then took me to a supervisor named Amado to ask about what to do next. Amado never once looked at me while Luis and I explained what had happened, and then he said that he didn't want to make a decision when Crystal might make a different one, so he sent us back to Crystal. Crystal told Luis to go ask the pharmacy if they'd had anything turned in. The lady there said no, but I was concerned that maybe someone else had accepted the medicine and not told anyone. We went back to Crystal, who decided she wanted to go ask the pharmacist herself. As Luis and I waited, a lady waiting in line heard what was going on and when Crystal came back, she said, "They should just suck it up and give you a refund or something. It could be anywhere in the store." I asked if I could get a store credit so I could buy some more. Crystal said, "We have no proof that you dropped it anywhere," but she encouraged me to talk to the pharmacist about getting some more. "It's not allowed," I said, "because it's a restricted item." "I'll talk to her about that," she said. When she came back she announced, "The pharmacist isn't sure how much you can get, so you can go ahead and try. And ask her about getting a credit." Then off she went. Luis apologized for not being able to help more and left as well. I stood in line for several minutes before anyone could get me another box of Allegra-D and try ringing it up with my license, which failed as I'd suspected, because I'd just bought a box the same day. When I talked to the pharmacist about the credit, she said, "You mean an advance?" "Well, more like a gift card." Though the pharmacy had just closed, she went into a back room to call up Crystal. When she came back, she said, "We have no control over the law for this medicine, so we can't give you an advance."

"Oh! No, I didn't want you to just give me more medicine. I'd never ask you to break the law. I just meant credit so that I won't have to pay again when I'm allowed to get more in ten days." So she went to call Crystal again, who came to talk to me. "We don't have any proof," she said, "because the security guard couldn't see anything fall out of the bag." "How high-tech are your cameras?" I asked. "Is there any way he could follow us before we got to the register?" We were then interrupted by another customer and I ended up waiting alone for several minutes. As I waited, I heard her voice coming from every employee's walkie talkie in the whole store as she instructed the security guard to search the video. Finally, she came back and told me to go wait at Guest Services. I stood there, waiting and waiting, while my ingrown toenail throbbed and my stomach reminded me that I had missed dinner. As I waited, I thought about how if the employees would just believe me, I'd be a dedicated and loyal customer forever. I thought of how if I were to get some kind of credit or something and then found the box in the parking lot or who knows where, I'd return the credit without a moment's hesitation. A lot of time passed. I was beginning to think I'd been forgotten. Amado walked by, never acknowledging me, and I wondered if I should ask him if he could find out if Victor was done scanning the videos. Finally, I saw Victor come out and waved to him so he could find me more easily.

He said, "I saw you guys leave the pharmacy and I saw you at the watches, but our cameras aren't high-def enough in the other sections you went to for me to see anything." I thanked him for looking and asked if I could still somehow get a store credit. "I'll ask Crystal for you," he offered, and he grabbed his walkie talkie. "Tell her please and that I'll be the most loyal customer ever!" He gave a weak smile and walked off to confer with her for ten minutes on the other side of the store. "Any good news?" I asked as he re-approached. "Unfortunately, no," he answered. "She says that since we don't have any proof we can't do anything for you," he apologized. I in turn apologized to him for having to be the conveyor of bad news. Shouldn't a supervisor do that rather than a security guard?

An hour and twenty minutes of being passed around and having to suggest the next steps of action to employees so that I could be disappointed, out almost twenty-four bucks, and aware that though the last couple of weeks had been full of hardcore hayfever, the next ten days were going to be even worse. I admit it, I cried a little as I left the store.

I walked out to the parking lot and checked every inch of the way to the parking spot we'd been at earlier that day. Nothing. I checked the car and garage again when I arrived home. Nothing. My one consolation was that maybe the box would turn up while the store was being cleaned at night, but then I realized that with the way things are communicated there, even if the Allegra-D were to show up later, no one would say anything and it wouldn't ever get back to me anyway because no one had wanted my contact information.

So there's my long, drawn-out vent. I still love Target's selection, good prices, bright/cool/filtered-air stores, and clean designs, but I'm currently harboring bitter feelings. Even though I know I'm to blame for giving a five-year-old the responsibility to carry a bag, I feel cheated out of the benefit of the doubt that it seems like Target would want to give to its customers. That is more disappointing to me even than knowing that I will be wanting to cut my eyes, nose, and sinuses out in the next few days even more than I do now. Oh, Target. I'm sure I'll go back, but maybe just not to that one. And I'll cross my fingers that I'll never have to deal with customer service again.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. What a fiasco. I would call or write a letter/email to corporate headquarters. They usually bend backward to keep your business!
    (I've only done it once before, but was glad I did.)

  3. Yeah, I sent Target my story and they replied that I should call them . . . they obviously didn't get that I want as little hassle with customer service as possible.