***UPDATED BELOW*** (AGAIN!)

I’m not one to get all up in arms about this sort of thing.

But after my experience tonight JCPenney has got me thinking.

I went into their store looking for a specific curtain rod. It was on sale online but not in the store. This was the first hiccup.

However the sales ladies were absolute doll faces and I could have kissed them for their help.

Also the sales ladies who helped us on “Black Friday” when we purchased a whole bunch of curtains were all eligible for some sort of award involving hugs.

However when I went online tonight to purchase this particular curtain rod while it was still on sale for “Cyber Monday” their site had pretty much crashed. Absolute standstill. I tried calling their 24/7 customer service line only to have their automated system hang up on me. Twice.

Their facebook page has over a half million fans and a lot of them were having the same troubles as me.

Now I’m not sure how JCPenney will handle this kerfuffle, but it has left me wondering, can a brick and mortar store make it with a crappy online presence? It’s the biggest online shopping day of the year, shouldn’t they have been prepared? What about the reverse? Can a fantastic online store make it if they have horrible real life customer service? (I’m looking at you all of you secret/closet online Wal-Mart shoppers.)

I don’t mean to get all grumpy, but I just wonder what will happen to the future of shopping with this whole online/real life thing. Because I would have much rather spent the extra $20 to buy the rod from the cute old ladies than swear at my computer and threaten kicking puppies just to save some money online.

Is real life customer service worth the extra cost to you?

***UPDATE***

As of this morning, JCPenney.com will not honor the prices from last night on merchandise purchased this morning even though their site did not work last night. Tried calling customer service and was hung up on by their automated system, again. Facebook is absolutely full of ticked off customers. INSERT DRAMATIC DUN DUN DUN music here. (Okay, honestly, it’s not that big of deal. I’m just curious how it will play out. You know? I like cereal…)

***UPDATE #2***

Facebook | JCPenney

JCPenney came through today on facebook, actively answering questions, and apologizing for the big mess last night. Not sure if everyone came away happy but it looks like they did their best through all avenues, facebook, twitter and through an email apologizing for the kerfuffle and extending their free shipping offer.

I was able to finally get through tonight and get the same prices from last night along with free shipping.

This my friends is where I say “and they all lived happily ever after…in a freshly painted house surrounded by luscious curtains.”

Comments

  1. Yes, to a point. I live in an isolated town where you can’t even buy a pack of Hanes socks without taking a $60 ferry ride into the city. So the stores that are in town who have decent prices and good customer service definitely get our dollars. If the stores jack their prices sky high and claim it’s “shipping”, we refuse to shop there.

    But then again, for stuff like groceries you simply have no choice. So when Loblaws/Superstore/Extra Foods jacks their 150 g pack of Craisins to SIX freaking dollars (usually $2.50), you have to just go without.

    I hate it.

    Bridget Reply:

    @Scatteredmom, I’m not as isolated as you are, but we’re a good 30-45 minutes away from any good stores(we only have a grocery store and a Walgreens close by).

    So sure, I’d love to be able to go into a store come out with something in my hand…but usually it’s not worth the hassle.

    My mailwoman and I are tight. And the UPS guy has my address saved as a favorite on his GPS.

    Plus…I don’t have to get dressed. That part’s pretty much the kicker(if I’m being honest).

    Casey Reply:

    @Scatteredmom, want me to send you some crasins? I will!

    Scattered Mom Reply:

    @Casey, Lol Thanks! But they do go on sale now and then so we’re okay. It’s like that with everything though-they fluctuate from a normal price to something absolutely bizarre, and back.

    We do a lot of ordering and traveling to the city.

  2. Yes. I definitely consider my cost and time to drive to a place in person vs. online hassle and shipping fees, coupon codes, etc. Whichever maintains my SANITY (it is priceless) wins every time.

    Steph

    Casey Reply:

    @Adventures In Babywearing, Ah yes. RetailMeNot.com is my new best friend.

  3. FisherPrice’s website went down earlier today & my DH called their customer service to make our order. The girl was so sweet & knocked a bit extra off our price as a thank you for calling in & still shopping with them after their website went down. And then proceeded to sell him 3 more items … my 30$ planned order ended up being $82, maybe their customer service wasn’t so great for me! LOL Even with online snaffus ~ I didn’t have to deal with pushy, bratty, whiney people all trying to cut in front of me in traffic & at the checkouts. I’m THRILLED!

    Casey Reply:

    @Bellamomma, Further proof that good customer service makes a lot more money.

  4. Absolutely. There’s a nearly new JCP near my parents, and I go there each time I visit because their service is awesome, even last Friday at 4 a.m. Everyone was in a friendly mood.

    Casey Reply:

    @Angie, Even the lady that helped me at 1pm who had been there since 3am was a doll.

  5. Nope, we’ve never had any lapses this time of year. Well, at least we learned from our mistakes.

    Like clockwork this year *fingers crossed*

    Casey Reply:

    @Rick, so far I’m impressed.

  6. I so prefer personal face to face customer service. It’s easier to get answers out of them.

    It’s too bad that your local JCP couldn’t have just honored your sale there at the store… :(

    Casey Reply:

    @Mel, I know, strange right?

  7. I more often than not, I frequent real stores, because our town is smaller and quite frankly dying. I don’t want everything here to close up shop, so if it means spending a little more I will to support my local economy. Not to say that I never shop online, but I am more of an instant gratification kind of gal. I do shop online, just not as frequently.

    Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire Reply:

    @Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire, I totally feel like I stuttered in the last two sentences. Can I blame the fact that I am freezing & shivering and tired? Great! I knew you would understand.

    Casey Reply:

    @Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire, Local economy FTW. I wish I lived in a world of local shops and etsy.
    A girl can dream.

  8. I find that most companies either have one or the other, if they rock it “in person”, then their online couter part sucks. I think this is often because the corporate online site and the physical stores happen often can be different entities, with different rules, pricing, mandates, etc. I think the key is finding where the satisfactory shopping experiences are, and to stick with them. I love Borders, but their website sucks. I LOVE amazon, etc. Just find what works. Nobody has been able to pull it all together in every avenue, yet.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kellee, I think if a company did figure it out the world may implode…

  9. I am not an online shopper unless I have to be. I like to get out and see the world. I get frustrated with online shopping and would much rather deal with real people than my computer!

    Casey Reply:

    @Jenny, I’m the same way. More the see the world part that deal with real people part. Well, sometimes. You know?

  10. First off- love your blog! I’m not a big commenter, but I LOVE online shopping, so I had to comment now :). I very much prefer shopping Walmart online than actually trying to find anyone who knows what I’m talking about at the store. Their free site to store service is nice.
    I do love to shop in person, too- but if I can get it cheaper online in a few clicks, I will do it! I had a couple online stores go down completely on Black Friday- it was awful! These days an excellent online situation is almost as important as in store customer service.. to me :).

    Casey Reply:

    @J. Erickson, Exactly, in fact there’s some places I’d rather shop online because their design is so smart (landsend.com is a good example.)

  11. mommabird2345 says:

    I comparison shop online, but usually buy the item in-store. I like getting what I want NOW and not in a couple of weeks (or pay more for express shipping). I also like to be able to physically check the item out. Plus, returns/refunds are easier (for me). If I can’t find what I want in the store, I have bought things online, but prefer not to.

    Customer service makes a big difference. If they are really helpful, I will return to shop again. If they are not, I will not shop at that store for a long time (or at all if it is a chain store, I will go to a different location). My Mom works for an ins. co. She has had people tell her that even though her company’s rates are higher, they stay there because of her and the way she always helps them.

    JCPenney, are you paying attention?

    Casey Reply:

    @mommabird2345, JCPenney totally paid attention, I’m impressed. And yes, I pay more for my insurance because it’s worth it, when I need them they’re there 100%.

  12. I am a really tall girl and JC Penney has a talls catalog with very reasonable prices so I am stuck with online shopping.

    I was on JCP.com on Monday and ordered without trouble. Don’t mean to rub it in or anything… :)

    Sorry that you (and lots of others) had such a bad experience. Probably an isolated incident. (But still frustrating)

    Casey Reply:

    @michelle, Ah, my tall friend, JCP came through with flying colors so buy your long pants with confidence!

  13. Amy in StL says:

    I’ve always disliked JCP; found their stuff to be overpriced for the poor quality.

    I spent Friday buying stuff online at Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic. Saturday I got an email from them that one item was not in stock; but it was to my work account so I didn’t see it until Monday morning. When I called Monday the lady offered to give me the same half off price and free shipping for a replacement item. Dude, that’s service!

    Casey Reply:

    @Amy in StL, Nice! I’ve never done much with JCP outside their home stuff, and with that I’ve always been pleased.

  14. Lisa in TX says:

    JCP *just* out an email announcement saying that their Cyber Monday free shipping has been extended because of the site crash. Go forth and buy!

    Casey Reply:

    @Lisa in TX, I saw that! Total redemption!

  15. That’s BAD. All of it. They definitely should have been better prepared, and they most certainly should have extended the sale prices since it was their fault the site went down. I think this is definitely going to hurt their brand, especially for the next Cyber Monday.

    (And I like cereal, too. My favorite is Raisin Nut Bran. Sounds weird, but it is DELICIOUS!)

    Casey Reply:

    @Elizabeth Kaylene, First, Raisin Nut Bran? LOOOVE.
    Second? JCP came through with flying colors. They’ve still got me.

  16. I didn’t know JC Penney was still in business. I thought department stores went the way of the dodo.

  17. love it when it all turns out right in the end.

    We are bloggers – hear us whine and get results!!!

    awesome.

  18. I bought a bunch of stuff at Old Navy online on Black Friday and today (a week and a half later) I got an email saying 3 items from my order were unavailable and being removed from my order. WHAT! They gave me a code for 10% off, but that doesn’t replace the great performance fleece tops I was giving for Christmas presents. Be glad the JCPenney site shut you out instead of making you think you got the great deal only to break your heart a week later.

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