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October 09, 2004

Don't register at Robinsons-May

Since I work in retail, I feel the pain of other retail employees. I know what it’s like to be on both sides of a cash register. No matter what type of mood I’m in, or how crappy a day it’s been, I am expected to smile and be polite to any and all of my customers, no matter how awful and horrible they may treat me or my fellow co-workers. Because I hold myself to this standard, I expect a certain level of customer service when I shop. I don’t feel that it’s unreasonable to want courteous, friendly service, and I expect to be kept informed if there is a problem. In return, I promise to treat those assisting me with respect and patience. I will ask to speak to a manager to compliment or complain as necessary when I feel that the service I receive has been especially good or bad.

Robinsons-May employees, you are hereby warned.

Before our wedding reception, Frinklin and myself registered at several stores for gifts, as you do when you are about to be married (or after you eloped, as in our case). We registered at Target. We registered at Pottery Barn. And we registered at Robinsons-May.

At both Target and Pottery Barn the staff assisting us was helpful and knowledgeable about the wedding registry program and specifics. Registering was a simple task and it was kinda fun to use the laser gun to scan things. We decided to choose only stores that allow you to "manage" you registry online, as we are impulse registerers, and like to add and delete as we see fit.

The experience at Robinsons-May was not so smooth. I bring this up because every interaction I have had in the last couple of months at Robinsons-May has sucked really bad, and they really need some sort of instruction in that place.

Bad experiences include:

1. Going to register on a Saturday afternoon and finding that the registry coordinator (we learned shortly that they have a lot to apparently coordinate) is not there on Saturdays. Apparently, you must take time off work to register or suffer through 15 minutes of an older woman who is totally unfamiliar with the computer system attempting to set up your laser gun so that you may scan items into your registry.

2. Laser scanner inexplicably shuts itself off midway through the registry process, forcing us back to the older woman unfamiliar with the computer system. Older Woman then spends 10 minutes trying to access the registry to see it the scanner has saved our previously scanned items with no success. A manager is called to assist. Ten minutes later another manager is called over to assist. We are ignored during the entire process and eventually told that they "think it's all on there--we'll find out when you're done."

3. Once we have finished scanning, Older Woman struggles to download the scanner info into the computer system for approximately 15 minutes before again calling a manager over to determine that the cable connecting the scanner and the computer are bad and must be physically held in place with two hands while typing, which takes two peple. It takes 10 more minutes to reach this conclusion and perform the act of physically holding the cables in place while another types.

4. We must leave, as we have an appointment that we are now late for. I ask the Older Woman if we can access our registry online, as there were several items they were out of that I still wanted to add. She assures me that this will be no problem. I ask again to make sure, and am again reassured.

5. We get home that evening to add items to the registry. You cannot "manage" your registry online. All changes must be done in store.

6. Time passes. We receive two rice cookers purchased from Robinsons-May from two different friends. Registry at Robinson-May reads:

Rice Cooker
Wants 1
Needs 1

7. After the wedding reception, we head to Robinsons-May with the extra rice cooker and a sheet set that we registered for and decided we don't want (I told you we're impulse registerers) and a hideous crystal thing that we definitely DID NOT register for. New Older Woman attempts to return items for credit and is confused by the register system. A manager is called. The Manager explains the process to the New Older Woman, who still cannot complete the return. After 10 minutes of waiting, we are sent to another register and cashier in another department with our packages.

8. Manager decides to walk New Cashier though the returns process. Mistake. Start over. Repeat. Twice. 10 minute later, we have a gift card, but New Cashier has lost our registry paperwork that we must have to receive our 20% discount on items we registered for but did not receive as gifts. Paperwork hunt begins, and ends 5 minutes later when New Older Woman finds it.

9. We find several items to purchase and present our 20% off letter to yet another new Cashier (Cashier 3). Cashier 3 does not know how to apply discount and must wait for a Manager. Manager walks cashier through discount process, which must be manually applied to each item. Sale is punctuated by Cashier 3’s comments of, "Did I discount that? I better start over." Twice.

The registry still says we need a rice cooker.

Posted by Ensie at October 9, 2004 08:50 PM


You are way more patient and polite than I would be. That experience made me dizzy.

Posted by: Michell at October 11, 2004 09:13 PM

Which Rob-May store were you at? When I got married, I had no problem registering. My friends also regiestered there with no problems at all. I disagree with not registering there, you just happened to be there at the wrong time.

Posted by: RobMay at December 22, 2004 02:43 PM

We got married about six years ago (has it really been that long?). Because her family is in Arkansas, we used J.C. Penney's to register, which, while somewhat annoying in its clunkiness, did actually work. But as to your experience with Robinson-May, I completely believe it. Another friend and former co-worker registered there about five years ago and had exactly the same problems, compounded by the fact that the online store was not able to deduct items from the list, with resulting duplications, etc.

I never liked May Co. when they were an independent chain, nor Robinson's; the combined entity doesn't seem to be all that much better. About the only time we shop there is at Christmas, because they're one of the few places that stocks Port Merionware, which my mother collects (and is ungodly expensive, being hand-made in the UK).

Posted by: Rob McMillin at December 26, 2004 05:41 AM

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