Normally, I’m a huge fan of Target. I spend over $100 a week there: I get prescriptions, my groceries and things like bathroom tissue and cling film. Hell, I wear a lot of Target clothing (pyjamas, tights, shirts). I like Target and I frequent two locations, one only a few times a year; the balance goes to the Target in the town where I work.
Until last night…
Prior to teaching secondary school and working almost 2 decades as a graphic artist, I worked many retail jobs. I held 24 jobs by the time I was 22 years old. If a scheduling conflict arose between work and school? I changed jobs. I’ve been on the Other Side and I’ve been there At Christmastime.
Last week, I was texting with a friend and invited her to meet me at My Target to co-shop. We do this a few times a year as a way to squeeze in a visit whilst getting our errands done. Due to being distracted by my friend, I neglected to Oversee the Checker. He was meant to give me a $5 gift card for purchases on special offer.
While it’s not My Job to Oversee the Checker, had I done it, this wouldn’t have become A Thing. Also, had I rang the store right then and there, the manager on duty would’ve given me a name to write on my receipt and on my next visit, I could’ve gone to guest services and gotten my damned money. I didn’t do that because I was telling Mum about it and she said, ‘Nah, just stash the receipt in your pocketbook and show it to them next time.’ As Uncle Lou Reed said, ‘You can always trust your mother.’
Back to Target last night: queues are insane — I hate to go in any shop, let alone a Target type place close to Christmas. I purposefully avoid them, which is why that made 8 days since my last visit. -a record for me!
Being Christmastime, they have extra personnel standing around to answer questions, which is lovely. I spotted one and smiled, then opened my mouth to–
She looked away.
‘Excuse me? Ma’am? Excuse me? Could you please help me?’
This is the Midwest. It is ridiculous to have to ASK once eye contact and an opened mouth to obviously ask something has been mimed.
-are the new readers gone yet?
I wasn’t annoyed at the time, though, I thought, ‘She’s tired.’ -I got annoyed about twenty minutes later
I walked over and showed her my receipt and explained that I hadn’t received my $5 gift card. I wondered if they could do that for me at the registers or if I needed to go to guest services. She gave me the stink eye, ‘We can’t do that. We only do it if it’s within a week.’
Are you with me here? 8 days=1 week plus 1 day. Oh! TheHilarity!
It amused me. Again, not irritated yet. I smiled and said, ‘8 days?’
I got the stink eye again. I reckoned she was thinking really hard, trying to figure out how many weeks 8 days makes. Hey, if she’s local, we may’ve gone to the same high school. –inside joke for the regulars
‘We’ll have to look at the security camera footage.’
Now. Roll back a tic. I’m blithe much of the time. This is not studied. It’s because a) I’m sort of dumb b) I truly never think about doing Evil Things or almost never and when I do, it’s mischief, never Crime.
I didn’t get her gist at the time. If you’re like me and don’t tend to stay in the shadows, she was implying that I was trying to run a Con Job. For $5. I am shaking my head as I write this.
My oblique response was, ‘Oh, gosh. I’d hate for you to go to the trouble of that. That’d take a long time wouldn’t it? Hrm… … … … Then again, I want my $5.’
She repeated it would mean reviewing security camera footage a couple of times. Finally I said, ‘Can’t a manager okay it?’ I’m still not irritated. I reckon she might be my age but she’s just doing what she was told to do, you know, like people have to do at their workplace?
She rang up the MOD. She comes over, harried. Doesn’t even look at me, only at Customer Service Woman, who explains, ‘She says she paid for 2 detergents–‘
I interjected, ‘It’s on the receipt.’ She continues, ‘And says she didn’t get the gift card.’
The manager got a little more Serious looking and asked, ‘How much?’
CSW, so seriously, ‘Five dollars.’
MOD’s head visibly flipped back, like she’d been slapped. Hilarious! She got through 3/4 of an eye roll when she caught herself. ‘Give it to her.’ She tried to leave.
‘It’s only five dollars.’
‘Get her a coupon or have the checker take it off today’s purchase.’ I’m still standing there with my groceries.
CSW stomped off for I don’t know how long. During my wait, I realised that she had been implying (through multiple recitations of ‘security camera footage’) that I was a Criminal.
When she came back, ‘We don’t have any $5 coupons to give you.’
I said, ‘For the amount of time I’ve put into this today, I’m grossly underpaid at $5–‘
‘So am I.’
Wow. Now, I have to say, I was at that point irritated, hence coming out with the snotty comment but dude. Seriously. I could’ve LEFT and not had to deal with PEOPLE in QUEUES at CHRISTMASTIME. Do you think anybody in America would do this for $5?
‘I’m a regular shopper here. I don’t know your face but I can spot several workers who know me. Would that make you feel better to have them vouch that I’m here all the time? Because I don’t think a regular would come in here and try to steal $5 from Target, let alone go through This Whole Deal for it.’
‘You’d be surprised.’ She stopped off. By the way, no I wouldn’t. Twenty-four shite jobs, lady. I know how idiotic people are and sometimes I’m the idiot. I should’ve watched the teenager checking me out but I was hopped up on the fun, talking to my friend who also spent money here. Hell, look at that receipt and today’s, not for proof that I’m telling the truth but the BOTTOM LINE. I’m spending dough here. Five bucks?
When she returned, ‘I have to close down a register for this. Go over to number 6.’
I went to number 6 and the checker didn’t make eye contact. This is unusual; in the Midwest, they’ll talk about what you’re buying, the weather, your coat, whatever. I guess CSW had prepped her that I’m a Traveller.
Towards the end of ringing up my day’s purchases, she said, ‘Remind me to take $5 off. I don’t want to forget.’
In the Midwest, that’s a barb. And I do not believe I’m being Sensitive here. That was what it was.
I did the Midwestern thing and ignored the barb but went into happy-go-lucky blathering about how it had been such an ordeal over such a little thing. I wished that I had watched that young man who checked me out and shoot, had I thought, I’d have rang that night but I was talking to my friend here and then my mum at home and there you go. It’s easy to forget.
By the end, her attitude was Midwestern politesse. I guess she’d tested and found a Criminal, I’m not.
However, even though I’ve shopped there a bazillion times since it opened (Fenton) and this is ONE BAD THING, it makes me want to avoid Target. I mean, twenty minutes of BS implying that I’m a Criminal for $5 when I spend $5,000 there a year? Leaves a bad taste.
Stepping back, the whole thing is ridiculous. The proper response is what the MOD did: a head loll and eye roll.
It’s $5. I had the receipt. The gift card would’ve been on the receipt if I’d received it and it wasn’t on there. Target Missed.
You can check the bloody security camera footage. I’m still not a Criminal.