Alternately Titled: The Curse of the Book Club Membership
So yesterday, I went to Books-A-Million here in Acworth (3372 North Cobb Parkway) to get the three books I’ve been drooling over this past week. I found the books easily enough (they were new releases) but, as usual, I had problems at the checkout.
But before I get into details, it’s time for a quick bitch about the setup of BAM stores. They don’t have those neat little kiosks where you can look yourself to see if a book is in stock and where it is located. Borders stores have those and they’re fabulous. Even better, you can check online to see if a book is in stock at Borders even before you step foot in the store. It’s brilliant! But no, at BAM stores, you have to flag down an employee who will then look for the book on a computer at the customer service desk.
I suppose, with a staff that excels at customer service, this would be no problem. But the BAM store here in Acworth has some issues. The store is never tidy. The shelves are never in any particular order; unless it’s a hardback or a new release, you’re lucky to find a book in the right genre. On top of that, the employees don’t seem to care if you find the book you’re looking for or not. And forget about asking them to look something up on the computer. Perhaps they need to be trained better on the computer system, or perhaps the computers are really slow, but asking an employee to look for something on the computer at the Acworth BAM is like watching water erode rock one drop at a time… in slow motion.
In March, I went to buy The Warrior Dietat the Acworth BAM. After spending a good 30 minutes in the diet section looking for the book and after 10 minutes looking for an employee on the sales floor, I gave in and stood in line to ask an employee for help. Oh, there wasn’t a great line at the customer service counter; there was no one, not even an employee at the customer service counter. So I stood in a long line behind customers waiting to pay.
After finally getting to an employee, I asked the woman if she would check to see if The Warrior Diet was even in stock.
She replied, “You looked in the diet section?”
“I couldn’t find it. I looked, but I’m not sure if I have the author’s name right or even if I’m looking in the right place. So if you could check to see if it’s even in stock, I’d appreciate it.”
“You couldn’t find it?”
Didn’t I just tell her I couldn’t find it? “Nope.”
“Then we don’t have it.”
Yeah, she flatly refused to look and see if there was any point in my continuing to search for the book. Pissed, I left the store, vowing never to return.
But I did. Here’s the thing: the Acworth BAM is the closest bookstore to home and is by far the easiest to get in and out of, traffic-wise. I mean, I love Borders and Barnes & Noble and Walden Books, but they’re in or around Town Center Mall in Kennesaw, which is a bitch to get in and out of, traffic-wise. And BAM is near Super Wal-Mart, Super Target, Michael’s and Taco Bell.
So yesterday morning I decided to give Acworth BAM another shot.
Now, I’m not a member of any of those store membership “discount” programs. In my experience, they’re more trouble than they’re worth and I have no intention of joining one. I’ve found that the best way to deflect the membership club sales pitch from a salesperson eager to sell you a store club membership is to respond firmly and nicely when asked if you are a member, “No, I’m not a member. I don’t want to join. Thanks.”
And that’s what I did.
She responded, “Are you sure? It’s only $15.”
“I’m sure. Thanks.” I smiled and swiped my credit card.
“On November 8th, the price will be $20. You’ll save $5 by joining now.”
I smiled again, a little less friendly, with a little less teeth. “No thanks. I don’t want to join.”
But she was chirpily insistent, “You’ll save $6 off of your purchase today if you join. So if you join today, it’ll only cost $9.”
I gave her my Anita Blake dead eyes face, “I’m not joining now. I’m not joining later. Do you need to do something to finish the sale or is the computer slow today?”
Gawd, she was still chirpily happy to press the issue.”The computer’s fine. Are you sure you don’t want to join? It’s not much.”
I’d had enough. I said flatly, “I can go to Borders for these books.” I looked for the CANCEL button on the credit card machine thingie.
She laughed as flakey women do when they don’t get a joke. Then she looked at me and I guess she realized that I wasn’t joking. Whatever she had to do to finish the sale, she did. The rest of the transaction passed in silence.
You know, I realize that those salespeople have quotas they have to meet for those store membership clubs. But they don’t have to be so damn persistent over it. Usually, after two refusals, they get it. But this little pushy chippy yesterday morning was the last in a loooong string of poor customer service at that particular BAM.
And yeah, I’ve learned my lesson. When I need a bookstore, I’ll be treking into the Town Center Kennesaw area to get to one. Acworth Books-A-Million isn’t worth the trouble you get from the employees.