Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen, What a (Poor) Difference A Year Makes--Target.com
Written: Dec 22, 2001 (Updated Dec 14, 2002)
After years of loyal Target shopping, and 4 years of Target employment in my teens, I can't tell you how it pains me to write the following:
"I will never shop at Target.com again!"
You see, I love Target, I'd go there every other day if I could, hating to miss a deal. As you can see from my original review from about this time last year (posted below in entirety), I loved this site, and up until the month of October, continued to love the site, but now they've dropped the ball twice on me, and
I can take a hint, they don't love me anymore. It's time to move on.
What Happened To Customer Service?
Perhaps it's their partnership with the cursed Amazon.com or perhaps a year just makes a company indifferent to consumer's concerns. Whatever the reason, within the last year Target.com has changed, and not for the better.
Customer service is non-existent. Problems with my last two orders (because I went back for more punishment after the first problem) were totally ignored and met with canned, computer responses.
In-Stock Or Not??
My recent October order consisted of several items, one seasonal for Halloween and some chenille pillows and throws on sale, but out of stock at my local store. All items showed as in stock and available for immediate shipping. After my order was placed I waited and waited, and then waited some more. What happened to my 7-10 day delivery window? Here's a summary:
-Ordered 10/10, promised delivery window of 10/17-10/18 given.
-Contacted customer service repeatedly and finally got response on 10/26, 1 week after items should have been received.
-First part of order, Halloween item, ships on 10/28!!
-Second part of order ships on 11/9. One month later!
For my troubles I got a $10.00 gift certificate, and I did indeed go back for more punishment. Did I mention I'm a slow learner?
Was My Second Recent Order Any Better?
My next order was in December, albeit early December for a gift card. This ended up being an order for 3 gift cards, because they didn't have the increment I needed. The cards all shipped separately and arrived on two separate days, late of course. Hey, at least they're consistent!
Will I Go Back-
Not for all the piddly $10.00 gift certificates in the world. It's not worth the aggravation, really.
For Better Or (Much, Much) Worse-Amazon's Partner-
Ever since Target merged partnerships with the ever-growing Amazon empire, you'll notice their site is much more cluttered and busy, with almost too many links to the associated partner merchants, among them Field's, Mervyn's, and the rest of the Amazon regulars.
The search function still yields great results, albeit a bit confusing as they'll bring up results for the whole site, and not just Target
The whole site has that Amazon look, so if you like that, you'll love Target.com's shopping interface.
The Bottom Line in 2002-
I no longer trust Target.com for delivering the goods in a timely manner. I no longer feel like they care about a long time customer and credit card holder, and they will not have my online business again. Of course I can't swear them off entirely, being a "Targeteer" in my formative youth, has made me a lifelong clearance shopper, but I'll save my shopping for the real deal and leave the website to the more adventurous among us.
This Christmas all my 5 year old wanted from Santa was the new Rescue Heroes Aquatic Command Center. He was desperate to have it, and I was desperate to pay less than the $80.00 suggested price. I saw this toy on sale right after Thanksgiving for $69.99 but scoffed, surely it would go down. Week after week I opened my Sunday papers and not only did it not go down below $69.99, I couldn't even find it at that price. I was a Mom getting desperate until 3 weeks ago. Target finally had this on sale for $53.99. I knew it, I knew it, I was doing my smug and happy dance (quite a sight I'm sure). But wait, my local Target didn't actually have it in stock! The horror, not my Target, and not the 6 other Target stores in the area!! What is the last minute Mom to do? Then (insert the blinking lightbulb over my head here). I decided to check out Target.com! Sure enough, they had it, and in stock to boot.
I found ordering my item to be a fairly simple process with one exception. The user needs to register at the site with the basic billing, and shipping information as well as a user name and password. I was pleasantly surprised when inputting my billing information to find that Target.com was offering a 10% discount to AOL users, the promotion was noted on their page. So now my purchase dropped down to $48.59 Shipping was a VERY reasonable $6.95. This is quite remarkable considering that the box it came in is enormous. No extra fees charged here. Another pleasant surprise that I am still puzzling over it the sales tax of only $.45. My state (WA) does charge sales tax of 8.something%. Now I'm not complaining merely curious. Upon completing my order, I was told that a confirmation would be mailed immediately, so I waited and waited and well you get the idea, no confirmation was coming. I logged into my new Target.com user account to see if I could track the order that way, but it didn't recognize me as a user. Now, I was wondering if my order didn't take for some reason. The customer service number was prominently displayed and after a minimal wait time, a helpful customer service rep. confirmed my order was indeed in their system. She gave me an order number and explained that the system was handling high volume at that time.
I was glad I had held up on replacing the order, since it had indeed taken the first time, I would have had two orders.
Target.com promises delivery within 7-10 days. My item came in exactly at 7 days delivered USPS by my grumpy postman in a HUGE box, that concealed the item. Very important since I had an EToys delivery last year that just came plain without wrapping. It's rather hard to explain to a curious 5 year old why Santa had the mailman bring his present two weeks early in a big white truck. Thankfully it's a discussion we were able to avoid.
Target.com accepts, Visa, MC, Discover, AMEX, Mervyn's, Dayton's Hudson's, Marshall Fields, and Target's own Visa and gift cards. Quite a nice variety.
Target.com has too many great features to fully cover, but I thought I'd list a few of my favorites for you to browse.
--Registries, both baby and marriage. I have a shower to attend next weekend and I have just done my first registry order. They will ship to either you or the recipient.
--Online order tracking.
--Varied shipping and rush delivery options. Prices calculated by item's price and not weight. No wonder I got a deal.
Check them out at www.Target.com or AOL keyword Target
All in all, I would recommend Target.com to others looking for items not available in stores, or to take advantage of the AOL discount. Their shipping is quite reasonable compared to other online merchants. With the exception of the delay in the order confirmation it was smooth sailing and I look forward to getting my friend's shower gift very soon.
Thanks for reading. :)
Comments always appreciated.