ED Magedson – Founder
Babies R Us12012 Cherry Hill Road Silver Spring, Maryland United States of America
Went here to register for baby items. Registered for the Double Snap n Go Stroller ($100, from Baby Trend) and several jars of Desitin Ointment (Note: the OINTMENT), among other items. After our baby shower, I decided to take advantage of a gift card in combo with a 20% off Memorial Day Coupon, and get the Stroller for $80 with the certificate and a little of my own cash.
I had to request assistance finding it, because there was a big hole on the shelf where the stroller used to be. The sales associate kept questioning me, incredulous that I a) wanted a *Double*, b) that Baby Trend even sold a double, c) that I'd registered for it at BRU, and d) that I'd seen at at THIS SPECIFIC BRU. His incredulous attitude might derail some people into questioning their own short-term memory, but not me. I reassured him I knew what I was talking about, and asked for help finding it, and he ran off to locate it, leaving me at the registry desk.
Surprise surprise, they'd JUST sold the last one, per his "manager". I asked him to look online to see if it was available nearby. Surprise again, not one BRU or TRU in the entire state had the stroller, and it was "Unavailable" on their website. He then suggested I try shopping for that item at Buy Buy Baby!
You can find many, many complaints online about TRU/BRU pulling best sellers right before a big sale, so you can't use the coupon on big-ticket items like the Wii.
I went back a few days later to take advantage of the 4-for-3 promotion on baby ointment, and again, surprise! After the sales associate couldn't locate it, he left me at the Registry desk, and went off to "Look in the back". Before he returned, another associate came and sat in his chair. As soon as he returned, he basically handed me off to her.
Her response? They didn't sell the specific one *I* wanted, probably never had! I got the run around from both associates who tried to convince me that the object I wanted was the Desitin Paste. She reluctantly checked online again at my request, and said "See, when we look up this item number, it comes up in the store as the paste (purple lid), not that" (as pictured, clearly labeled online "OINTMENT -- HYPOALLERGENIC" with the Dark blue lid).
They tried to convince me it was all the same basic product, that despite having a recent delivery of that product, it was the purple lidded one they'd received and had in stock, and came up in the system as that item number. This is the definition of bait-and-switch. The Rapid Relief Rash CREAM was the (light) blue-lid -- didn't I want that one?
Then she suggested if I really wanted the Ointment, I should try Target next door!
It's probably all handed down from corporate. Don't believe it? Check out the 15+ years of anti-trust cases for price-fixing against BRU and TRU. They fix the price so only they can sell it at bargain basement prices, then they can't discount their own cheap-cheap price. In my opinion, they then pull the item completely or bait-and-switch if they can. Read about the antitrust case: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125573656435491057.html
Deconstructing my two very similar experiences (albeit with different associates) at the same store, here's what I think they train their employees to do in such cases:
1. Briefly attempt to help the shopper locate the item ("lemme check") (hopefully they'll disappear after 5+ minutes waiting)
2. Repeatedly express incredulity, or question the shopper repeatedly (to attempt to convince the shopper she herself is wrong, thus getting rid of the problem).
3. Call in reinforcements: "My manager said..." or have an actual person come provide backup.
4. Blame Corporate or the "system" for a mistake (such as the mislabeled item number), explaining that clearly the way things are now is the way things are, and they are helpless to change it.
5. Attempt to persuade you to buy another item.
6. Suggest they shop for the item elsewhere. (!)
Both my shopping experiences were nearly identical in all these respects.
My advice to you should you encounter these practices: Be firm, be sure of yourself, and question their practices. Also, you might try what I am planning:
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/02/2010 01:29 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Babies-R-Us/Silver-Spring-Maryland-20904/Babies-R-Us-Toys-R-Us-Fraudulent-Business-Practices-Silver-Spring-Maryland-609625. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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