TARGET prints a weekly national ad that is inserted into Sunday newspapers across the country and are prominently displayed near their retail store entrances.
The week of 29 September through 04 October 2008, on page 9 are the TARGET DVD Tuesday promotions, featuring g the first release of Iron Man on DVD and Blu-ray disc.
There are pictures of two TARGET exclusive editions, both confusingly similar in appearance. One is a two-disc "Deluxe" DVD collector's edition and the other is a Blu-ray Ultimate collector's edition. Both versions feature an exclusive Iron Man helmet case for their respective discs. The retail packaging of each edition is confusingly similar in appearance.
The ad includes the following text:
"Only at Target!
Blu-ray Disc and
The asterisked text, in super fine print at the bottom of the page states:
"Quantities limited, no rain checks." (more about this, below)
I don't have a Blu-ray player, so I was never interested in the TARGET exclusive Blu-ray edition.
I am very interested in the TARGET exclusive two-disc DVD "Deluxe" edition (item # 058-17-1391); so much so, that, on DVD Tuesday, I drove 24 miles, to three "nearby" TARGET stores in an effort to purchase one unit. By 12 noon, none of the stores still had any units of item # 058-17-1391 in stock.
Judging from the shelf and end cap space allocated to the exclusive "Deluxe" DVD and the exclusive Blu-ray versions in the "mask packaging," it appeared that the ratio of DVD to Blu-ray stocked was 1-to-3; which I thought was odd, since DVD continues to generally outsell Blu-ray by at least 3-to-1 in my area.
If TARGET wanted to *maximize* sales, it should have stocked in the opposite proportions in my area. In fact, there were many copies of the TARGET exclusive Blu-ray units still on the shelves and end caps at all of the TARGET stores I visited.
No store associate at any of the stores was willing to find out whether or not and, if so, when item # 058-17-1391 would be restocked. This lack of service drove me to call the 800 numbers, where I was eventually directed to the TARGET Customer Experience line at 800-440-0680.
[ When you call the TARGET Customer Experience number, you may always asked to be transferred to North America. This is very important, because the call centers in India are a) culturally clueless about details like popular DVD titles newly released in the United States and b) repeatedly dispense wildly inaccurate, if not flat out useless, information. Be aware that North America does not answer the phones on the weekends, though. ]
I called into TARGET Customer Experience on DVD Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday (stuck in the hold queue for >40 minutes), Sunday (05 October) and Monday (06 October). All on the same case number, starting Wednesday. My call on DVD Tuesday, that went to India, was a complete waste of my time, because no case number was generated from the start.
At first, TARGET Customer Experience had a very difficult time confirming the item #; but I was eventually assured that this was the correct item #, that the item was still "current," that more units were already being shipped to the same stores that I had visited, but that there was no way to know, at all, when the units would arrive in any of the stores. As of 06 October, none of the stores had been resupplied.
The national database also contained errors about the item still being in stock at two stores, one that I had visited and another store nearly 34 miles away from me (68 miles round trip!!!). My direct calls to the manager of those two stores confirmed that no units of the item I wanted were really in stock. I also revisited all three stores again on Sunday, 05 October, and confirmed that only the TARGET exclusive Blu-ray units were in stock at those stores. One store associate tried to get me to buy a TARGET exclusive Blu-ray edition, even though I had already explained that I do not own a Blu-ray disc player, just for the mask disc case.
(I know of people who *accidentally* bought the Blu-ray version, not realizing that it was higher priced and not the DVD edition. When they got home, broke the shrink wrap and tried to play the Blu-ray disc in a a standard DVD player, they found themselves in TARGET Return Merchandise hell. I don't ever buy anything with a premeditated intention of returning it for something else later on. I only buy what I need/want and refuse to play any games.)
On Monday, 06 October, no units I wanted were still in stock in any of the nearby stores, or even in the store 34 miles away. Once again, I was told that the item is still "current," was already en route to the various stores in question, but with absolutely no estimated time of arrival at any store.
I asked TARGET Customer Experience to grant me a raincheck on one unit at the original promotional price of US$22.99, for whenever the item became available in-store.
My request was flatly denied by a "supervisor" at TARGET Customer Experience.
When I asked to escalate the matter within TARGET, I was told that I had to write to an encoded PO Box address for TARGET Executive Officers. When I asked for a phone number to call to speak with TARGET Executive Officers, I was told that there was no such number to call.
I then called into the main number for TARGET CHQ at 612-304-6073. While navigating the voice menu maze on that number, I was presented with an option to leave a voice message for TARGET corporate officers. When I made that selection, I was transferred back to the exact same supervisor, in TARGET Customer Experience, who had told me my only recourse was to write a letter.
This time, when I told the supervisor that I chose the option at CHQ to leave a voice message for TARGET executive officers, she put me through to that voice mailbox, where I left a message requesting a callback.
The problem is not one of "limited quantities," but one of *deliberately constrained supplies*, stuck in the Twilight Zone of TARGET retail distribution.
TARGET never stocked the item I wanted in reasonably sufficient quantities for a *nationally advertised* and specially priced/promoted item. The whole idea was to generate in-store traffic, understock exclusive DVD units, overstock exclusive Blu-ray units, and bait-and-switch DVD customers with the lesser DVD versions that could also be purchased at Costco, at a lower price than TARGET's.
This much is TARGET.
This much is Old School fraud.
San Francisco Peninsula, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on TARGET