Blogger Widgets

Me vs JCPenney

Where to even start on this?  I had an awful shopping experience at JCPenney in Exton, PA yesterday.  It was probably the worst I've had since my teens.

I'm gonna step back quite a bit here first.  In the early '70s, one of my grandfathers died.  He was only 43.  My grandmother was 45, a widow with two kids.  My mother was 17 and my uncle was 10. (I'm not completely sure I have their ages right, but it was around there.)  My grandmother supported the family with her new job at....JCPenney.  She worked there for well over a decade, getting a lifetime discount.  The chain was a real (if somewhat minor) part of my family's history.  Every winter coat, all the school clothes, bedding, xmas gifts, and many other things for my sister and me came from Penney's and there was always a catalog on my grandmother's coffee table.  I haven't shopped there much as an adult, but I have plenty of childhood memories of their King Of Prussia, PA store.  If it was any other brand I'd probably just have walked out in a huff, because I could have gotten this at plenty of other places. what's "this"?  I went in to the Exton Penney's for two polishes from OPI's new Germany collection, German-icure by OPI and Every Month Is Oktoberfest.  Nothing I 'had to have', but two I've seriously wanted since the first swatches came out...before that even, when I saw the promos I got my hopes up...and OPI reeeeaaallly delivered.  They're gorgeous, and I'd heard JCPenney always has BOGO50% on OPI.  Now...when I say "I went in"...if only it had been that easy.  I got to the mall at 10:01, and another customer was waiting at the exterior doors.  No big deal...someone would be over imminently, right?  After a minute or two, we looked at each other and wondered out loud about the opening hours for the mall, and she wandered off.  I checked on my phone. 10am.  Hmm. sign of anyone inside at all.  Off to the mall entrance.  ...the gate was still down.  10:07 by then.  Having worked in many mall stores, I know they're risking a fine any moment unless there's a good reason, so I called.
"JCPenney, Exton"
" your store supposed to be open at 10?"
"Ok, because I'm standing at the entrance and the gate's down."
"(sigh) Yeah.  I'll come unlock it."
...that was....kinda bitchy.  So he moseys his way over, opens the gate, and I come in.  Other people who had been waiting had wandered off by then. This store is being remodeled, so it's a  That's no excuse for the way some of it looked.  There was....mustard?...on one of the mannequins and its clothing.  Sloppy....and since the store had just (finally!) opened, it must have been there since the day before.  Gross. Making my way to the typical salon location....the escalators weren't even on!  Wow....just wow.  So, starting to disgruntle a little, I walk up the closer escalator...which they were nice enough to turn on after I'd gotten off at the top, and not while I was mid-way.  I wasn't even sure which it was, up or down.  No signs for the salon anywhere, but that's not unusual for them.  They're always upstairs, near the bathroom, photography studio, etc, right?  ...right?  Not this one.  Luckily the photography associate saw me looking confused and told me, in really perfect detail, how to get there.  At this point, I've been near or in the store for over 10 minutes, and I still haven't even seen a bottle of polish.

The salon was exactly where she said it would be.  Cool.  It's the cleanest part of the store, spotless.  Right there on the counter...there it was, OPI's Germany collection!  The stylist was with a customer, but still yelled over to me to ask if I needed help.  I told her I knew what I wanted and she didn't have to hurry.  She didn't.  The phone started ringing....and kept ringing for what started to feel like an eternity.  I was half-tempted to answer it, just to not have to hear it.  I asked her if the OPI was BOGO50%, and she said no, it was $6 when you buy two or more.  Oh!  That's better than BOGO50% at $8.50, like I was expecting!  I spent a few moments looking at the other OPI's, over with the hair products.  Confirmed!  There were little stickers all over the place advertising the pricing, $8 or $6 each for 2.  Awesome!  She eventually came over and rang me up.  Problem!  They rang up as $8 each.  I told her the sign didn't have any exceptions.  She didn't get what I meant.  I explained it didn't say "except new collection" or anything.  She insisted they were $8 each and said "sorry".  I said "nevermind" and walked Customer Service.  The guy there...I don't know if he was half-asleep or stoned or just or what.
"'s just taken me 15 minutes to not buy what I wanted," and I tell him about the late opening, the salon being unfindable without help, and the price dispute.
Blank stare.
"...there's nothing you can do about this?"
"I don't know."
"So...there's really nothing you can do?"
"I don't know."
Clearly.  I believed him.  By this point, had it been any other store, one that I had no history with, I'd have left.  When I have any shopping experience that's bad enough, I'll call customer service.  If the salespeople are very rude, useless, etc, I think the management should know about it.  I usually do it on my way to another store.  Not this time.  I went and sat on one of the chairs out in the mall and placed my call.  I explained everything that had happened, and the customer service associate told me that if it was something they sold online, she'd be able to honor the price and ship it.  She was friendly and helpful and seemed genuinely disappointed by my problems in the store....why couldn't someone like her work there?  She offered to transfer me to her manager, so I spoke to her too.  She was exactly what someone in her position should be, understanding, compassionate, she was great...again, why don't people like this work IN the store?  She told me that all she could really do for me was send my complaint to the store manager.  She agreed that I should go back in and ask to speak to a manager, so I did.  The dopey "customer service" associate brought me over to her, and I told her how by this point it had taken me 40 minutes to not buy what I wanted.  She asked if the salon associate had given me a hard time, and I said no.  She'd been firm, but not rude.  I said I didn't want to make trouble for her, I only wanted them to honor the advertised price.  I also said what a dufus the customer service guy was, and she agreed!  We walked over to the salon, and she started ringing me up.  Suddenly, the stylist comes CHARGING out.  She takes one look at me, one at the manager...
stylist- "They're $8 each, not $6."
manager- "It's ok."
stylist- "But they're over here and there's no sticker! Only over there!"
me- "I spoke to customer service on the phone."
stylist- "BUT THEY'RE $8!"
glare from the manager at the stylist, I roll my eyes in the other direction and exhale loudly
stylist- "No! They're not part of it! They're $8!"
me- "Seriously?  Really?  I spoke to customer service and this (gesture to manager) is your manager!"
manager- "It's FINE!"
exasperated groan from me, as I dramatically bonk my head against my crossed wrists on the counter
manager to stylist- "Just GO!"
stylist galumphs away from the counter and the manager finishes the transaction might actually have been longer than that even.  It was surreal.  I can't believe a grown woman could be so petulant, clueless, insubordinate, and over something so small.  You shouldn't treat a stranger like that, customer or not.  I'm not sure which bothered me more, her treatment of me or of her poor manager.  I thanked the manager, apologized for my frustration, and told her I really feel sorry for her.  She seemed as amazed and offended as I was.  I really can't believe any employee would behave like that.  I put my beautiful new polishes in my purse and walked back out into the mall.  It took me around 45 minutes to buy two bottles of polish!  I could have just left at any point in this, but a combination of history and principal...I had to persist.  I also don't want anyone else to ever have to go through's unacceptable.

I worked in retail off and on for over a decade and it makes this whole escapade even more shocking to me.  This should have been handled completely differently, and the store manager should never have had to know about it.  The stylist should have apologized for the trouble and asked if I wanted to speak to a manager.  Failing that, the customer service buffoon should have said "I'm sorry, I'll get a manager".  I shouldn't have had to fight that hard for a $4 price adjustment.  Absurd.

In the afternoon, after I'd gotten home, I got a call from the store manager.  He was very pleasant and extremely apologetic.  I said I hoped no one would be fired over this, but that I was really amazed by their poor handling of the situation.  We talked for a few minutes and he joked that it was a shame I was a former sales associate because I seem like the kind of person they really need.  Not sure if it was lip service, but it was amusing.  He asked for my full name and address, because he wanted to send me a gift certificate in the hope that I'd continue to shop in his store.  That's really the best ending there could be to this ridiculous mess....but I'll probably use it in King Of Prussia.  I'll be there for the Makeupalley Nail Board meetup in a couple of weeks anyway.  I told him I'm really sorry he's got problems like that with his staff.

At least I have these beauties now...

....and a gift card on the way.  Overall, I'm disgusted with the sales and service staff experience (aside from the helpful photography associate) but very satisfied with the management and phone customer service...they really were great and did exactly what they should.


  1. Wow.. and that barely covers how I feel after your experience. You certainly handled it better than I would have.. well at least you got your lovely colors! Hope to see swatches in the near future as the colors are a bit dark in the pictures and I'm eager to see how they turn out. Hope you have better luck with customer service in the future!

    1. Thanks. :) The crazy part is that I got yelled at by a cashier at Sally Beauty a few weeks ago and at the time I called that my worst shopping experience in years. It was also unbelievable and I called customer service then too, but this completely trumps it.

      I'm so excited to try these polishes, despite all I went through to get them. They're the next thing up after the final part of the Bohemian series...and you might see them sooner on Twitter or tumblr. ;)


We love to hear from you! Your feedback, comments, compliments, questions, etc are always appreciated...especially the compliments! ;)

Please don't post a link to your own blog *unless* you're linking to a related post (same/similar technique, theme, shade, etc). If you comment using your Google account, your blogspot blog can easily be found in your profile. If you want us to check out your blog, please contact us through email or on twitter.

Spam, harassing comments, and those blatantly promoting blogs or websites will be deleted.