Friday, December 17, 2010

Why Jo-Ann Fabrics is dead to me

As promised from yesterday, Jo-Ann Fabrics - Round 2. 

Lucky for me, I am a not so closet paper hoarder.  (The shame.)  I can never decide what paperwork to keep, what to throw away ... and it ends up in piles (which my husband hates).  Not the kind of piles you see on the show Hoarders mind you, but stacks of crap here & there none the less.  

I never expected more than 9 months later to find the yellow carbon copy I was given when I signed up for the knitting classes.  I searched on and off for a few days and low and behold, it was in a box with a bunch of other random things. 

Thursday (one week and one day after my Last unsuccessful visit to the store), I dropped the Big Guy off at school and the twins and I made it to Jo-Ann Fabrics just after 10am.  I plunked my yellow carbon copy on the service desk and was happy to see the girl I was told I needed to speak with happened to be standing there.  I explained who I was, that my sister in law and I had been waiting nearly a YEAR on our second knitting class... and she looked at me and said that yes, she did remember us. 

This is great! I thought.  Finally someone who can help us.

I told her how last week I was in and asked for a refund - that store credit was FINE with me even though I had paid cash - and I was told not only were there no notes in the course book (as she had previously assured me there would be), but that the girl told me there was no way she could look me up without the receipt.  I explained how that surprised me since here I had a CARBON COPY of what they have.

I paused a moment and waited for her to look surprised... but she didn't.  Without even looking at me she took the paper and said that the person who told me that was exactly right.  She flipped over the attached receipt and pointed out how the back has a 90 day return policy and this is very much past the 90 days and they 'purge the system'.  She went on to say that because I had found my copy she could look it up and while she was supposed to issue a credit (which I had already stated was fine with me) she would be able to help me out by putting in an over ride on the system to give me my cash.  And she actually acted like she was doing me this huge favor.

When it didn't work, she called up a manager to help her.  And the boys and I waited. 

In the meantime I asked what my sister in law was supposed to do, that I did not think she still had her copy.  She told me there was nothing that they could do for her without it now that we were past 90 days.  Either she finds the paperwork or she can not have a refund.  She then thought for a moment and asked if my sister in law works during the day, that she could do her a favor (a favor!) by just telling the instructor to take her on for no charge in a knitting social one day. 

Seriously?!

Seriously!

We signed up for a class to learn to knit baby hats - as something to do together.  Why would she want to sit at a knitting social by herself.  She works during days anyway!  I politely explained that she works days and that I think at this point, after waiting NINE MONTHS for a class that ever took place, we were both pretty much done with this and that she would just want her money back.  Again, she said she would need her receipt then.

When the other girl (manager, whoever she was) Finally came up I watched them make eye contact with each other.  No words were spoken.  Neither of them looked at me.  She keyed something in and walked away.  Not.a.single.word

I was handed my cash back and asked to sign a form for the return and that was it.  I took my original carbon copy with me and off I went.  Furious.  The poor Bunny Bee and Doodle Bop were so confused.  I had promised them I would buy a gingerbread house for us to make after that (with the refund).  No boys I said, we are not buying anything here.

I took my boys - and my money - down the street to AC Moore.  Where surprise surprise, the same Wilton gingerbread house was even Cheaper than at Jo-Ann Fabrics!  And there we spent our money.

This whole experience has left a very sour taste in my mouth.  I have shopped at Jo-Ann Fabrics since I was a very young teenager - with the babysitting money I would make from watching neighborhood kids.  That's right, if you want to do the math I have been shopping at this company for about 20 years (wow that hurts to say... twenty... am I old enough for that?  Good God).

What kind of customer service is this?!  It's not like my sister in law and I purchased some yarn and nearly a year later we were trying to return it without the receipts.  At one point as a teenager I worked at Cohoes (when it was more upscale than it is now) and it sickened me that we had to take just about anything and everything back.  Some lady dressed to the nines would literally bring in a sweater from 2 seasons ago she had clearly worn and washed (several times), no receipt and want a return.  And she would Get One.  It even happened once with pantyhose!  I swear to you. 

My point is yes, I totally agree with return policies.  Someone shouldn't get to use a product, or even just keep it forever and then decide they didn't really want it after all, and expect their money back - or a new product.  This situation with Jo-Ann Fabrics though, I really take an issue with.

We signed up together on March 13, 2010 for two knitting classes.  Knitting 101 so we could learn how to knit in the first place, and Knitting 102 to learn to make baby hats.  The classes were scheduled to take place on March 31 and April 1.  I couldn't even tell you the date we actually took the first class, but it was at least a month later because we received a call that there were not enough people to take the 1st class and it was being postponed until they had more. 

When we did take that first class, it was not the best experience, but we were still looking forward to the second class.  Again we received a call that there were not enough people to take the class and we could have our money refunded or we could wait for the next class.  We asked to wait (never crossing our minds it would be more than a few weeks wait).  We were told the book would be noted and at the very next opening we would be contacted.

Spring turns to fall, then it's the summer.  It's now the very end of FALL and nearly a year has gone by since we signed up for the classes - and really?  This is how things work?!  My sister in law and I made up TWO of the THREE people we were told they need to have a class.  In nearly a year no one else has ever signed up?  Why take our money?  I made a point of asking yesterday while I was waiting for the refund.  Does this happen all the time?  People paying for classes and not getting them?

The girl looked at me and so "Oh no, only with the knitting and crocheting classes".  So they know this happens.  And yet I had to jump through hoops to get my money back and as things stand right now, my sister in law is just out of luck.

Crazy.  Infuriating.

Jo-Ann Fabrics is now on my banned list.  (Ask my husband about that one.)  That's right, it's BANNED.  It saddens me to say that after 20 years of being a loyal customer, I will not set foot in that store again.  They will not get any further money from me.  I feel terrible for my sister in law, because she shouldn't be out the money she paid.  It doesn't matter that it was only $20.  It's the entire principle.

That's right, Jo-Ann Fabrics is dead to me.  And I would not recommend to anyone signing up for classes there.  Ever.

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