A childish title, I’ll admit. But not nearly as ridiculous as the experience I just had at the local Staples office supply store. I patronized the store this afternoon to purchase Post-It Notes and some paper folders for this week’s Cartooning Boot Camp. Figured it would be kind of nice for the kids to have a handy place to store all of their handouts and drawings. I looked all over the store for paper folders. Finally, I find them on an end cap for a penny each. Sweet. I am a happy customer.
So I proceed to the checkout. The girl at the register begins ringing up my items, and then informs me that they will only let me buy 15 of the folders. “What would you like to do?” she asks.
“But I need thirty,” I explain. She stands by the 15 folder limit.
“Well,” I continued, “What are my options?”
“There are no options.”
Stunned for a few moments at the complete resolve in her voice and ridiculousness of the situation — I know, how crazy of me to want to give a company money in exchange for goods! — it occurs to me that they don’t want people abusing the 1¢ folder promotion. I come up with a reasonable suggestion that would put an end to this little stalemate once and for all.
“Can I pay you more for the other 15 folders?” I suggested.
“Nope.” (Apparently selling folders for $1,000 a piece is against corporate policy, too.)
“Okay,” said a now unhappy customer. “Just charge me for the 15 and I guess I’ll be back in a little bit to buy the rest.”
With that, I took my bag of Post-Its and folders and walked fifty yards across the parking lot to the grocery store, where I needed to buy a few things for dinner. Four minutes later, I found myself back at Staples with two dimes in my hand to purchase 15 more folders. (I guess I did have options, after all.)
I am still a bit stunned by how these events unfolded. Seriously. Is this what Mr. Staples had in mind when developing this little policy? To tick off honest customers? I don’t know, maybe they want to avoid some enterprising first grader from swooping in to buy three thousand folders and selling them on the Black Market for two pennies each. Certainly, there must be some really good reason for this 15 folder limit to exist, although I’m not exactly sure why.
What I am sure of is that the policy was the brainchild of an adult.
So here’s the lesson for the day: Has Adultitis crept into your company policy?
[tags]adultitis, Staples, customer service, corporate policies[/tags]