Today I had a few errands to run, so I dared burn some gasoline to shop both at a new Target store on Curtner and another new store, a Beverages and More which opened up in the former Tower Records store on Santa Teresa Boulevard.
The Target store happened to be across the street from the Smart and Final where I was talking advantage of a diet Coke sale. (If you know my family, the fluid that flows through our veins is largely comprised on diet Coke). One of the neighborhood kids Kelly runs with is celebrating his 6th birthday on Sunday, so I had to get him a gift, and Target is my usual destination for toys.
We came across a gift that seemed to be a good fit, and it was on sale for $18, so I picked one up. On the way towards the cash registers, I also spotted a nice beach blanket. At $10, it was a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was cute and we really do need a new one.
Boy, was I ever in for a shock at the actual cash register. The amount seemed awfully high for the items I purchased, so I looked over the receipt. The $18 toy had rung up at $30, and the $10 beach blanket as $13. The clerk sent me over to customer service to straighten things out. The customer service clerk was visibly miffed. After all, normal people don’t review their receipts, and when there is an error, normal people suck it up, blaming it on some reading mistake they must have made. I was suddenly one of those freaky penny-pinchers who natter and natter.
He took my receipt and disappeared for an interminable time. Finally, he returned and told me the $18 price on the toy was due to a sale that had expired (not that I noticed any date on the price tag), but he’d deign to honor it for me. The beach blanket wasn’t $13, he informed me, but $12. I took the toy, but I wasn’t going to buy a beach blanket I knew had been marked at $10. I walked back to the section where I’d gotten the beach blanket, and the only price tags around it and the very same beach blankets were for $10. I took one of the tags back, and the customer service clerk told me 1) it didn’t match the beach blankets that were hanging there (although there were no other beach blankets hanging in the section) and 2) that the beach blanket I had belonged in a different section.
I still felt deceived. I wouldn’t have chosen the toy or the beach blanket if I’d had any information on what their real prices were; how foolish of me to think that the price tags next to the items (labeled with the names of the items) were actually accurate! He reluctantly gave me the blanket for $10, but for that I’d wasted half an hour of standing around and feeling humiliated. In any case, I won’t be going to that Target store again.
All I can say is that I’m glad my next stop was at Beverages and More. To celebrate their new store (and to get customers familiar with the new location), they’d sent out $10 off any purchase of $30 or more. Even though the store largely sells alcohol, it also has a nice selection of gourmet sodas, cocktail snacks (including gourmet cheeses), and flavored syrups. Overall, the stores have an upscale feel you might not expect in a liquor store. Beverages and More is more likely to attract the customer looking for a $25 gift cabernet or a $45 bottle of champagne instead of someone who would like cheap jug wine.
That said, the new store on Santa Teresa was especially nice. There were loads of staffers on hand to help customers find whatever they were looking for, make suggestions, and offer wine tastings. After my experience at the Curtner Target, I could have used a shot of wine, but I settled for buying Peter a nice pinot, and seeing no unpleasant bait-and-switch price surprises upon checkout.