I love Target. I hate idiots. Tonight, the two crossed paths.
|Take me home.|
Mrs. P and I went over to Target to look for a pair of gloves (mine got covered with broken glass when this happened) and to check out the marked-down Valentine's Day candy. As we strolled through the aisles of the grocery department, we came across a display of plush Coca-Cola polar bears. These little characters were playfully stuffed into a two-tiered cardboard shelf with a large red and white sign on the front explaining how you can bring one of them home. Quite simply, all you need to do is purchase any of the qualifying products in a quantity of three and you'll be one plush polar bear richer. Of course, you could buy thirst-quenching Coca-Cola in an 8 pack of 12 ounce bottles, a 6 pack of 8 ounce bottles (the nifty glass ones!) or an 8 pack of 7.5 ounce cans. Another option, according to the official sign, was to buy three 12 ounce bags of Hershey's candy — that's right — Hershey's. I was not aware of any corporate connection between the manufacturer's of Milton Hershey's and ol' Doc Pemberton's respective comestible legacies, but Target was making the rules, not me. We read and re-read the sign and then my wife grabbed three bags of Reese's Cups and three bags of Rolos and two plush bears. We carefully checked the net weight on each bag and decided that we had fulfilled the offer's requirements.
With a full cart (how'd that happen?), we headed to the checkout area. I dutifully placed each of our potential purchases on the conveyor belt, keeping like items together — boxes of pasta, frozen foods, jugs of iced tea. The last items to be tallied were the plush bears and the candy. Our cashier scanned the bags — each ringing up at $2.49 —and then she scanned the bar-coded tag that was attached to the little fella's ear. The cash register monitor lit up with a big $9.99.
Mrs. P spoke up. "Those are free with the purchase of three 12 ounce bags of Hershey candy. There's a sign that says so."
The cashier scanned the items again with the same result. "It would say that there's somethin' free on th' screen," she said, "if these are free an' it ain't sayin' nothin'." She called Arturo, the front end supervisor, for assistance. Arturo and his necktie (the sign of a supervisor at Target) made their way over. He hefted a bag of Reese's Cups and examined it as though it was a newly discovered dinosaur fossil, turning it over several times in his hand. Once again, my wife explained the offer, this time to Arturo. He listened, although his expression was one of befuddlement. He snapped the transmit button on his store-issued walkie-talkie and repeated "Market! Come in!" until a reply crackled back.
"Check the Coca-Cola polar bears. Lady says you buy three and get a free bear. Check the candy aisle," he said into the walkie-talkie, "What's the sign say?"
"They're in the soda aisle," my wife corrected.
Without getting confirmation from his "scout in the grocery department," Arturo informed us that these candies were not included and they were not on sale. Clearly, he was clueless about the store's inventory, layout, and promotional offers. Again, Mrs. P slowly and concisely reiterated the offer to Arturo.
Just so there is no confusion, let's pause our story to recap the actual offer that caught our attention and piqued our interest. First, there was the sign on the display.
Yep, they are both Hershey products and they each tip the scales at 12 ounces. We bought three bags of Rolo and three bags of Reese's Cups. So far, so good.
Finally, my wife went back to the actual display, although Arturo insisted that he could not leave the front of the store. Another Target associate would meet Mrs. P to validate her claim. My wife was met by a young lady who identified herself as a manager (outranking a mere supervisor). Together they read the sign on the display, confirming the offer.
The manager asked my wife who was giving her a hard time at the cash register. She said it was a young man.
"Was he about this tall?," the manager asked, cutting the air with the palm of her hand at about chin level.
"About.," Mrs. P answered.
"Was he wearing a red shirt?," she continued her line of questioning.
My wife cocked her head to one side. "You are all wearing red shirts!"
"Was he wearing a tie?"
"Yes," Mrs. P said, "He was."
"Arturo!," the manager exhaled and rolled her eyes. Via walkie-talkie, the manager contacted the cashier and authorized the "free bear with qualifying purchase" deal.
When Mrs. P arrived back at the checkout area, Arturo had conveniently "gone on break."
(* A footnote to this tale: two different customers stopped me and asked if I worked in the store.)