Friday, October 26, 2007

Boo, Hiss

...As my mother would say.

Kohl's sucks.

Allow me to elaborate: Yesterday I was doing a little shopping there, making an exchange. When I went to check out, I told the saleslady that I didn't need a bag and held up my canvas tote (as I usually do when I remember them before heading into a store...usually I forget and end up trying to carry everything back to the car in my arms without leaving a trail behind me). She looked at me very sheepishly and said that they're not allowed to let me not take a bag. I asked if I could just carry it out (it was only one item this time) with my receipt, in my hands, and she said they are required to make me take a plastic Kohl's bag. I told her that was stupid and irresponsible and I was going to complain. She got really excited and said she hoped I would and that she finds the packaging waste in that store appalling (like, when they're unpacking new merchandise for restocking), but that they won't allow employees to submit that kind of feedback. She pointed out the website on the receipt for completing an online survey about my shopping experience. She was really very nice.

I, however, was irate. When I got home, I filled out their online survey. Stupid, likert-scale online survey with no free text fields. So when I answered "definitely not" when asked if I would recommend Kohl's to others, there was no way to explain why not. The link on their website for emailing them wasn't functioning. It took me nearly 10 minutes to find an email address by which I could contact them.

I wrote them a nasty email. I warned them that I will be boycotting the store, that I have a blog on which I would relate this story, and that I would encourage my readers to boycott them as well. They wrote back (I'll give them credit for promptness) that they have no plans to change this forced plastic bag use due to security reasons. Yet, they let me walk in with the items I wanted to exchange without a receipt, walk all the way to the very back of the store where their customer service counter is...the only place you can complete a return...during which time I could have picked up anything and claimed I was returning a gift. But they won't let me walk the five feet from he checkout counter to the front door to exit, with my receipt in hand, without a plastic bag covering that "proves" I made the purchase. I'm almost tempted to go back there with the same Kohl's plastic bag and see if they let me reuse that...Almost. But not quite.

I'm not remotely being pushy about the use of fabric bags instead of plastic. I'm being pushy about being given the choice. I am pushy about the reprehensible irresponsibility this company is demonstrating. I have watched grocery store after grocery store around me in the last year switch over to selling their own cloth shopping bags with their logo emblazoned on the front. I have noticed fewer and fewer funny looks from salespeople when I decline a bag and hold up my own. Why does it seem like Kohl's is moving in the opposite direction? And, seriously, take out any environmentalist, green taint to this story for a minute: doesn't this ring a little authoritarian to you? I must take your damn plastic bag with me? I'm the one paying for the merchandise! Don't I get any say? What happened to ****ing customer service?

Sorry. Got my Scottish up again.

Please people, consider writing Kohl's your own complaint ( Consider not shopping there until they change this. I've never boycotted a company before. I've never written this kind of letter before. Maybe it's all the time I've got on my hands. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones. But I'm all kinds of riled up and they are minus one customer.


Ouiser said...


i am not happy about that either. in fact, i know that i was in kohl's a few months ago, and they let me carry my stuff out without a bag. either way, i will gladly fire off an indignant letter. i'm on board with the boycott.

Ali said...

Good for you for kicking up a fuss. Quite right!

Anonymous said...

Kohl's policy is disgusting. The whole bag issue makes me laugh often. In Boulder, generally, you don't get offered bags at stores anymore. If you need one, you have to request it. When I forget to bring my own bag, I have "bag guilt"! ~Alice

die Frau said...

Dammit...I just discovered Kohl's and love it...but I do NOT love their forced plastic-taking measures. It's not pregnancy talking; it's common sense. I'm glad you've informed us and I'll do my best!

I want to test my Kohl's to see if they make me take one.