It seems that almost every big box store and many small retailers think that ordering online picking up in-store are great money-saving and time-saving ideas.
The process will certainly save you money on shipping but as for time-saving I’m convinced with rare exceptions, it’s a pretty poor plan especially when shopping at big-box stores.
My most recent purchase was a commercial shower I found online which I ordered after successfully searching for a 20% off coupon.
That made the price right and eliminated a $25 shipping charge.
Immediately after placing the order I received the email telling me that I could pick up at the Dyer (Indiana) Ace Hardware on Wednesday, October 23.
I had an early morning meeting at the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce that morning so I figured I would drive west on Route 30 into Dyer for pickup.
I called The Ace having a printout of the order in my hand to inquire as to what time I could pick up.
“We don’t see anything here Mr. Rezman,” said the bewildered young woman who answered the phone “but let me transfer you to someone else who might be more helpful.”
“We don’t see anything here Mr. Rezman,” said the second not so helpful employee.
“It’s probably too big to ship UPS or FedEx or what might be a few extra days” he went on to say.
I responded that “as an everyday shipper for 17 years I looked at the box dimensions and was certain that either FedEx or UPS would, in fact, deliver the unit.”
I didn’t travel too far south when I got the call from Ace indicating that the package had in fact just arrived.
“Great, I’ll be there in 20 minutes,” I exclaimed with relief.
I came in through the front door and jokingly said to the cashier “I’m here to take a shower.”
With no sense of humor, she wryly said: “Drive around back and they will load you up.”
I navigated around the small strip mall and easily found the shipping and receiving door.
The boys were waiting for me.
I said nothing as they negotiated the 6-foot long x 33 inch wide X 3 inch tall into the back of my Ford Escape with the words “this end up” at the end of the downward slope the box was forced to take while the far end rested on top of the passenger side seatback.
I took a deep breath and said nothing.
Not too shabby an experience but I’d like to take you back a month or more when I ordered a couple of small box fans from Walmart in Merrillville, Indiana.
I placed the order online and the system indicated I needed to pick the units up within seven days.
Once I found the online pickup area it was clear that the eight waiting seats were taken and three or four other people were milling about all waiting for their in-store pickups and of course most tapping on their not so smartphones.
I pushed the button that was supposed to magically summon an employee who eventually showed up and said that “I needed to have my not so smartphone so they could get the barcode.”
“I left my phone in the car, but with my Indiana driver’s license as identification I can pick up the package, right,” I asked?
“No, but you have 10 people in front of you so that’s plenty of time to get your phone” which was to her I’m sure, a very logical response.
I headed home.
Catherine and I showed up a couple of days later while running errands in Merrillville.
I was one of three people (not including Catherine) in the waiting area, all of us now with our phones in hand.
A Walmart employee promptly scanned the barcode from my Gmail and said: “I’ll be right back”.
12 minutes later someone showed up with our two fans.
“Never again, we could have walked in the store, gone to the shelf and been out in five minutes,” I said to Catherine as we left the store.
Fast-forward to three weeks later and I’m in the middle of a project where I realize that if I buy a single 14″ x 36″ wire rack I can create a rollable cart because I had all the other parts.
Note mismatched posts from a former file folder rack.
I stumbled on the lone 14 X 36 wire shelf while organizing the basement.
Knowing I was to be at Menard’s in a couple of days I “ordered online to pick up in-store.”
Acclimated to this Menard’s quite well I planned my shopping strategy by starting at the pickup station in the back of the store leading out to the lumberyard one of my planned department destinations.
Another gentleman was waiting and I asked him how long he had been there.
“Five or six minutes,” he curtly replied.
“Have you requested for anyone to show up?” I queried.
“No” (he was the broody silent type)
I walked over to the building materials department and requested somebody to come and help us.
Another five minutes later the man in front of me was led by a Menard’s employee who apparently was about to help him load enough materials to build a small home.
There I am waiting again so I returned to the building materials department making another request for a live human.
Five-minutes later. a young man approached and apologized saying “I thought you were with the other guy.”
“Nope, I’m solo and here’s my printed paperwork order,” I spoke as I handed him a three-page printout.
He looked at it, walked around the big yellow 20,000-pound capacity forklift (I’ve owned forklifts, I know these things) and got on it.
I’m thinking he misread the order and must think I too am building a small house.
But no, the big yellow lifting machine which only went back and forth for about 100 feet, drove to the end of its track and returned with my 2-pound package.
You can’t make this sh*t up.
I’ll be having my stuff delivered or do my shopping in stores from now on because I have better things to do than wait for the stuff I just spent good money on.
“Beware the fury of a patient man”.
Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing