Saturday, August 1, 2015

No, I Don't Want A Target Credit Card

I've been saying this for a while now: Most big businesses at some point have just dropped all pretense of caring about their customers in the name of short term profit.

Today I was in Target just grabbing a couple of quick items. The two people in front of me didn't have much either, but it took 20 minutes to checkout because all of us had to sit through a very clumsy presentation on the glory that is the Target credit card, with its 5% cash back. But wait, there's more! Somehow this magical credit card can be used just like a debit card. Yep, it does everything.

The woman in front of me was obviously uncomfortable and trying to be polite, though she was cornered by the pushy cashier. He was putting her on the spot, to where she would need to be gruff to escape the situation, but she didn't want to do that, so she half played along until she found her moment to flee and said "ok I'll think about it, thanks" and practically ran out of the store.

When I got to the front, I was asked if I was prepared to save 5% today. I informed the cashier that I was prepared to save zero percent and that my savings of zero percent was intentional, and by design. The cashier happily treated me like I was on drugs. "Zero percent, huh? Why wouldn't you want to save 5% on all your purchases at Target? There's no reason not to."

I leaned in a little, looked him in the eyes and said "because I really don't want a Target credit card." Defeated, he said "well, let me know if you change your mind" and a quick, sarcastic "yeah, I'll do that" ended the exchange.

The real answer of course is that I don't think much of Target, or any company that would put more effort into sales of its credit cards than actual customer service. I don't blame the poor guy who was taking his corporate mandate and running with it. A brother's got to eat. No, this was Target clearly putting him in the same position he was trying to put me in.

Huge, publicly traded companies must continue to grow for no real reason other than they are expected to grow. Even if they have to resort to being obnoxious, and even if that level of dickery will harm their profits in the long term.

 It was nice in the old days where stores at least pretended to care about their customers. You could chit chat with the store employees and it was almost like everyone was an actual human being. Nowadays, every transaction at every store is a high pressure sales pitch, once only reserved for used car lots.

There's a few exceptions of course, and some stores have varying levels of class, like the low key "savings cards" you'll find at stores like Safeway or Fred Meyers. No pressure, but you'll just overpay on about half your items.

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