Do you guys avoid calling stores to ask for availability?

California King

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 20, 2007
1,066
8
I don't know if it's just me, but I try to avoid calling stores asking for availability. It just seems like they get a million of the same question a day and they get rude with you on the phone. Just wished more stores had a way to check availability online.
 

jaw04005

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
4,369
15
AR
Availability of what? I’m not afraid of calling a retail store and asking about availability — particularly if the store is miles away and I would waste time driving there.

My general rule of thumb, if it’s a ‘Mom and Pop’ store and they get huffy with you, don’t buy from them. If it’s a big box retailer and they get huffy with you, ask to speak to their supervisor.
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
1,135
0
General rule in retail: the customer is always stupid but the customer pays your salary if you get annoyed at hearing the same question 1000 times a day you should probably not be in retail.
 

Simgar988

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2009
1,081
5
UYBAATC
I got so mad today. the lady refused to tell me the actual count. She told me to just come in and if they didnt have it they could pre order it. I told her to get her butt back there and check because I wasnt going to drive 2 hours to get there and there not be any.

I had to call twice and almost yell and her and finally she told me they had none. Thanks a lot *****
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,210
432
NY
depends on the store... Some stores I like to go to and see what they have on display.. (ie best buy to look at the TVs, DVDs on sale etc
Other stores i do call or I just order online and have it shipped to me in a few days and I don't have to deal with parking and the staff
 

geekgirl

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2007
138
2
I got so mad today. the lady refused to tell me the actual count. She told me to just come in and if they didnt have it they could pre order it. I told her to get her butt back there and check because I wasnt going to drive 2 hours to get there and there not be any.

I had to call twice and almost yell and her and finally she told me they had none. Thanks a lot *****
Phrasing and tone of voice can go a long way towards getting what you want. "Hi, I was wondering if you can tell me if an item is in stock? I live 2 hours away, and would like to know if the item will be available. If not, do you have any other stores in the area that may have it?" Make it so they WANT to help you from the get-go. If they seem blasé about it, "kill them with kindness", but be sincere. Also, knowing when to take No for an answer helps. Sometimes the answer really is "No", and sometimes things really aren't in stock.

Places like Target can look in their computer at the customer service desk and tell how many are left, but that doesn't mean it isn't in a cart, on the way to the checkout. Last year, I was trying to exchange a faulty DVD (The Office, season 3, btw). Unfortunately, it was a popular item. My local Target called the other Targets in the area, over a two week period (the Christmas holidays, no less!), and finally found one for me.

Smaller stores or chains may not be able to do that, and may not be able to send someone to look at the shelf every time someone calls in with a request.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
I used to work at Target and got annoyed when people called in checking for availability and didn't have specifics.

"Yeah, I was wondering if you had this camera in stock. It's made by Canon and it's silver" and there are only 5 different Canons that are silver :rolleyes:

If you call in, have an exact model number, or better yet, the item number the store uses (at Target, it's called a DPCI number). You'll make the employee's job so much easier.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
Yeah, you have to consider the perspective from both sides.

I worked a summer job in retail a few years back, at Canadian Tire (a popular Canadian retail chain -- think Wal-Mart meets Home Depot). You have to remember that in a busy store, employees probably have 5 different things on the go. The shipment of plumbing fixtures just arrived and your boss wants you to stack them on the shelves NOW. Meanwhile, customer 1 asks if you can help her find the light bulbs advertised in the flyer. While you are roaming the aisle looking for those, customer 2 asks if you can help him find something too. You tell him you're busy with a customer already and you'll be right with him. Meanwhile customer 3 arrives at the paint counter and pushes the "call" button so you go over and tell him you'll be right there. You hear the sound of a heavy cart rolling by as one of the warehouse guys drops off another pile of plumbing fixtures...

Now your phone rings, and it's someone calling to ask if you can check if something's in stock. Now you need to drop everything and find the nearest computer terminal to look it up. Or if they don't have the item code, you have to walk over to the stack of ABS pipe fittings and have a chat with the person on the phone. "Did you mean the 3" elbow? The black one? Hmm, I don't see any of them here, but let me write down the product code and I'll walk over to the computer to check..." Which you are happy to do, but you are already breathless from all that running around, three different people are still in the store waiting for you and giving you the evil eye, and as you look up you see your manager watching you from his office.

It's not always THAT busy but I would have a situation like a few times every day. I took this job to earn some extra dollars while writing my thesis, but I had to quit because I was coming home every day exhausted and in no condition to do any writing! It was fun in its own way, but eye opening.

To clarify: I'm not justifying rude service. If they're rude to you, report it. But understand that they might be a little frustrated, breathless, and very busy, so try to be polite and patient in return.
 

djellison

macrumors 68020
Feb 2, 2007
2,228
4
Pasadena CA
If it's something specific I'm after, and they don't have some sort of reserve-and-collect system online, I'll phone up and ask. I will do so with a model number, a code from the online store, or something specific so they can check it straight away.

If they get crappy on the phone, I'll find somewhere else.
 

California King

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 20, 2007
1,066
8
I used to work at Target and got annoyed when people called in checking for availability and didn't have specifics.

"Yeah, I was wondering if you had this camera in stock. It's made by Canon and it's silver" and there are only 5 different Canons that are silver :rolleyes:

If you call in, have an exact model number, or better yet, the item number the store uses (at Target, it's called a DPCI number). You'll make the employee's job so much easier.
Since you have experience, would you say it was annoying answering the same question countless times a day or did you basically have a simple 10 second line you would say that would basically answer all their questions?
 

renewed

macrumors 68040
Mar 24, 2009
3,064
5
Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
Since you have experience, would you say it was annoying answering the same question countless times a day or did you basically have a simple 10 second line you would say that would basically answer all their questions?
I was a trainer at Target for a while and it actually wasn't annoying at all. Most of the time people had a pretty good idea of what they were looking for. Also, to comment about the camera... the phone is 5 feet away from the cameras. If there are 5 silver cannons, ask some questions... what MP is it? Focus? Was it in the ad? Etc...

You know what you signed up for when you did retail and that was to help people, the smart and the stupid.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
Since you have experience, would you say it was annoying answering the same question countless times a day or did you basically have a simple 10 second line you would say that would basically answer all their questions?
I never found it annoying, especially because after the first time, you don't need to drop everything to look it up in a computer anymore. Working retail is a good example of how a cache works on a CPU... once the information is loaded into your head the first time, you're ready. :)

"Yep! I'm getting that question a lot today since it's on sale. We've got tons, come on in!"
 

AP_piano295

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2005
1,076
11
Yeah, you have to consider the perspective from both sides.

I worked a summer job in retail a few years back, at Canadian Tire (a popular Canadian retail chain -- think Wal-Mart meets Home Depot). You have to remember that in a busy store, employees probably have 5 different things on the go. The shipment of plumbing fixtures just arrived and your boss wants you to stack them on the shelves NOW. Meanwhile, customer 1 asks if you can help her find the light bulbs advertised in the flyer. While you are roaming the aisle looking for those, customer 2 asks if you can help him find something too. You tell him you're busy with a customer already and you'll be right with him. Meanwhile customer 3 arrives at the paint counter and pushes the "call" button so you go over and tell him you'll be right there. You hear the sound of a heavy cart rolling by as one of the warehouse guys drops off another pile of plumbing fixtures...

Now your phone rings, and it's someone calling to ask if you can check if something's in stock. Now you need to drop everything and find the nearest computer terminal to look it up. Or if they don't have the item code, you have to walk over to the stack of ABS pipe fittings and have a chat with the person on the phone. "Did you mean the 3" elbow? The black one? Hmm, I don't see any of them here, but let me write down the product code and I'll walk over to the computer to check..." Which you are happy to do, but you are already breathless from all that running around, three different people are still in the store waiting for you and giving you the evil eye, and as you look up you see your manager watching you from his office.

It's not always THAT busy but I would have a situation like a few times every day. I took this job to earn some extra dollars while writing my thesis, but I had to quit because I was coming home every day exhausted and in no condition to do any writing! It was fun in its own way, but eye opening.

To clarify: I'm not justifying rude service. If they're rude to you, report it. But understand that they might be a little frustrated, breathless, and very busy, so try to be polite and patient in return.
Eye opening is a good word. Everyone should do a customer service/retail job at least once in their lifetime. I think it teaches people alot about how to behave and how NOT to...
 

littleman23408

macrumors 6502
Jun 18, 2009
285
0
I stopped calling stores because sales associates would always say the have plenty of the item I am looking for, but when I get to the store, there is none of that product. I live 5 mins from all the major stores, so you would think there would still be "plenty". Unless everyone in my area went to the same store to get the same thing, which is highly unlikely. So now I just shop online, saves time, hassle and money.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
I was a trainer at Target for a while and it actually wasn't annoying at all. Most of the time people had a pretty good idea of what they were looking for. Also, to comment about the camera... the phone is 5 feet away from the cameras. If there are 5 silver cannons, ask some questions... what MP is it? Focus? Was it in the ad? Etc...

You know what you signed up for when you did retail and that was to help people, the smart and the stupid.
I was just using that as an example. And you're right, generally electronics was easy due to the proximity of the phone. It was more of a pain in the ass when they were looking for an item in a department like housewares or bedding and didn't know the details.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,521
2,557
Sod off
It's the retailer's job to answer questions relating to their products. If I call and ask if a product is in stock, and they are rude to me, they are doing a pretty awful job trying to sell stuff. Why have a phone number if you are reluctant to answer it?

I can do product research online, but I can't find out if something is in stock without calling a retailer, and I'm not going to waste the gas to drive there just to find out they are out of something.
 

GSMiller

macrumors 68000
Dec 2, 2006
1,664
0
Kentucky
I never call a store to check availability of a product. If I was going to drive a few hours to get there I would, but that never happens.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,743
141
I used to work at Target and got annoyed when people called in checking for availability and didn't have specifics.

"Yeah, I was wondering if you had this camera in stock. It's made by Canon and it's silver" and there are only 5 different Canons that are silver :rolleyes:

If you call in, have an exact model number, or better yet, the item number the store uses (at Target, it's called a DPCI number). You'll make the employee's job so much easier.
As a consumer I don't need to make your life easier. I try to have all information when I call but I'll be damed if a retail employee is going to be a little dick to me because I'm not 100% certain on some product number.
 

themoonisdown09

macrumors 601
Nov 19, 2007
4,312
15
Georgia, USA
If I'm buying something from Best Buy, I will buy it online (usually you can get the prices cheaper than in the store) and then mark it for pick-up at a local store. Within 30 minutes, it's ready to pick up. No worries about it being in stock or not.
 

H00513R

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2010
632
10
Indiana
No, I don't bother. If I get there (while doing other errands) and one of whatever is there then great. I don't mind waiting a week or two to get something new.
 

joro

macrumors 68020
Jun 11, 2009
2,358
36
Virginia
As a consumer I don't need to make your life easier. I try to have all information when I call but I'll be damed if a retail employee is going to be a little dick to me because I'm not 100% certain on some product number.
I agree with jessica here. On the rare ocassion I call to check on something, if the person on the other end of the line acts like they don't give a crap about helping me that's fine but I'm also not going to "give a crap" and shop somewhere else. This is part of the reason I buy most of my stuff online. ;)
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
As a consumer I don't need to make your life easier. I try to have all information when I call but I'll be damed if a retail employee is going to be a little dick to me because I'm not 100% certain on some product number.
Well, let's be fair, you have to know enough about what you are asking to reasonably get the response you want.

Best: "Hello, I'm looking for product code 33-27125-2, do you have it in stock?"

Good: "Hello, I'm looking for a Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder."

OK: "Hello, I'm looking for a Canon flash memory camcorder, it does HD recording, and it should be about $600."

Also OK: "Hello, I'm looking for a Canon camcorder, the one you've got on sale on page 6 in the flyer?"

NOT OK: "Hello, I'm looking for a Canon camera thingy, uh, I think it's silver."

Again, not an excuse for the sales person to be rude, but my response would be to ask further questions to narrow it down. "Was it on sale this week? Did you see it in our flyer? Do you remember the model number? Do you know what kind of camcorder it is -- does it record SD or HD video? Are you looking for the one with internal flash memory? Do you know roughly what price point it was at? I see 15 Canon camcorders in our computer system, so let's narrow it down..."
 

joro

macrumors 68020
Jun 11, 2009
2,358
36
Virginia
Again, not an excuse for the sales person to be rude
I think that's the key, a lot of the negative experiences I've had at retail locations has been because of the bad attitude of the employees. Sure, everyone has bad days, but you can tell the difference between an otherwise nice person who is having a bad day and someone who just doesn't care.