Penny’s Has Failed Again
A recent experience with JC Penny made me come to two realizations. Number one, I need to be very leery about online reviews. Number two, I won’t shop at JC Penny again.
I ordered something online. It was exactly what I wanted at a good price. I selected to have it sent to my local store for me to pick up. That saved me a $12 shipping charge. I was happy. When I arrived at the store to pick up the order, the associate pushed it out from the back. It was in a box. I was really shocked. It was supposed to be assembled. I pulled up the ad on my phone and double checked. There was no mention of the item requiring assembly. Trying to make amends, the associate made an offer to put it together right there on-site, to which I declined. I requested a refund and went to another store.
But that wasn’t the thing that bothered me the most. Later that day, I received an email inviting me to complete a customer satisfaction survey about my shopping experience. Yes, I obliged. I rated my experience excellent on the functionality of the website, the ease of ordering, the extent to which I could find what I was looking for, and value for what I spent. All of those things were, well excellent. But when it came to the question about whether the item I received was as it appeared on the site and as it was described in the ad, I checked the ‘No’ radio button, and I explained in the text box what happened. I’m a fair person, and I am a particularly fair reviewer. I included the URL in my review to the item on the JC Penny site, validating my point about the ad not mentioning assembly would be required. Some people don’t mind assembling things. I’m not one of them. I was hoping that if anybody saw my review, they would use it to help them make an informed decision prior to ordering.
The next day, JC Penny wrote me to say they would not publish my review, but I could call and discuss the matter with management. That’s the part that bothered me the most. First, I didn’t bash any employees or the store in my review. I provided even-tempered, objective comments about my experience. If I had a store, I would not oppose those types of comments from a customer. The comments might be helpful to other customers. Second, do they only want favorable reviews? If so, that’s disappointing. It’s not even as though I proactively reviewed the ordering experience. JC Penny invited me to do so, so my silly self thought they wanted honest opinions of my experience. Evidently not.
That experience has soured me to shopping there in the future. I was already on the fence about JC Penny. After this, it’s unlikely I’ll ever shop there again. That’s precisely why some people I know place little value in online reviews, even from verified customers. If vendors are going to censor them, that invalidates the authenticity of the reviews.
Penny’s response was very different than the response I received from the review I provided following my experience at the Sheraton in Dallas. The manager reached out to me for further feedback to help them make improvements. That’s the purpose of a customer review: to use the information to improve your product or service. Some businesses get it, others do not. That’s probably one of the many reasons why Penny’s is closing 20 plus stores in 2019. Frankly, they can all close if I had anything to say about it. They don’t care about customers.