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Black Friday was never meant to be a dark and dour affair, but several merchants spoiled the festive mood over Thanksgiving weekend by canceling already-placed orders. Perhaps the biggest dose of bad news came to those who shopped Toys "R" Us, where patrons not only suffered cancelled orders, but also were subject to poor customer service, according to The Consumerist.
One shopper saw not one, not two, but three items in her online order nixed for in-store pickup. That shopper, identified as Kelly, then went on hold for 45 minutes in an attempt to reach Toys "R" Us by phone. But the worst of all, she says: "I honestly don't know how much they're going to charge my credit card." Consumerist also points to the Toys "R" Us Facebook page, which contains a slew of angry comments from disgruntled customers, including an outraged banishing of the company from Heather Nathanson Clements of Long Beach, California: "I will NEVER purchase items from Toys R Us again. YOU HAVE AWFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The scenario at Toys "R" Us brings back
memories nightmares of holiday shopping 2011, when Best Buy couldn't make good on a number of orders placed in November and December, including some Black Friday deals. The items affected included a Sony PlayStation 3, the Fujifilm AX-350 camera, and assorted laptops, as reported by PC Magazine. And while we've heard some gripes about Best Buy, none compare to its holiday shopping mishap of 2011.
Despite their popularity (and great sales) or how much marketing muscle and nationwide reach some retailers have, some just can't handle Black Friday orders online as well as others. While Jos. A. Bank has a well-deserved reputation as a fine men's clothier, it fumbled its way through Black Friday orders. A sales clerk tells The Consumerist that Jos. A. Bank orders placed online on Thanksgiving were sent to multiple stores for fulfillment, resulting in each store billing the customer ... up to four times. The clerk goes on to say that come Sunday, when the volume of sales coming in had died down, he received a list of orders to be refunded, which amounted to "about half of what we had processed on Black Friday."
But are these Black Friday online shopping issues inevitable? Will technology always fail either the customer or the retailer in some way? Even behemoth Google had its Black Friday woes, as its Google Shopping tool crashed for several hours early morning on Thanksgiving. And now with Cyber Monday 2012 being the biggest online shopping day on record where sales jumped 30%, should consumers just expect issues with orders that contain products in high demand? Or will the risks of cancelled orders from Black Friday and Cyber Monday outweigh the savings? Will you shy away from online shopping on these busy days and pay a premium for guaranteed in-stock items? Or will you take the risk and enjoy the potential savings?
Photo credit: InstanteStore