Millions of Americans this year did their Black Friday shopping online, and then either had their purchase shipped home or to a nearby store.
It was convenient, unless that nearby store happened to be a six hour drive, as one woman discovered.
Ship Your Pants
Remember when Kmart made an advertising splash a couple of years ago, with witty TV commercials about shipping, uh, your pants?
"I just shipped my pants. I just shipped my pants." a family deadpanned in the spot. "I shipped my drawers," a woman added. It was one of the funniest TV ads in years.
Sharla Harris of Adams County, Ohio remembered those iconic commercials. So early on Thanksgiving morning, she decided to ship some boots, for free in store pickup.
"I got online at midnight because I heard that was a good way to get it, without going out to the stores," Harris said.
Requests Local Store Pickup
So she ordered several children's boots for pickup at her local Kmart store, in Hillsboro, Ohio, a 15 minute drive from her home.
But next morning she received an email saying her boots were ready to be picked up at a store more than 350 miles away.
"There was an email saying I had to pick up my order in Chicago, Illinois," the dumbfounded woman said.
An examination of her confirmation email reveals Kmart indeed wanted her to drive all the way to a store on the north side of Chicago, just to pick up her kid's boots.
"I said you can’t just ship it to Hillsboro?" she asked an agent. "That's where I thought it was going. She said no, we don't offer that service."
Luckily, Harris was able to cancel her order. But she says the website should have alerted her there were no children's boots near her in the size she ordered.
"They don’t ship to the store in your area," she said the phone agent told her. "They just tell you to pick it up wherever it might be stocked."
Different Stores have Different Policies
We contacted parent company Sears Holdings, to see if this was a glitch, or policy.
A Sears/Kmart spokeswoman said after looking into the case, they determined "consumer confusion" may have led to the error, and that Harris may have "unintentionally selected an out of state store for pickup." (See full statement below)
Some retailers will "ship to store," while others will just tell you which nearby stores have your order in stock.
In this case, it appears no store near Harris had the item in stock, so she may have been directed to the closest one which had the boots, and may not have noticed it was two states away.
But this is a good reminder to double check all confirmations when you place an online order.
Sharla Harris wonders if this is why Kmart is no longer promising to "ship your pants".
Wherever you shop, don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
Sign up for John's free Newsletter by clicking here
Full Kmart Statement:
“After learning of this concern, the member services team worked quickly to research the product order in question. We discovered that consumer confusion impacted the shopping experience, and the selection of an out of state store was unintentionally made. The team has since spoken to the member and resolved the concern to her satisfaction. We value our members’ and customers’ experiences above all else and are happy to have this matter resolved.” -Kmart Representative
You can save on local dining, tickets and attractions with WCPO Insider. Get access to a Digital Premium Subscription of the Washington Post and original storytelling by our award-winning journalists.