Two weeks ago, right before the beginning of the academic school year, I went to Eilat for the weekend. Not my default vacation location, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Or you do, but you take the horse. It’s virtually free.
Since the most sensible thing you can do in Eilat is shop VAT free (supposedly) – those were my exact plans. Headed straight to the anachronistic record store and bought Pearl Jam’s latest effort – Pearl Jam Twenty, which isn’t so latest when you realize it’s a compilation. With a brand new LP and DVD (couldn’t decide so I took ’em both) I was already considering the weekend well spent.
And then, lo and behold, there was a Gap. An aging brand that made Alyiah only the previous year, which I have not yet frequented in Israel. There was no choice but to walk in with my shopping buddy. (I’m messing with the timelines a bit, but Zohar will excuse me I’m sure)
Right in front of us there was a display with shirts that caught my eye and right next to them a big sign saying that those same shirts are on sale for Gap Card holders. I grabbed a purple and a blue one, tried them on, and found that certain colors are actually slimming since I’m two different sizes, depending on shades of viscose.
Merrily, I walked over to the cashier and announced for all the world to hear that I am in want of a membership, so I could get my discount. Filled out the forms, handed over my Mastercard and continued chatting amiably with my friend. As I was reaching for a pen to sign, I noticed my total was odd. 86+86+69 (for the membership) does not add up to 275 (or does it?). I kindly asked how the math was done, and the cashier answered that the shirts I have chosen are not for sale. The manager came over too and parroted the cashier.
What followed left me flabbergasted, and finally able to understand why Chutzpah is a term used the world-over but never translated. Realizing I’m not getting a discount I asked to cancel my membership (why would I even sign up for it if not for the discount?). The cashier, dumbfounded and annoyed, obliged and started making the transaction, whilst my friend went back to the store’s entrance to make sense of it all.
She approached a salesman and inquired as to which shirts the sign is referring. He, as did we, interpreted the sign was in fact about the shirts we were buying (it wasn’t much of an effort since the sign included a photo of said shirts). Ever more determined, Zohar came back with the salesman who attested that the shirts are on sale.
The manager scowled and went to check the sign with her own eyes, dragging the salesman with her. Huffing and puffing, she returned to claim, once again, that the shirts are not on sale. Shocked and pissed off we surrendered. Walking out of the store, we noticed the sign mysteriously disappeared, finding itself hidden from the public below some racks. My friend reached for it and told me to take its picture, but by the time my Galaxy S finally got its shit together, two salespersons stopped us and said that we are not allowed to take photos.
More than a week and a half has passed, and after leaving them 4 voice messages and sending a very angry e-mail, customer service has returned my calls today. The woman online sounded appalled but also not surprised and knew immediately the name of the manager I was talking about, so it seems I’m not her first unhappy shopper. I was told they’ll be looking into it and to expect a call with an explanation by Sunday. I’m doubtful.
Baby Goose was right, I am better than the Gap.