Monday, February 25, 2013

J. C. Penney

Bloomberg: The retailer has posted five consecutive quarters of losses as Chief Executive Officer Ronald Johnson’s seeks to transform the chain by creating in-store boutiques and reducing reliance on coupons and sales events.

On Saturday Judy and I were at a Half-Price Books (imagine that).  There's a J. C. Penney store nearby, and since we'd been talking about buying some sheets, I, being a "hip" and "with-it" guy, checked the Internet on my phone. I saw that Penney's had some 600 thread-count sheets that looked nice, and we went over to the store.

We wandered around until we found the linens.  No one to direct us, but we found the sheets easily enough.  We looked around for a while.  No salesperson in sight.  We located every kind of sheet we'd seen on the Internet except the kind we wanted.  200 thread-count, 300 thread-count, 400 thread-count, microfiber, flannel, and others.  All there.  

Still no salesperson.  I drifted around and finally found someone who looked like as if she might be helpful, even though she had no name tag.  Sure enough, she was a store employee, and she asked me what she could do to help.  I explained about the sheet problem.  She told me that she'd get someone from that department to come and assist us.

I went back to the sheets, and eventually a guy showed up.  Because of the glazed look on his face after I explained the problem, I'm not sure he had a clue about what was in the linen department.  Or even if he was in the linen department.  He half-heartedly looked at a few displays and then said, "I don't think we have any 600 thread-count sheets.  We don't have anything above 300 thread-count sheets here.  As he was standing beside a rack of 400 thread-count sheets at the time, I figured he knew even less than I'd thought at first.  At that point, I probably knew more about the linen department than he did.

So Judy and I thanked him for all his help and I left J. C. Penney, never to return.  We don't want to buy the sheets sight unseen from the 'net.  If the folks at Penney's wonder why they've suffered five consecutive quarters of losses, I have a clue for them.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jackie says: "600 thread sheets in JC Penney? That's a good trick."

Jeff

Anonymous said...

If you send this along to that CEO, I bet you would get free sheets in the mail. Maybe not 600 thread sheets, but something. Give it a try.

sas

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately, this mirrors my experience at almost every store I go into, no matter what company they are or what they sell.

Fred Blosser said...

The local JCP ripped out most of its cash registers sometime after the Xmas/New Year shopping season. A downsized number of employees walk around with a portable credit card processor to take charge purchases. If you want to pay cash, you have to find a remaining register. I like(d) to shop JCP for shirts because the Oxford store brand was made of a heavier cotton blend that I like, the price was very reasonable, and it came in a good selection of colors. The selection is now much reduced. I give JCP four to six months before it goes under, in one way or another.

George said...

We still buy clothing at J. C. PENNY but we've noticed the lack of customer service. And the new CEO banned coupons. Now, coupons are back. I think this just confuses consumers.

Deb said...

Coincidently, someone at work was saying today that she tried to buy a pair if shoes for her grandson at JCP and wondered around unable to find either where the shoes were or a helpful salesperson. I had just been in JCP a few weeks prior (apparently before all these changes) and had found what I needed quickly and checked out at a centrally-located cash register. Why in the world would they rip out the registers? That makes no sense, unless the goal is to destroy JCP.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure anyone who watches television regularly has seen a lot of JCP ads recently, touting their lower prices. Customer service, not so much.

Jeff

Ed Gorman said...

I grew up on Pennys and Sears. I know they'll soon be gone. The local Sears has improved customer relations--you can actually find a salesperson if you bring a duck call. I've ordered on line from Penny with good results except for one disastrous time.

Fred Zackel said...

Let me second the recommendation for JCP's Oxford cloth shirts. Some years back Consumer Reports did a survey of all major brands & said they were the best shirt buy in America. They cost like $17 and they are a nice texture and ... they never ever need ironing. Fine dress shirts. Buy a few before JCP goes the way of the dodo bird. Two Freds cannot be wrong!

Benjie said...

Longer ago than I care to (or will) admit, as I was working my way through college at Kmart (who saved themselves from bankruptcy by buying out Sears to save them from bankruptcy) we were told "you work for the store, so if you're in a different department from your assignment, you help the customer." We practiced the '10 foot' rule (offer assistance when within 10 feet of a customer) and we tried to be helpful. Today's market makes such things seem surreal.

Bill Crider said...

Indeed. And it's too bad.

D.A. Trappert said...

JCP Penney prices are great. I buy all my dress shirts and slacks there. The quality is quite good. I hope other men will start shopping there so they don't go out of business. You can save a lot of money and get good stuff.