Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fuzzy Math = Beware False Advertising at the Kirkwood Highway Richardsons

Here’s the moral: A penny saved is a penny not overcharged you by the “nice guys” at Richardsons’ on Kirkwood Highway.

I learned the hard way. After a solid weekend of rain, the Monday afternoon sun found me ready to roll up my sleeves for some fall planting. So I jumped in my car headed to my favorite place to buy plants, Richardsons’ on Kirkwood Highway.
There I found perennials on sale at 50% off. So I happily embarked on a mission to introduce a few new plant friends to my waterside rock garden, escaping the final vestiges of our torrential downpour.

I found two nice sized perennial sedum originally priced at $5.99 a piece. I also spotted ornamental reed grasses for about the same price. I headed to the register. At 50% off, I expected the two sedum to cost $5.99, or the price of one plant had it not been half off. Instead, the Hispanic woman at the register who didn’t speak English, charged me $6.00. I asked why. After all 100% of $5.99 is $5.99. She couldn’t answer.

She summoned a nice Hispanic man who didn’t speak much English either to explain.

“$3.00 a piece,” he explained.

“But, I have two,” I responded. “You owe me a penny.” He insisted I pay $6.00 and I balked. Not that I needed the penny. But if a store advertises a $50 percent off sale, it should honor its posted sale and not charge more than the face value of the item. $6.00 for plants originally sold for $5.99 is false advertising.

The nice Hispanic man with little English skills bounced me up the food chain to Dave who was the manager, I was told.

Dave explained it like this: “If you can figure out how to split a penny, let me know.”

Say what?? That may make sense when purchasing one. But I had four – no penny-splitting necessary.

Dave wouldn’t budge either. He felt overcharging me a penny was more important than repeat business. I immediately reflected on the $200 I recently spent at that very same Richardsons -- on various plants and pottery and assorted bird feeder thingies.

I left without the sedum. I did wind up at another Richardsons, however -- the one in Glasgow. There a very nice man with a pleasant smile and a true appreciation of happy customers with money to spend restored my faith in Richardsons, charging me $5.99 for my two sedum plants and the identical price for two heuchera.

I, like many Delawareans, have been shopping at Richardsons for decades. I shopped there when they opened in front of the New Castle Farmer’s market complete with a hand painted sign and a few plants sprawled out on the grassy median. I watched the Kirkwood highway location grow from just a small wooden stand with a few plants -- to the massive site it has now become, complete with pottery, lawn ornaments, wild bird food and feeders and a virtual cornucopia of outdoor goodies.

There is something to be said for honesty, getting what you pay for, and keeping paying customers happy. I doubt I’ll ever shop at the Kirkwood Highway outlet again. I’d rather spend my hard-earned penny shopping where my money and my time is appreciated, not pilfered away one penny at a time through a fake 50% off sale.

No comments: