Posted by: Marty Fahncke | August 12, 2008

Kohl’s revenue worse than expected – Perhaps I know why

Last week, Reuters reports that Kohl’s corporation reported sales for July 2008 were down 10.8%, far worse than the 7% decline they were expecting.

I will be watching with high interest to see how their August numbers come out, since I tried to give them some of my money…and they refused to take it. 

(Yes, this is one of my “Customer Service Losers” stories)

Here is what happened:

As is my custom when my kids hit a certain age, when it comes time for “Back to School” shopping, I send them off to the mall with a credit card, a spending limit, and an understanding that mom and dad can veto any purchase which is objectionable or unreasonable.  (This is for my own sanity…shopping with teenagers can be a life-shortening experience)

Using my card hasn’t ever been a problem with my other kids.  They just sign the sales receipt with their own name, and rarely is it a problem.  One time, a store did call me when presented with the card, and I gave them a verbal authorization to use it.  No problem. 

That is, until today’s run-in with Kohl’s in Olathe, KS during a shopping excursion my 15-year-old daughter was enjoying. 

About an hour into her shopping, my daughter called me and said that Kohl’s would not accept the card without me there.   I could hear the sales clerk in the background telling my daughter that is was “policy”.  I asked to talk to the sales clerk so I could give her verbal authorization, and she REFUSED to take the phone from my daughter. 

I told my daughter again to just hand the clerk the phone, and the clerk again refused to speak to me, telling my daughter there was “nothing she could do”.

I then told my daughter to just leave the items on the counter and walk out of the store.  There are plenty of other retailers desperate for our dollars, we don’t need to keep fighting Kohl’s to take our money. 

Yes, I know I may be asking too much to ask the clerk to bend or break “policy”.
Yes, I understand the reason for not accepting the card is for my own security.

HOWEVER, I don’t believe that a business should sacrifice customer service over “policy”.  It also doesn’t mean they should refuse to talk to a (potentially) paying customer on the phone. 

With their actions, Kohl’s not only lost the money I would have spent today, but future money as well since my daughter was so disgusted with them, she doesn’t want to go back any time soon, even though Kohl’s has been one of her favorite stores up until now.


  1. Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of stuff like that happen. There are always some hard nosed pure “policy” employees that will do that and that’s exactly what you should have done in my opinion. They don’t want your business, so don’t give them it.


  2. Yes, because that employee DEFINITELY should want to risk losing their job so an unsupervised tween can buy her skinny jeans.

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