I didn’t realize any stores in this day and age only accept gift cards in-store and not on their website, but that’s what I get for not reading descriptions/fine print carefully and assuming a major retailer knows what decade we’re in.
Our apartment is in dire need of chairmats because our chairs are pulling fuzz bulls from the carpet our computer area. I have tons of points from my credit card, so I used it on a $100 gift card to Staples to purchase such chairmats. Chairmats, btw, are freaking expensive, so I bought a $25 off $75 online coupon off eBay for a couple bucks. I clicked referral links, applied for a Staples rewards card, and got ready to order my chairmat when I discovered there’s no place to put the gift card number under payment information. I looked in the FAQs, no info. At the Staples gift card page, you can check the balance online and buy gift cards no problem. I looked at the fine print on the card and it doesn’t say you can’t use it online… oh wait. “May be used only in Staples U.S. retail stores.”
I guess that means you can’t use it online? How can that be? In disbelief, I googled and found I’m not the first to find issue in this.
But those were a while ago, so maybe they’ve fixed things by now? I called customer service. Maybe I could order with credit card, and then they could apply the gift card over the phone? Or maybe I could do an in-store delivery and pay with gift card there. In the past at other retailers, any features lacking on the website could be done over the phone through customer service. I called the number of the card. I’m guessing they get this sort of confusion a lot, because all the lady on the phone would tell me is that online doesn’t take gift cards and to call some number to complain. Any other question or suggestion resulted in the same repeated answer (and me getting increasingly pissy). Completely unhelpful.
I went back online to see if I could find which stores carry the chairmats I want. Looking at the website: “Delivery only.” *sigh* They have a chat customer service thing, so I used it to ask if there’s any way I can buy this damn chairmat with my gift card. Thankfully, this chat person was significantly more helpful and told me I can go an in-store kiosk and order the chairmat through them. I called the nearest store to verify this is true, and it is. I could even use my online coupon.
So, I did what the guy told me, and as it turns out, you CAN use gift cards for online orders… you just have to do your online order in an actual store. It makes NO sense. The “kiosk” is a desk with a computer on it, and you go through the exact same steps as you would ordering from your home computer. It’s the same website and everything. The only difference is that there’s an extra option to pay at the register. It takes online coupons and will ship directly to your home, just like it would if you ordered at home. When you finish your order, you get a print-out you take to the checkout register and pay there, with credit card, cash, or *dun dun dun* gift card. Service folks in store were nice and helpful, but I’m still overall miffed at Staples’ backwards attempt at getting people in their stores.
I couldn’t help but chuckle as I left the store reading the top of my receipt, which said “that was easy”.
Considering people have been complaining about this to them for years and I don’t know of a single store that still has this archaic gift card practice, Staples obviously doesn’t give a crap about making things easy, regardless of what their stupid button tries to tell me on TV. Outside of freebie gift cards, I’ll stick to Office Depot or Office Max for my future office supply needs. I can’t tell these stores apart anyway.
New thing I learned today: Staples is the world’s largest office supply retail chain. Also, Staples was going to merge with Office Depot in 1996, but the FTC wouldn’t allow it because of the potential for a monopoly.
I wonder if Staples and Office Depot had merged, if the new office supply supermonster would accept gift cards online. (Office Depot and OfficeMax both accept gift cards online.)