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What is Office Depot Thinking?

I am a big fan of making purchases online for in-store pickup.  This is especially true for buying office supplies.  I find office supply stores nearly impossible to shop.  A short list of 5 things takes 20-30 minutes to track down searching aisle after poorly marked aisle.  I dread shopping at any of the Office Supply Megastores.

Shopping online is a dream.   With just a few keystrokes I can find what I’m looking for,  load my cart and buy. I drive right by an office depot to and from work. It’s not even 1/2 block out of the way — it’s right on my route. For the past couple of years whenever I’ve needed ink, paper, pens you name it I buy online and make the 3 minute stop at office depot to pickup my order.

At least it USED to be 3 minutes. My order used to be waiting for me up front, fully processed, just waiting to verify my identify and out the door I go.  Couldn’t be easier.

Office Depot has since completely revised their procedures. I arrived at the store this morning while running errands and there’s my order waiting for me.  But,  the order hasn’t been processed its only been “picked”.   The clerk has to call up a manager to process the order.  The manager starts processing the order, and training the clerk at the same time (telling him he’s teaching him to fish).   Meanwhile, the computer system hangs and it takes quite a bit of time to get my order scanned in and processed.   Then the manager tells me he needs to print out my receipt but he can’t do it here — he heads off to another part of the store.

I’m hanging around waiting, wondering what’s he’s up to, and finally give up and head back to find out where he is.   I find him at a printer waiting for the receipt to come up.   At least 10 minutes have gone by since he finished processing my order.   We start a brief conversation where I started by lamenting that the reason I ordered online for in-store pickup was to save time.  So far I’ve spent over 30 minutes in the store (10* what it used to take) trying to pick up my order.   The manager proceeds to tell me that Office Depot (chain wide) no longer processes online pick-up orders in advance because too many customer’s weren’t showing up for their order.

Wow!   In short the manager is telling me I am being inconvenienced because Office Depot might have to restock some shelves.   Guess which customer Office Depot just lost to Staples?

Meanwhile,  the receipt for my order never comes out of the printer. The manager gives up too and creates a manual receipt.  A mere 40 minutes after I arrived to pick up my web order I’m finally on my way out of the store.

What good and bad experiences have you had with web/brick & mortar store integration (or lack thereof)?  I’ve had great experiences with REI & Best Buy.   Who’s getting it right?   Who’s got work to do?

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