Anyhow, when we checked out, the cashier informed us that our membership was expired and asked if we wanted to renew it. It definitely paid for itself last year, so I said yes. She charged us something like $35 and we left. Today I went to their website to change the address on my account and I noticed that it said my membership was expired. Hmmm... this happened a few years back with my Sam's Club membership. Took two months to get it straightened out.
After navigating through 37 different FAQ and customer service screens (or maybe about three), I finally found a phone number to call, however I was already on a conference call. Alongside the phone number was that button I've seen on so many sites - click here to chat live with a representative! Oh sure, I thought, why not?
Well, now I know why not.
14:02:48 : Amber: Initial Question/Comment: Last time I was in the store, the cashier asked if I'd like to renew my expired membership. I said yes, and paid, but the website still shows my membership is expired.
14:02:53 : System: Welcome to the Barnes & Noble Chatroom.
14:02:53 : System: Jason has joined this session!
14:02:53 : System: Connected with Jason. Your Reference Number for this chat is 742176.
14:02:58 : System: Thanks for joining us.
14:03:23 : Jason: Hi, Amber. Thank you joining Barnes & Noble Chat Support.
14:03:29 : Amber: Hi there!
14:03:58 : Jason: We regret to hear that the membership still shows expired. I'll be more than willing to check that for you.
14:04:03 : Amber: Great, thanks.
14:05:23 : Jason: In order to assist you, we need you to reply with your Member Name and Member Mailing address on the account.
14:06:00 : Amber: Member name is Amber _____ and the address on the account should be my old one (I was actually logging in today to change my address and phone number). The old one is _______.
14:07:38 : Jason: Thanks for the information. According to our records, your Barnes & Noble Membership will expired on 12/31/2011. If your expiration date has passed, we invite you to continue enjoying the privileges of your Barnes & Noble Membership. Renew your membership online from the "B&N Member Program" link at BarnesandNoble.com (click on "renew" in the Member Services menu located at the left of the screen), or if you prefer, just visit your local Barnes & Noble store.
14:07:56 : Amber: I did that already, and paid for the renewal, however it's not showing up on the website.
14:08:10 : Amber: This was last Saturday.
14:09:53 : Jason: I will need some time to thoroughly research your problem. Can I have three-four minutes while I further check? Please stay with me and I will do my best to get right back to you.
14:10:00 : Amber: Sure thing.
14:12:49 : Jason: Thanks for waiting. It seems that the membership was not renewed. Do you happen to remember if they provided you with a new member number?
14:13:16 : Amber: They said my same card would still work. I know for sure they didn't hand me a new card.
14:14:44 : Jason: I suggest that you call the store itself since it is not reflecting on our system. Can I have the zip code and name of the store maybe I could get the phone number for you.
14:15:45 : Amber: I've got the phone number. Thanks for your help.
14:16:04 : Jason: No worries. Is there anything else I can help you with for the meantime?
14:16:19 : Amber: That was all, thanks again.
14:16:39 : Jason: Thanks once again for joining the Barnes & Noble Chat.
14:20:10 : System: The session has ended!
Now, I'm not one to take out my frustration on poor Jason, even if he did seem eerily computerish in his responses. (Jason isn't real?!?! Say it ain't so?!?!)
So now, after paying my $25 fee like a good little lemming to save money on books that I probably will only read once anyway, I get to go back into the store sans receipt and convince them that yes, I really did pay? How exactly will they verify that? If it's anything like the Sam's Club experience, the Store Manager will need to get involved as well as the Regional Manager, the CEO, and the Pope. And two months later they'll finally give me my membership. Maybe.
They'd better, darn it. Or I'll unleash the fury of an overtired 18 month old on them.
I don't know about you, but I'd much rather think I'm losing $25 (even though I'm not) than deal with that sort of torture. Stay tuned!