Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tales of a Cashier - Store Credit Cards

The Tales of a Cashier series relates my experiences at my part time job in a retail store.

At our store last weekend, our manager announced a new initiative: to push the store credit card. We are now supposed to ask every customer who comes through our line if they would like to put their purchase on their store card. If they showed any interest we should then spout off the benefits:
  • 20% off today's purchase
  • Gift certificate rewards
  • Special coupons & events
  • Special gifts.
Of course, nowhere in there do we mention any of the pitfalls of opening store cards, the biggest of which is the horrible interest rate: 21.99%! This is fairly common for retail stores. The fees and billing are pretty awful, too - you can't even pay your bill in store or online, and the expedited phone payments to avoid a late fee cost $15.

When I heard we were to start promoting this, I balked. I told the boss that I wasn't going to ask every one of our customers if they would like to go into debt, regardless of the "benefits" of the program. The only way I will even mention it to anybody is if they have a huge overflowing carriage and saving 20% on everything will make a BIG difference ($50+). Other than that, no way. I know that every person should be responsible for their own way, but I don't need to show them the door to debt. If they want it that badly, they can open the door.

SB at Be Thrifty Like Us discussed the many disadvantages of store credit cards recently as well. What do you think about store cards and "helpful" clerks who ask you if you want to open one? Leave a comment and let me know!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

It drives me crazy when I have a small purchase and the cashier ask if i would like to sign up for the store credit card...then when i kindly reply "no thank you" they proceed to tell me that it will save me 10% on my purchases today. And to that I usually reply with the math..."Well since 10% is only $2.23 I don't think a credit card is worth it"

Anonymous said...

I hate that clerks have to offer these now. I got offered one the other day when I was making a $3.00 purchase, I laughed at the thought of opening a card to save 30c.
Also in my local bookstore there is one very pushy clerk who will whip out the forms for you to sign as he explains it, he drives me insane.

Cody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon said...

I only hold two store cards, Macy's and Kohls. I wouldn't carry those, except that to get the discounts the store offers, I have to use their cards. I do make sure that I pay them off in full, because, as you know, store cards have ridiculous interest. Good for you for not pushing more credit...

Canadian Saver said...

What was your boss' reaction when you said you weren't asking every shopper?

I don't like store cards either because of the high interest rate. My only negative mark ever on my credit report came from my Sears card in 1999... it followed me for years! I do think once in a while it can be beneficial to sign up for one, to get the discount. But if someone doesn't pay off the bill in full, the savings are probably negated.

gonna_make_it said...

I hate when people ask me this. I have learned that now to just say I already have a card with that store but am going to use a different CC to pay. Shuts them right up.

JvW said...

anon 1 & 2 - The math drives me crazy, too! To save a couple of bucks? No, thanks! And that pushy bookstore guy sounds obnoxious.

sharon - Kohl's does have pretty good incentives with their coupons on the store cards. Plus you can pay their bill in-store, so that's another point in their favor. Did I mention I love Kohl's?? :)

cs - She tried to convince me that it wasn't a bad idea for people to open a store card and that they would pay it off immediately. Unfortunately, I don't believe that to be true. I agree, if the bill isn't paid in full the first time, the savings are probably negated - which is the store's evil plan!

gmi - Good idea to rebuff those vicious cashiers!

wealthy_1 said...

jvw, I can so relate to this post. The store I work at wants us to push the store card too. I'm not as bold as you in that I didn't actually say I wasn't going to do it. But I'm not going to do it. There is no real perk for the customer with this card and there is no perk, incentive, bonus or anything for the employees.

Anonymous said...

I'd fire your ass for insubordination. Do you also tell your customers they can probably get their clothes cheaper at thrift stores, and their merchandise cheaper at walmart?

Credit Cards said...

Well they do those tactics for them to get a percent whenever they have recruited someone in opening a credit card account. and that incentives can be added in their salary.

Anonymous said...

I know how everyone feels when it comes to being offered credit lines from cashiers well actually from retailers. I'm a cashier. Try to understand from a cashiers point-of-view. I'm told by managers to ask every time the prompt pops up to ask if the customer would like to open a credit account.
I didn't do it once and I got caught by a "mystery shopper". I know more often then not most customers who tell me they have credit already are lying through their teeth.

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Anonymous said...

Is it legal for a retailer to demand an employee meet a certain credit card application quota. This would be a hugh performing employee at risk of losing a job over a crdit card app

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