Bed Bath and Be Gone
I’ve got drawer full of those damned giant blue 20% off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond. They’re a little ostentatious as bookmarks, too ugly to be coasters and, I tried, they make lousy paper airplanes. Of course that may due to my total lack of origami aviation skills.
I guess keeping those coupons in my drawer and not actually using them is part of the reason Bed Bath and Beyond is going Bye-Bye—oh yeah, their chain Bye Bye Baby is going night-night too.
Here’s the thing with B, B, and B, the place went from vital to NG. It’s sad because in its earlier days we enjoyed walking all around the place, feasting on the choices of a dozen different coffee makers, a billion sheets and pillowcases, kitchen gadgets galore, Hanukah candles and menorahs in which to burn them and even a rack to store the golf clubs I never use which included a little space for a basketball and other sporting goods that look good but haven’t been used since the internet seemed novel.
It’s in my basement.
Oh, you could buy some of that stuff in discount or department stores, but they never carried the sheer volume and variety.
It always felt like Toys R Us for domestic adults…but you saw what happened to that emporium of kid fun. Poor Geoffrey the Giraffe is probably working at a call center trying to sell diaper rash insurance.
Much of Bed Bath and Beyond’s troubles have been attributed to the hiring of a tone deaf CEO who replaced national brands with store brands, which no one wanted. The company also booted the move to online commerce. He got fired fairly quickly, but not soon enough.
What did it for me was the day I stopped in to buy a small drip coffeemaker. The website said the store near me had the one I wanted in stock. So we popped down there to pick one up.
We get to the coffeemaker department and sure enough there’s my machine on display. The usual procedure is grab one from the supply right below the shelf. Hmm. Big empty space where I expected coffeemakers to be lurking.
So I attempt to find a store staffer for assistance, but maybe they were all hiding where the allegedly in-stock coffeemakers were hiding, perhaps in the “beyond” section of the store.
I finally flag down a person who saw the look of urgency on my face and, fearing a customer in need, attempted to avoid me by quickly pivoting behind the loofah display. Being a reporter used to people trying to give me the slip I stalked the worker till she finally surrendered asking, “can I help you?” Probably hoping the chase took enough of my breath so I couldn’t express my needs.
I explained my dilemma emphasizing their website said my coffeemaker is in stock. Her demeanor immediately changed.
“Oh!,” she said in a most mocking tone. “The website is never right, but I’ll take a look in the back.”
Don’t you love it when they say they’re going to the back. During high school I had a part-time job at a department store. I used that “back” thing all the time. You feigned a search for the desired item, but really detoured to the break room to grab a Hershey Bar, then returned to the customer with a look of regret.
“Oh, so sorry. We must have sold the last one a short time ago. Very sorry. Would you like to order one?” No one wants to order one, unless they’re at a computer where they don’t have to speak to a human.
We cooled our heels for about 20 minutes when the staffer returned with a smile and my coffeemaker in her hand. She was out of breath…I’m guessing because the break room was on the other side of the store from “the back.” Thought I saw a little chocolate on her fingers.
“This is kinda weird,” she explained. “For some reason they didn’t put the stock under the display shelf as usual, but just piled them on a table on another side of the store near the beard trimmers.”
Makes sense, right?
Wonder where the corkscrews were stocked…over by the toe nail clippers?
I’m guessing the poor worker’s dilemma was based on the combination of under-staffing and under-stocking since suppliers balked at sending the store with three B’s in its name new merchandise because its poor business decisions earned it all F’s in paying its bills.
Still, as someone who was once laid off due to an idiotic merger that, 21 years later, is still ruining CNN, I have a special sympathy for innocent workers who end up losing their jobs because of poor decisions made by much higher-paid executives.
Not your fault! I hope all those folks who trudged on the sales floors of all those BBB’s and Bye Bye Babys aren’t out of work long. I always felt very bad for that person who ran hither and yon in search of my poorly placed coffeemaker.
I still have that coffeemaker. It makes a delicious pot of my morning eye-opener. I owe that person gratitude..and a Hershey Bar.
I’m with ya. Been there. Believe me, for those caught up in this retail debacle, sooner than you think before going to bed, you’ll be taking that refreshing bath and in the morning, heading to a job that’s rewarding way beyond that shuttered big box.
Epilogue: I hear a couple of stores will accept those 20% off coupons for a few weeks. I guess I can use them at Big Lots to score a deal on a bag of Poppycock.