Simple? Easy? Ha!

I’ve pilloried Staples for branding themselves with “that was easy,” desktop big red button and all, despite a variety of complexity sins, and that feeling doesn’t quickly go away.

Example: Making an online order from the store. First you have to go to the terminal (now, might be a gimormous touchscreen) to place the order. But no, you can’t complete the transaction there; to pay, you have to have them print something out, take that over to a register, and then pay. I’ve been snookered by this at least once, where I thought I’d actually placed an order, only to learn that I’d missed that “take paper elsewhere in store and do the pre-pay thing.”

Even when I was in the smallish (and now closed) Staples next to the post office, and one of the helpful (I do mean that part) staff was handling it, they still had to start at one terminal/register device, and then step over to another one. Simple? Easy? It is to laugh.

Same lack of simple for Staples sundry accounts, rewards, and so on. I’ve got my Staples rewards number. Then there’s Staples Easy Rebates. And Print Center. And they send hardcopy rewards coupons that expire remarkably soon. I think I’ve switched over to online, but I’m not sure.

To be fair, Staples isn’t the only company guilty of counterproductive complexity. Take Walgreens, for example. Prescriptions, notably. There’s the standard price. There’s the price that’s my health insurance co-pay. And Walgreens has, of course, their own membership/card thingie, costs like $20/year, which can yield somewhat better prices on some things.

But even though their system knows who I am and all this related information, it isn’t smart/helpful enough to automatically offer the best price — and “which is best” of list, co-pay or “member” varies. For most things, insurance co-pay is best. But not always; at least once recently, the co-pay would have been $21, while the Walgreens card price was $11. For one prescription, it didn’t initially go to my co-pay price, and instead burped out a seriously high number. For the prescription extra-flouride toothpaste I use in the evenings, list price is usually slightly better than either co-pay or their “club” price.

It’s not just the inconsistency that bugs me. It’s that often, and particularly for any new prescription, I have to ask whether the price would be better via my card, etc. It’s not just I shouldn’t have to keep doing it…what about all the customers who don’t know or aren’t willing to take the time to ask?

Being easy shouldn’t be this hard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *