There Are No Excuses / by Erin Wade

Here at the Homestead we are rolling into the tail end of a redecorating project that puts us, finally, into a proper bedroom. No longer do we have to sleep in the tiny side room off of our living room (tho, that room served as my grandparent's bedroom for years). It's a very nice place to be at.

As one of the finishing touches to this project, we decided to order a rug from Kohl's. A nice item, with a color scheme that complements the room, and a surface that will offer protection from the chill of the wood floor as the weather turns cooler.

Once we'd selected it I fired up my iPad and placed my order thru the Kohl's website.

Or I tried to.

Their purchasing scheme is a familiar three-step process that loads purchasing information, then shipping information, and then provides a confirmation. But when I got to step 3 the website simply hung, never appearing to complete the sale.

I checked my email to see if there was any purchase confirmation and, seeing none, I shut down the website and tried again. Same result.

A little frustrated, I moved on to other things. A short while later I saw that an email came in congratulating me on the "Kohl's Cash" I had earned from my purchase. I still had no order confirmation, mind you, but now I had Kohl's Cash for placing an order.

And then a short time later a second, nearly identical email came in.

So I checked my credit card account and, sure enough, there were two identical pending purchases from Kohl's.

I called customer service and, after some clearly over-scripted back and forth ("I'll be so very happy to help you with your issue today...") the foreign gentleman on the other end of the phone tells me that I have not made any purchases. I make him aware that I do, in fact, see purchases on my credit card, and he tells me "those are not real; they will go away". He helps me place the order over the phone and, to his (and Kohl's) credit, offers me 15% off on my purchase.

A week or so later I received (you've probably guessed it): Three identical rugs.

I was telling some friends this story, and one asked if I'd placed the order on my iPad. When I indicated that I had, he suggested that may have been the problem - that the website had not been able to work successfully with the iPad's browser. And he could well be right - in fact, the same thought had occurred to me.

But here's the thing: It doesn't matter.

The iPad has been around now since 2010, and the iPhone came out three years before that. Literally hundreds of millions of mobile devices have been sold, with many people now using them as their primary, or only, means for accessing the Internet.

There is no excuse, now in late 2014, for any major retailer to have a website that doesn't work properly with a mobile browser. If that was the problem in the case of my purchase attempts, I can tell you that I have no intention of giving up on the purchase on my mobile device in order to seek out a "proper" computer to complete it. Rather, I just won't buy from that site.

In a world where the Internet offers hundreds of options for purchasing identical and similar items, it behooves a retailer to ensure that they aren't making it hard for a customer to give them money.

Now, to offer credit where credit is due, Kohl's does let you return online purchases at their brick and mortar stores (which saved me the trouble of figuring out how to ship the two unwanted rugs back). And, when I returned the items to the store, they were accepted quickly and graciously. As with the phone call, their customer service in person was very good. But they apparently haven't fully figured out this new-dangled internet thing.