Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Help Wanted: Carter's Store in Michigan City

HELP WANTED: Went to the Carter's store in Michigan city to return a duplicate infant outfit.

I've never been much of a kid person, so as the new Mother of a charming three month old Cupcake you can imagine my confusion when it comes to baby clothing! Everything is presented in a range like 0-3 months, 3-6 months and so forth...BUT depending on the actual SIZE of your kid they may not follow the typical monthly sizing. Our dearest Cherub, for example, wears a cloth diaper and diaper cover so her heiny is COMICALLY ENORMOUS and this requires larger sizes. Given that I am not so great juggling math, trying to figure out what size she could be in a month or two plus adding size for her Big Bottomed Girl Self and adjusting for potential change of seasons I am pretty overwhelmed when I finally do have to shop for her.

My dear Father bought The Princess an adorable Carter's outfit we already had, so I took it to their store in Michigan City Indiana to exchange it for something different. The girl who greeted me immediately went to get a manager before even looking at my return. I would think returns or exchanges(the easier of the two) would be very common and that all staff would be equipped and confident in handling them. Maybe she was brand new there? The manager glanced at my offering and even without a receipt she cheerily said "Go ahead and pick something else out!" I was delighted and began to cruise the store. My delight faded quickly.

The floor plan of the store was haphazard with little girl clothes strewn throughout and no organization for items and their uses as far as my untrained eye could see. I was interested in bibs, shoes and sunhats, perhaps a bathing suit. I had to ask for help locating items twice...the first question for bibs gained a vague wave and "They are with outfits." from the first girl who greeted me. I made a few comments about feeling confused and overwhelmed buying baby clothes. Then I asked for infant bathing suits and the same girl waved towards the back wall saying "Three months? I dunno you will have to look over there." I didn't feel like they were too busy to help me more effectively, just too disinterested. Did I mention my Mother-In-Love was waiting in the car with my aforementioned Enfant Terrible?

The price tag on the outfit was $24 marked down to $18, so that is the amount I was trying to spend in exchange...or so I thought! After wandering through the store several times I had selected five items I would need to narrow down to four to stay under my exchange amount. When I plunked the down on the counter I said "Twenty four dollars, right? I'm trying to decide which of these to get." The manager cheerily replied, "Actually this outfit is on clearance and valued at seven dollars, so that is your exchange amount." SEVEN DOLLARS? Are you kidding me? I asked if they had any other outfit sets like this I could exchange and she said no. She said I could just pick a different size, but I explained I already had this set. I was still new to baby togs...I was thinking like an adult where you would not want two of the same outfit! I settled on one pair of tiny pants and completed my transaction.

I left the Carter's store frustrated and unimpressed. It didn't seem like a great deal to trade in a three piece outfit for one pair of pants my Babe will wear for fifteen seconds before she grows out of them. After I was 20 minutes into my drive home, I realized I would have gotten a much better deal if I had simply exchanged the same outfit in a much larger size, say a 15 month size Our Darling could wear next Spring...wouldn't it have been great if the Manager had been helpful with that solution? Since I was so obviously desperate for help it would have been nice if she had explained that I could buy a larger size of the same outfit for NEXT Spring...I was too clueless to figure that out until I was already on the highway home. ALAS. A hard lesson learned.

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