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February 4, 2013

All I Wanted Was a Pillow

by cullof

Pillows are silly expensive– I actually saw one in Bed, Bath & Beyond with a price tag of $156. That’s just for one, hopefully exceedingly comfortable pillow. After coming back from break I realized I hadn’t brought back the two pillows I had brought home and now I was without proper comfort in my Barracks Rd apartment.

I assessed my options. By C’Ville standards Target is just too far away, and Walmart just didn’t feel like the place to buy a new pillow. So I rushed into Bed, Bath & Beyond at 8:30 0n a random Tuesday night kinda surprised it was open at all.

I quickly got lost in the high-ceiling maze of products that inundates a typical BB&B retail store. After nearly colliding with an employee restocking from a high-ladder I took my eyes off my iPhone and committed myself to finding the pillow I wanted. Eventually I found the pillow section, selected the appropriate fluffiness level, and fought my way back through the maze in order to pay.

Only one cashier was on duty at this hour and she was actually restocking shelves nearly the front. As I waited for her to open the cash register we exchanged the general pleasantries of the retail exchange. I generally find that by Southern standards I’m unusually curt, but by my own Northern standards I’m quite friendly.

Midway through the pillow-buying transaction the cashier, Martha, starts into an obviously well-rehearsed spiel about their loyalty card, which I quickly dismiss. In actuality, I rudely cut her off in the middle of the spiel, because I was quite certain that I did not want to save 10% now only to be roped into a relationship with BB&B.

She laughed as she finished and told me “I guess I could have stopped when you said no the first time, but they make sure we ask everyone.” We shared a bit of a laugh over this blanket strategy, but really why does BB&B want everyone in their loyalty program? It makes sense for grocery retail but as a 22 year-old male graduate student I can’t fit the profile of even a typical BB&B customer let alone a loyal one.

I think loyalty programs are leaving behind the basics of any advertising program: Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning.Throwing cards at everyone does not really get at the heart of a good loyalty program and certainly misunderstands the typical consumer.

All I wanted was a pillow, not a relationship with Bed, Bath & Beyond. Next time I’ll drive the extra distance to Target.


F. Cullo

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