Dear GAP: Stop torturing Moms

Dear GAP and GAPKids executive,

I am not sure if you are a male or a female, or whether or not you have children.  Since that is the case, I would like to share with you a little bit about the shopping experience you have created for mothers.

I work outside the home as a full-time trauma surgeon.  Therefore, I do most of my shopping online (and also because you have better sales online that your stores do not honor, but that’s a whole other story).  Anyways, well, a month or so ago, I needed to go into one of your GAPKids stores with my almost 3 year old to try on some clothes, and see what sizes I would need for the summer.  I planned this shopping trip out – brought toys, the requisite iPad, limited his fluid intake that morning to prevent a “clean-up on aisle 4” moment, and even timed the trip so as not to interfere with his nap.  I found some items on sale, and joined the line to purchase them.

And that is where it all went downhill.  The young mother in front of me stepped up to the cashier, juggling a clearly unhappy baby, a stroller with a carseat attached, her diaper bag, and other shopping bags.  As she places her items onto the counter, and attempts to calm her infant, the salesperson asks, “Will you be using your GAP card today?”.  The mother replies “No, thank you”.  The whimpering has now turned to outright crying, and the sales lady asks again (before even beginning to ready or ring this poor woman’s purchases) “Would you like to open an account today?”  This mother, clearly frustrated, replies again, “NO thank you.”  The screeching then turned into all out red-faced bawling interspersed with moments of silence required for the small human to regain its breath.  The volume of the crying then requires the salesperson to actually raise her voice to be heard over the probably hungry and forced to breastfeed in a bathroom baby (sorry, that’s another story)  in order to launch into the spiel on “Don’t you want to save x percent on your purchase today, and here are all of the benefits of the card, blah blah.”  This mother, who is much more patient than I, as she is juggling her bags, her hungry baby, and her stroller, replies “NO!”

Then, and only then, does the salesperson begin to ring her purchases.  This wasn’t even happening to me, and I was beyond irritated.

Throughout this, my almost 3 year old starts to get antsy, and is upset by the wailing baby.  So, after watching this interchange, I figure I could bypass the credit card crap, get my purchases, and be out the door before Niagara Falls suddenly appears from my kid’s shorts and onto your floor.

I ready myself.  I step up to the plate, place my purchases on the counter.  The salesperson begins, “Will you be using your GAP Card today?”  I respond, “No, and no I don’t want to open one, and yes I am aware of all of its benefits, Thank you.”  Polite, but firm.  In my head, I’m like, “SCORE!”.  But yet, I underestimated my opponent.  She responds, “Oh, well I’ve never had someone do that before.”  In my head I reply, “Oh, well I’ve never watched someone torture a baby before”, but instead I just simply smile and begin to de-hanger the clothing I want to purchase as a hint to move this along.  Yet again, I have underestimated her.  She then says, “Have you ever worked in retail?”.  And since I in fact have, at 3 different clothing stores during college, I respond in the affirmative.  “Well,” she says, “Then you understand – we get in trouble if we don’t ask all these questions and say these things.”  Although I am lucky enough to have not worked for a company that requires the torment of their customers, I didn’t respond to this insane comment other than to simply smile and bite my tongue in half.

So here is where I am going to break it down for you, GAP executive.

Moms are the ones doing the shopping for their infants and young children.  Moms represent a more than 2 TRILLION dollar market.  The vast majority of the time, moms bring their children with them to shop.

There is no running in and out of a store when you are shopping with your children.  Shopping with young children is like shopping with ticking time bombs… filled with tears, pee, poop, breast milk and/or formula… which at any moment could explode and send bodily fluids onto any and every possible surface.  Shopping with young children is like a military expedition with a ticking time bomb: There are checklists to confirm supplies; timing of naps, feedings, and potty sessions are carefully considered; local nursing and bathroom facilities have to be identified… and God forbid, the iPad isn’t fully charged.

So why are you making it more difficult for us?  Why are you slowing down the checkout process?  Why are you ignoring your customers who are juggling at least 5 humans and/or objects at once?  And WHY are your employees getting in “trouble” if they don’t harass and harangue us?

You are not the only clothing store with fashionable clothing for children.  But you are the only store in which the checkout process is slowed in order to harass the customers.  I’m not sure what your marketing plan is, but this doesn’t work.  Trust me, moms would be way more enthusiastic about a rewards program.  Just ask Gymboree or Carter’s – I think they are doing pretty okay financially.

I don’t need to be bullied into getting your credit card.  Guess what?  If I want it, I will gladly sign up for it, and don’t need to be talked into it.  And when I say “No”, guess what?  I mean it.  You guys are worse than my 3 year at listening… but at least I can put him in a time out for making me repeat myself.

In closing, please re-think your checkout process.  Please put yourselves in our shoes, your customers with offspring.  I think you can do this better.


A non-GAP card holding customer

3 thoughts on “Dear GAP: Stop torturing Moms

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