When the training doesn’t stick (perhaps it did)

A recent experience at our local Target store just boils me. Ya know … the store employees might very well be pleasant and helpful and all. But not in my case. And certainly not this time.

The cashier scans my purchase … oops! wrong price shows on the register. It’s on sale; and the sale price isn’t showing. “I’m sorry, that’s the wrong price.” says I.

“Well, I didn’t do it.” says the cashier. (whoa there!)

Acknowledging that I understand it wasn’t his fault, I’m still looking for the sale price to be applied. At which I was told that I would have to go to the customer service desk.

Isn’t there some sort of rule that you don’t make the customer do the work when it’s your mistake? Why couldn’t the cashier ask the customer service folks or some team leader to come over and make the adjustment right there on the spot? Nope. I have to walk across the store to the magical customer service desk … only to be greeted by someone with the sourest look on his face.

“This is on sale, but the register rang it up wrong.” says I.

“Well then it can’t be on sale.” says the ever-so-frightful customer service rep.

“No. It was right there on the shelf with the sale price.” I retort.

“Maybe someone put it there by mistake.” replies the idiot.

Since when is picking an argument with a customer a good idea? Needless to say my temperature was boiling over by that point.


While walking out of the store … (I did manage to get the sale price after a 10-minute wait while they “confirmed” it first.) … I’m asking myself what kind of training did these people get? Did they even get any training at all? 

They probably did.

My guess is that it was a one-shot deal. The problem may not have been in the training, or its design. It could very well have been a fine piece of training. (I don’t know one way or the other really).

But the issue is that it is just a piece.


“We have well-trained employees. All of our employees receive full training.”

Big whoop! Is your culture one that requires excellence? Or what about support, coaching and accountability by and from the management? Are the so-called ‘well trained’ employees given opportunities to use the knowledge and skills taught?

And do you think that I’m going to shop at Target again?

And might I tell others about this frustrating, painful disaster?

About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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1 Response to When the training doesn’t stick (perhaps it did)

  1. nkilkenny says:

    Maybe this is just an “Instructional Designer” thing we see things from a training perspective. I’ve experienced the same thing… not at target but somewhere else. I think you’re right – they approach training employees like ‘dipping sheep.’ It’s hard when you have a company that has really high turnover with it’s employees. But still you’d think they’d put their people through a simulation or two. A lot of companies treat their employees as human plugs to get a chore done.

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