A woman says customers are getting so sick of stores constantly pushing their credit cards on them that they prefer to shop online that deal with the awkward in-store sales pitch.
Chances are high that when you go to a retailer—be it a home improvement store, a makeup shop, or anything in between—someone will try to get you to sign up for their store-branded credit card. While this has been part of retailers’ strategies for years (remember Macy’s and JCPenny cards?), it seems more and more places offer credit cards, and they’re more in your face about the sales pitches.
In a viral video, Ulta customer and TikTok user @awalmartparkinglot specifically called out retail executives for making the in-person shopping experience “absolutely fucking insufferable” with these constant credit card sales pitches.
“And this is why everyone shops online instead of you getting foot traffic in your little stores,” @awalmartparkinglot said.
In the TikTok, she explained that she rarely shops at Ulta in the store, but recently went in to get a few basics, like skin care, because she had a gift card. “Naturally, my $25 dollar gift card did turn into a $130 purchase,” @awalmartparkinglot said.
As soon as she walked up to the cashier, the person asked for her phone number, and @awalmartparkinglot politely declined. “I’m mad that your corporate overlords made you start with, ‘Can I get a phone number?’ Companies let humans have normal interactions, OK? Stop forcing your employees into a script. If they wanna say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ you know, stop giving people a script. It never works. It always comes off as disingenuous,” she pointed out.
The interaction was going fine until the worker’s manager, who was behind her, chimed in, asking if @awalmartparkinglot wanted to earn points on her purchase. Even though @awalmartparkinglot said she was fine, the manager launched into “the longest script I’ve ever heard in my life. It was so fucking awkward,” she said.
The TikToker added that she was sure the workers knew that their sales pitches turn customers off from wanting to shop in the stores.
“Some little fucker named Craig in a navy pinstripe suit is sitting at his desk, cheating on his wife, being so proud of his new plan to increase customer whatever the fuck,” @awalmartparkinglot said.
The video has 808,000 views and more than 2,500 comments, which mostly consist of people agreeing.
“real life unskippable ad,” the top comment read.
“Us retail employees don’t want to but we’re punished if we don’t get good loyalty stats,” a person said.
“Corporate makes working retail a hell. I worked at ulta and if we didn’t capture enough phone/member numbers our hours were cut,” another added.
Workers are feeling the pressure to sign more people up since this is often part of their performance expectations, but they hate it just as much as customers, this cashier said. Customers, on the other hand, say that it ruins their shopping experience and have called out brands for predatory practices, like faking that the credit card is actually a rewards card.
It’s not just @awalmartparkinglot’s imagination. Store-branded credit cards are a huge business for retailers, and some shoppers are even being prompted to sign up at self-checkout. This is indeed causing fatigue among many shoppers. While generally not a sound financial choice, some cards may come with benefits that make it worth it for certain consumers.
The Daily Dot reached out to @awalmartparkinglot and Ulta for comment via email.