This past year Energi Gal and I finally tied the knot. As part of the process we decided to register at a number of places. We picked three stores:
Macy's - Macy's has a strong national presence, which is great when you live in the San Francisco and your guests are from Boston. It also has a strong Internet website, making it easy for anyone to buy gifts
Amazon.com - This choice surprised many of our family and friends, but each of them thought it was a fantastic idea. The best part is that it's always very easy to add nearly any item imaginable to the registry. The downside is that people couldn't walk into a store and see the item they are buying.
Sears - We really like Craftsman line of tools and this seemed like a natural place, especially considering that Home Depot doesn't much of a nationwide registry.
Grading the Registries
Macy's - Grade A - The selection was good and there were no problems along the way. For everything that people bought off of that registry, we got 5% of that added to a gift card. So if people bought a $1,000 gifts, we'd get a $50 credit card. On top of that, two weeks after our wedding Macy's gave us a coupon for some percentage off (10% or 20%) of anything that wasn't bought on our registry. It turned out that some of the things we wanted were already on sale - so we used the gift card bonus and it went a long way.
Amazon - Grade B - As I previously mentioned, Amazon had the best selection and people found it the most convenient. Many were happy to not pay shipping on several of the items we registered for. Everything was fantastic - until after the wedding. Amazon somehow retained our old Boston address as the shipping address for gifts bought after the wedding date. It seems like we only changed our shipping address, billing address, pre-wedding registry address. In most cases three out of four is not bad. Unfortunately this is not the case.
One person in my wife's family bought a gift, but it was shipped to our old address that we missed updating. Since we don't live there, it was returned to Amazon and their accounts were credited. We tried to explain this to Amazon, but there was nothing they could do. This has lead to a bit of a family feud. My wife had spent $1200 for this person's wedding and this person has seemingly taken this opportunity to escape giving a gift. "Escape giving a gift" may not be the best choice of words, but my wife's family have mentioned this to her a few times. We don't care about the gift, but my wife's family is up in arms about this. Anyway, it could have been avoided if Amazon had one place to update your address.
Sears - Grade F - I'm tempted to invent a few grade levels below F. The website of the registry has been broken for weeks. The e-mail address that we used as our username is no longer accepted. This means that while we can search and find our registry, we can't log in to update our registry. We got a gift, but they neglected to tell us who sent it. My wife has spent all day trying to get this information so that we can send a thank-you card. She's talked to 5 people from Sears - all five of them say the order number on our invoice doesn't exist. My wife was hung up twice and kept on hold for 45 minutes once. She spent a half hour at the store today and no one knows anything about wedding registries. No one at Sears can do anything to help us. They finally suggested that we write the corporate office a letter. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but overall we have little confidence that anything will come of it.
In short no one at Sears corporate cares about registries. It trickles down to every employee with their lack of training. My wife ended her last call by suggesting they cancel their registry program. It's cost them at least two regular costumers.
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