The grocery delivery company's fantastic customer service is maybe a little too good.
If you are a millenial or have ever fallen prey to a gym in January, this has probably happened to you: You sign up for a free trial of something, and then fail to use it. You see the bill, and make a mental note to cancel it, but it gets moved down your to-do list until the following month, when you notice the bill again and make the mental note again—repeat ad infinitum.
Welcome to my life.
The worst is when you can't simply head to a website and unsubscribe, but they make you actually call in to a person to tell them that you want to cancel. I’m lazy—not like disgusting-house-lazy, but more like my-car-needed-an-oil-change-a-thousand-miles-ago-lazy. So a small thing (like canceling a subscription) can lead to me letting the charges pile up, month after month, until I just can't stand it.
In my heart of hearts, I know that this because I hate using my phone. (You know, for calls.)
Companies know this. Which is why, more and more, it seems like the only way to cancel things is with a telephone call.
I always sign up for things with the best of intentions—like the gym! But… I was still signed up for my NYC gym four months after I moved away. My chore-avoidance bought me a total of $400 in charges for a service it was physically impossible to use. And, like most of America, I signed up for HBO Now to watch Game of Thrones. Which hasn’t been on in a year. Guess who’s still paying for that. Yeah.
Or—and maybe this has happened to you—I decided to optimize my life by getting groceries delivered and putting the extra time into prepping out healthy meals each week. That's how I ended up with a subscription to Shipt that I used exactly no times.
Now, no, I don’t have a lot (or really any) money, but I imagined myself with a fully-stocked kitchen simmering homemade stock on Sunday afternoons. And at just $14 dollars a month, it seemed like a good deal.
So, after I ran out of my free trial period without using it, and then seeing the $14 come out of my account not once but twice, I went to the site to find out how to cancel my subscription.
I wondered aloud here in the Cooking Light offices, “How do you quit Shipt?!” A clever coworker consulted the oracle (Google) and discovered the thing I dreaded: you have to call. On a phone. And talk to a person.
It’s almost impossible to find this information on their site, by the way.
I considered just staying signed up for it. What's $14 a month compared to dealing with endless Kenny G. hold music, surly customer service or worse, nice customer service that I won’t be able to stand up to because I am notoriously terrible at saying no. That Go-Fund-Me with one donor? It’s me.
Then I reluctantly picked up the phone and dialed. I was immediately put on hold, so I continued to scroll around on the site and discovered one of those ubiquitous pop-up chat boxes. So, I struck up a conversation with Norma D.
Norma D. didn’t need any of my information, her internet hoodoo told her my account. After I typed that I’d like to cancel, she said, Okay! Let me give you a refund for the months you’ve already paid since you didn’t use the service at all.
Wow, I thought, these people are so nice! Norma D. then offered me two months to take advantage of Shipt at no charge, it seemed churlish to refuse. Also, she apologized for my wait (which was maybe a minute at most).
In the meantime my phone call was answered by Jason C. He apologized for the wait, and also tried to cancel my membership for me. He, too, was extremely pleasant. But I let him know Norma D. was on the case, so he pleasantly wished me a good day and we hung up.
I finished the transaction, feeling like a Grown-Up Who Gets Stuff Done. “I quit Shipt!” I told my boss, and explained what had happened.
He looked at me, blinked a couple of times, and then very nicely said, “... but… you are still signed up, right? And they’ll start charging you again in two months?”
I tried to quit Shipt. I thought I had quit Shipt, but Norma and her friendly initial played me like the skilled customer service operative that she is, and I was still on the hook.
So then, as a real grown-up who uses the telephone in a mature manner, I called back and spoke with Jim T. Jim told me that my Shipt account would be free until mid October. He asked me if I wanted to keep the service, with the promise that my card wouldn’t be charged. When I explained that, no, I just wanted to actually not have an account anymore, he sounded sad, sort of like I was breaking up with him.
So I apologized like someone who had just done Jim T. a grave ill. But I persisted. Finally, we all agreed I could stop having my Shipt account, and it was done. And I felt good—but also sort of like I should send Jim T. a card.
So, that's what it took for me to finally quit Shipt. Honestly, it's not that difficult, but it's certainly more involved than simply clicking a button. Which, I'm sure, is the point.