Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Catching up, and about the Road Runner Sports VIP Membership program

Two consecutive 70-hour workweeks have buried me into oblivion and I fell off the planet for a good while there.  As of yesterday afternoon, I am sifting through the rubble but at least I am finally able to come up for some real air.  Big lesson learned these past few weeks: Never take for granted the ability to take a deep breath (both literally and figuratively).

It goes without saying that I am horrifically behind on all of your blogs.  Please bear with me as I work to catch up!

Now I do exaggerate a little bit as despite getting slammed with work, I have done some fun stuff, too:
  • I met up with Erin last week for a great dinner at Nellcôte, which was a place that I've been wanting to try for quite some time.  (By the way, I couldn't figure out how to type the French-style "o" with the little carrot on top of it.  So I googled "Nellcote" to find a listing with the proper carrot-top "o" and then copied and pasted it here.  Yes, throughout the duration of my career I've written many reports in which I got review comments indicating that I was using the wrong type of comma.  I only wish I were kidding.  But I digress.)
  • This past weekend, I met up with Xaarlin for a windswept run along the lakefront path.  We both enjoyed the very unseasonably warm temperatures and I relished wearing shorts for what I am sure will be the last time this calendar year.
  • I attended a baby shower this past weekend for my friend Erica.  The vast majority of my closest friends do not have children, so this was actually the first baby shower I've ever attended.  I had heard stories about some of the crazy games that get played at baby showers, so I enjoyed that Erica's baby shower was nice and relaxed.
  • When I went to purchase a baby shower gift for Erica, I couldn't resist stopping at the brand-new Road Runner Sports (their first store location in Chicago) which was right next door.  Coincidentally, they were hosting packet pickup for Chicago's Perfect 10, which took place this past weekend.  So they had some food and beverage on hand, and were hosting some giveaways and drawings.

I've ordered from the Road Runner Sports website in the past.  I took advantage of a free shipping offer, and delivery was timely.  However, Road Runner Sports has a VIP membership which is $1.99 on their website.  The VIP membership gives you an extra 10% off your purchases plus access to a VIP customer service line and free shipping all the time. 

I had debated purchasing the VIP membership, but ultimately I chose not to.  The reason was because there are plenty of other retailers with similar or better prices that also offer free shipping, whether all the time or through promotions.  Plus, I've never utilized a customer service line (when I need professional advice I visit a store in person).

The night that I was at Road Runner Sports, though, they had a promo where everyone got an extra 10% off their purchase, but VIP members would get 20% off.  I found two great shirts and calculated that it would be more than worth the $1.99 VIP membership to get the extra 10% off.


Imagine my surprise as the cashier rang me up and the VIP membership came to $9.99.  I asked why it was $1.99 online but $9.99 in the store.  The cashier told me that it was actually $9.99 online now too.  She said they had just implemented a new membership price, and that the price might even rise beyond the $9.99 in the future.  But then she told me that she would give me a $10 gift certificate that I could use for my next purchase, so the membership would really be free. 

OK, fine.  Sold. 

But I should have known better.

When I got home, I looked on the Road Runner Sports website.  VIP Membership is still priced at $1.99, clear as day.  The cashier lied to me.

Also, the $10 gift certificate?  I read the fine print and it is only good off of a purchase of $75 or more.  In short, it's not really a gift certificate - it's a discount.  And not even a good one at that.  It's really no big deal to get $10 off of a $75 purchase.  Many retailers offer that all the time.

Going back to those VIP "benefits."  There are promo codes out there almost all the time for 10% off and free shipping.  As I mentioned, I never use customer service hotlines, so their VIP hotline is pretty much useless to me.  They also claim that your VIP benefits allow you a 90-day shoe trial period.  But plenty of other retailers also offer similar shoe trial periods with a no-questions-asked return policy - with or without a "membership."

This is how I would visually depict my experience with Road Runner Sports and their VIP Membership program.

In review, I am annoyed with my Road Runner Sports "VIP Membership."  If I had it to do over again, I would not have purchased it.  Granted, it was not a lot of money.  But it's so not worth it when so many other retailers, most notably Running Warehouse, give you all the same perks with no strings attached.

In the meantime, I'm going to try my hand at cancelling this membership as soon as I can.  I am not looking forward to what will probably be a lot of hoops to jump through during the process.

Buyer beware!


  1. That sucks, looks like they lost a customer!

  2. And the fine fine print of the VIP membership is that it costs $20+ a year after that. I cancelled mine this year. Running warehouse is much better IMO. Free 2 day shipping and no strings Attached!

    It was awesome running with you Sunday. I can't wait for mañana!!!!!

  3. Bummer! Thanks for the warning. They tried to hook me last time i was there, but i was luckily in a hurry.

  4. I'm not a fan either. I went for their grand opening weekend and I thought their emails made it sound like you'd get a discount on your purchase that day. Well I get to the register and find out you get the discount if you buy into the VIP program. I think they wanted either $9.99 or $19.99. I said in the past I had it for $1.99 online and they gave it to me for that. It was worth the discount I ended up getting, but was still annoying. I mostly shop at Runningwarehouse anyway.

  5. Whoa! So frustrating! I don't think I've ever bought anything from them and now I'll definitely avoid it. Especially if there are cheaper places out there without having to buy a membership.

  6. I am a VIP member at RRS and I find it quite helpful, actually. Their customer service is normally terrific and I bet if you called them and complained that the cashier appeared to not be honest with you that they would refund the $8. It's worth a shot....

  7. Yay welcome back!! You have been missed :) I hope your workload lightened up and you can enjoy the rest of the holiday season in peace and relaxation. I'm so sorry to hear about your awful experience with RRS. I went there (suburb store) a few days ago for the first time to pick up my Perfect 10 packet and was impressed with their selection of running gear. Good thing you warned me about their VIP program though, the extent that some places go just to make money is disgusting.

  8. If it makes you feel better with the whole being behind on blogs thing...I am with you which is why I am finally reading this post :)

  9. hey i also always buying new shoes with different brands last time i was buy shoes from road runner sport with using discount code form this site www.dealpromocodes.com