That's how easy for some it is. Go to their website and register to win something and they pre approve you for credit. It happened to me with American Signature Furniture (aka Value City Furniture).
IIRC, it was a soft hit on EX so no punishment for a cold app.
You got me curious about Value City so I went to check out stuff on their website. They have a link on their website to enter a contest to win a shopping spree, so I thought what the heck I'll enter. When I entered my name and address information, the next screen stated that I was preapproved for their credit card with a $1k limit. I don't know if they did a soft or not, I've read here that they don't need your SSN to do that. I didn't go through with the application because I don't need the card, but it might be something you want to investigate doing to see what your results might be.
Here's the link Value City Sweepstakes
Just did the same thing and go the same results.