Mar 9, 2013

Last Saturday I had the worst experience I've ever had a department store. So bad in fact, that I felt I had to email the general manager about it. Since his response was dismissive, and unapologetic, I am starting the first installment of Coffee Talk with your opinion on the situation, and also to comment with your own department store horror stories.

Let's call this story "Impressions and Perceptions"....

Let me start out by saying that in my opinion, there are three versions of the truth: one person's version, another's, and the TRUTH. In a customer-based industry, like retail, this is not the case. There is what actually happened, and then there is what matters: which is the customer's version of the truth (="Perception"). 

I've worked in retail before so I know that sometimes appointments can get off on the wrong foot, but sometimes an employee has to make an effort to turn it around, or just say, "I'm sorry, I think we've been misunderstanding each other, can I at least get you a glass of water?" and that will tame someone's nerves.

Here is the situation, which I explained in an email to the General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue.

I didn't expect much from this email, just to really inform him. Did I expect this girl to get fired- no, absolutely not. Should she learn a lesson? Yes. All I needed was an "I'm sorry this happened, and I will address it immediately" from the GM. Instead I got this:

Again, "Impressions and Perceptions." Of course my friend Ali, not "Holly" is happy with her purchase. Wouldn't you be happy buying a Prada bag for $800 off? I would! Happy with her experience? That's a different story. Again impressions matter and a client's perception is really all that matters in a world where one bad review can really hurt. 

What are your thoughts on the situation, and what are some of your retail horror stories??

Looking forward to reading what your thoughts,

(Comment below)

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  1. Danielle, I thought that your letter was concise and quite non-judgmental, given the more than questionable treatment you and Ali were put through. I'll translate for you: "I don't really care if you shop at Saks. In fact, we're going to treat you poorly so you shop somewhere else in the future. We kind of get-off on treating people like they're below us and will continue to do so. The situation was handled to OUR satisfaction, so whazzup with you and "Holly" or whatever her name is. I'm the CEO and I've got a nice cushy office, so please, unless it's really a problem, don't bother me again! Sincerely, Jeff Schmo"
    Since actions speak louder than words, I'd take them at their word, Danielle, and use the power of your voice/blog to make a difference in the way that consumers are treated: i.e. Don't shop at Saks anymore!
    When I'm treated that way by a corporation, that has the choice of either treating me well, or treating me like I'm trying to pull a scam, I'm going to make a choice myself and never do business with them again. And the old adage is: "An angry customer will tell 10 people how upset she is. A happy one? Maybe a couple."

  2. wow haha call corporate and complain about them both

  3. You need to call corporate, asap!

  4. I would absolutely call corporate. This is an outrage. And Sabrina should be seriously put in her place. That kind of behavior is totally uncalled for.

  5. The way they treated you was horrid, and should have never occured. But I have to ask where do you shop that normally allows customers to return an item 60 days after it was purchased and used just because it showed dirt? I don't know many retailers who would have accepted that return at all. It's not like they will be able to sell it again.

    1. Neimans, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Macys all have unlimited return policies- there is no timeframe for your return. It is a way (since the recession) that stores are choosing to stand by the quality of their products by guaranteeing that you can return them if faulty over time. I used to work at Neiman Marcus and we would take returns years after they were purchased.