28 February 2007

Style Dilemma: Combatting "You Get What You Pay For"

In a twist on our regular style dilemmas, Raven posted in response to You Get What You Pay For:

Can I just rant re: getting what you pay for? I ordered pants from JCrew online. They arrived in a hermetically sealed plastic bag, all creased and fresh-looking, tags still attached. Imagine my surprise when I reached into the pocket yesterday and came up with someone's hair elastic. With blonde hair matted in it. I also bought a sweater, which had five major pulls in it after wearing it to dinner one night. To dinner! I wasn't out playing rugby in it, for godssake. So, when dropping $200 at JCrew, I DO expect to get what I pay for -- unused pants and a sweater that lasts more than one evening. Pathetic.

When I asked if she'd taken either item back, she continued...

I'm not sure what to do. I feel like I should at least complain but wanted to wait until I simmered down a bit. Unfortunately I found the hair thingie at work, which means I had to sit around in the pants all day. Should I mail the hair elastic back to JCrew? I feel as if that might just be overkill. But sure would make me feel better. :)

Raven, until a couple of years ago, I was the Queen of Not Raising a Fuss. Then I got smart. Encouraged by CBear, a lifetime friend who is the Queen of Effective Letters to Ineffective Merchants, I slowly gained the ability to 1) ask about things in a store, 2) return something if it didn't work (gasp! I know!), and 3) raise bloody heck (firmly, civilly, but assertively, of course) if something I'd paid good money (or not such good money) for didn't live up to my expectations or showed that it was, in fact, of inexplicably poor quality. Like your $200 worth of clothes from what is a respectable national retailer.

So here's what I would do (it's not overkill in the least):

1) Go to the store, and take your sweater with you. J. Crew is one of those lovely places that (if I remember correctly) handles online-bought items in their stores, and vice versa. Explain the sweater situation. See what the response is. It may be nothing, a "I can't do anything about it"-type response, and you may have to end there, but if not, maybe they'll at least trade in the sweater or give you store credit. Especially when you explain that you've been a long-time purchaser - primarily because of their quality - you depend on them.

2) Regarding the hairy find in your pants pocket, get on the phone immediately and call customer service for the online people. Explain the situation nicely, but very firmly. My guess is, those pants were probably sold to someone else first, who wore them once, then returned. Maybe you could suggest that they check the pockets of returns more carefully.

In either case, don't be afraid to talk to the next person up the line if you think the person you first get isn't hearing you. I honestly have no idea if they'll do anything at all, but if you approach both situations with a "hey, I'm a loyal customer and I just want to let you know that my confidence in your product has dropped because of these two incidents," mentality - and be prepared to back it up (read: don't go there any more if you really don't trust their product quality any more) - then who knows what will happen.

At the very least, you've done your duty to the next gal buying pants. No more hairy elastics in pockets. Eeeeeeew!

And of course, you have to let us know how it turns out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All of my lightweight J Crew sweaters seem to come apart at the seams after very little wear. A couple of years ago, I emailed them about it and ended up with a gift card for the original value of the sweater. Try leaving the solution open and see what they suggest.