Monday, March 14, 2011

Not So Great Service

On our roadtrip yesterday, we went to three excellent quilt shops--So Sew in Marysville, Honey Run in Chico, and Morning Star in Paradise--and one not so excellent quilt shop. Why not so excellent? Well, let me tell you.

There are four quilt shops up in the Chico area that give customers a 10% discount if they bring in a special lightweight nylon bag that they also sell. After stopping at the shops mentioned above, Gran wanted to visit another little shop that's one of the four shops that offers the discount. I wasn't very interested as I didn't think I'd find anything--they specialize in 30s fabrics and 1800s fabric and I wasn't looking for either--but I went along with the plan. I didn't, however, bring my discount bag into the shop.

After looking around a bit, I was somewhat surprised to find a couple things I WAS interested in--a Peter Rabbit panel, a yard of coordinating fabric, and a BOM-type embroidery pattern. The shop owner cut the yard of fabric for me and her assistant took the bolt over to the register (about two steps away) and started hand writing up a sales ticket. (Yes, they're still doing business in the 20th century in this particular shop.) I set the embroidery pattern down with the panel on the counter, and I told the assistant I had my bag in the car; did she need me to go out and get it for the discount? "Yes," I was told. So I rather grudgingly trudged out to the car to get my bag while she wrote up the ticket.

I came back in, she told me the total, and I handed her my debit card. After she chiseled the number onto stone and sent it off to the bank via carrier pidgeon (okay, a bit of an exaggeration--you caught me!), she had me sign the ticket. As I was signing, the shop owner turned and asked if the yard of fabric she still had was mine.

Well, after that, it got kind of goofy with the assistant telling me that I hadn't TOLD her that was my fabric and with ME telling her that she'd already WRITTEN IT UP on the sales slip before I even gave her the rest of my purchases, but sure enough, there were only the two items on the sales ticket, and I was purchasing THREE items.

So we went through the stone chiseling/carrier pidgeon process again for a second ticket for the yard of fabric. At some point, the assistant said, "Well, I need the NUMBER of the fabric," and I told her she HAD it because she'd taken the bolt to write it down and the bolt was still at her feet! She seemed a little flustered, but she didn't take the time to figure out what she had done. In fact, in talking to my friends later, they had the impression as she followed us around the shop that she was watching to see if we were there to shoplift, so maybe she was already primed to think we were trying to get away with something.

Very unpleasant. The woman was an idiot. And for the most part, except to tell the assistant to write another ticket, the owner ignored the entire incident as she was waiting on another woman in our group. I really don't think I'll go back again.

And today? It suddenly occurred to me what had happened, and when I checked, I found I was right. The assistant HAD written down the fabric on the first sales slip. Then when she saw my purchases, she ASSUMED the panel was the yard of fabric and didn't write that down. And you know how panels are quite often less than a yard? So on top of the hassle, I was overcharged for the panel. Yep, not going back.

Don't you just hate it when you have that kind of experience? As small as the issue really is when put in perspective, it just seems to cloud an otherwise terrific day.

20 comments:

Kris said...

Not really a small issue I think. Being overcharged is a big deal. In fact, it's stealing on behalf of the shop. You should be treated well whenever you enter a shop. Even if you don't buy anything. It's just common courtesy.

Alicia said...

I agree with Kris! and you, of course! In this day of shopping online SO easily, a brick-n-mortar shop better be offering the BEST of service without fail. Else why bother to shop there? Exactly! I'm glad you had the enjoyment of your friends, though. Wow, four quilt shops in one area...

Appalachian Quilts said...

I agree with the poor customer service. However, shoplifting is so out of control these days that it is somewhat understandable that you were 'watched'. We had ladies sliding all of the yardage off of a bolt and slipping it under their coats....cutting off pieces with their own scissors....stuffing patterns in their purses.... We prosecuted and made it known that we had. We made light of the incident with customers...joking that if they felt like they were being watched, it was because they were. We were in a good area...so that wasn't the problem. It is just a sign of the times, so please don't be offended by that part. However, the owner and the clerk should have been falling all over you in appreciation that in these economic times, you chose to buy a little something from them! :)

Betty Lou said...

I have been to Honey Run---love that shop.

If shop owners only knew how their actions can taint the opions of good, money spending customers. I have been in shops where no one talks to you and you have to pinch yourself to see if you might be invisible, or other shops that greet you the minute you walk in the front door no matter how busy they are.

It doesn't take a genius to know which shop you will go back to.

9patchnurse said...

It's hard to believe that anyone can be in business and not know basic customer service. All they had to do was be cheerful, say 'oops, let's figure this out' and be appreciative of your patience. There aren't many LQS near me and one of them I won't go to. The women who work there are snooty and make me feel unwanted. So I won't spend my time going there, just not worth it.

Brandie said...

So sorry! I hate when that happens, specially when you are out of town! Not one of my favorite places either.

Scraphappy said...

Unreal what Appalachian Quilts said! It's amazing that people would have the nerve to do that - gives all quilters a bad name! I had a quilt shop owner - and a used bookstore owner - both tell me, when I asked if they'd accept personal checks - that they always accepted them, because that type of customer they felt could always be trusted! We are for the most part a trustworthy group - as one of the owners said - we want to make sure we can revisit that store! (to support our habit).

One shop, near the site of a quilt retreat I go to frequently, has given just stellar service - sure wish it were closer to home. I noticed, when I got home, that they had charged my credit card twice for the balance, due to a glitch in their system, and it just took a phone call to take care of that. Another time, I told the clerk (same shop) to cut me 9 yards of a fabric I'd chosen for a backing, - got home and started to piece the backing, and found it was 7 1/2 yds! (I had auditioned another fabric, but had to decline it when it measured just 7 1/2 yds on the bolt and I think she had that in mind). Again, just a phone call - and she took my word for this that I only had 7 1/2 yds, and had paid for 9! I had the missing yardage in the mail within days. I WILL go back there as often as I can - love that store!
(Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book).

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

Oh it just sours the whole experience for me when things like that happen. Honest mistakes I have no problem with, but when she tries to argue with you and gets all goofy~ too much! I wouldn't go back either, but I'd call and talk to the owner~ she needs to know her employee is costing her business. I hope you have a good week!

nikki said...

I agree with Sandie, you should let the store owner know, as if she doesn't know what's wrong she wont have the opportunity to put it right! if she is not apologetic then you know never to go there again.

Sinta Renee said...

I wonder if shop owners know that part of what makes their shop is the experience. It should be a warm, friendly atmosphere... and professional would be nice too! Which shop was that???

Wendy said...

My goodness, I would not go back either.....I love a shop that is friendly and has great customer service.....such as being polite....I would let the store owner know that you were indeed overcharged and that you felt you were treated badly....after all you spent hard earned money in her shop and she should know that her customer service is so lacking that she is losing customers over it.....at least then maybe she can change how things are done and make right what happened to you....there is a local store here that I refuse to go in because the owner herself is hateful to everyone who comes in....acts like she hates to be bothered.....I now take my business 40 miles away to a lovely quilt shop with great customer service and its worth the drive to me......

Greenmare said...

funny how one crappy incident leaves that taste in your head, when all it would take is for the owner to have been a good business woman and helped out and you would want to go back. gosh even an appology for the goof up would have helped, after all, the customer is always right! right?

Sandy said...

Hi Kim! I'm pretty sure I know which shop you are speaking of. Don't feel bad, they treat just about everyone that way, including their fabric reps. I have a friend that sells for a very well known fabric company and they are rude to her as well. The only time I visit that shop is when they are part of the River Run Shop Hop and then I just get my passport stamped and leave. I feel like most quilters and shop owners are a wonderfully helpful and friendly bunch but I am always amazed at the number of shop owners who are snippy and awful. Like you, I won't go back to these shops to spend my hard earned money. I would rather give it to a shop who appreciates my patronage.

Hand Quilting Nana said...

Quilt shops are reflective of society as a whole I am sorry to say. Bad customer service everywhere. Rude clerks. My answer to that is to shop online. Avoid people at all costs.

But I live in Georgia and we do have the rudest clerks I have met anywhere and I have traveled to nearly every state.

Sorry to be so down on people but I had two bad experiences today with clerks although not in quilt stores.

The quilt stores in my area are all closing.

Linda

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Not a pleasant way to run an actual storefront when the internet is just so handy. Bummer that you had a bad experience in one of the shops. At least the other three were better experiences.

Julie said...

Where was I when you were being over charged??? I fyou can believe this, that same clerk wanted to under charge me (by $7.00 no less) and would have if the owner hadn't checked the ticket. Like you I was surprised by the chiseling and carrier pigeon act. No one uses that old system. I even forgot to ask for my carbons from the sales slip.

It was just so much fun!

Nicole said...

Wow, I am trying to figure out which shop treated you so poorly so I can avoid it! What a miserable experience. There is a shop on the SF Peninsula that I rarely go into. The lighting in the shop is just terrible, but mainly I don't like it because the cutting table is way at the back of the shop. Of course that is where the sales clerks perch on stools, usually EATING something right there on the cutting table. The place always smells like their food, and I want to ask them to 409 the cutting table before they cut my fabric! Yuck. Some folks just do not thing things through.

Vicky said...

At least you have three other good shops nearby to visit, because that shop won't be around long with that kind of attitude and customer service.

Deb said...

Don't they realize that the customer service in actual stores is what brings the customer in? Otherwise, you could purchase everything you need on-line and not have to deal with the public, or may the cost of gas to travel there. A friend of mine who owns a fabric store has seen a decrease in her business just because of the economy and gas prices, and folks going to shopping on-line and she has great customer service, so I'd hate to be a store where you don't - you won't last long.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog when I googled the words "quilt stores" + "rude clerks". My quilting friends/family and I have been on this subject lately because of all the bad experiences we've had. We just don't get it. You use your gas to drive to a store and spend your time and money there and you get grief. There are several like that in my area (Ohio) and I swore off one this week when I decided I'd had enough. Instead of the customer always being right these people deem the customer always wrong. The final straw was when I picked up some remnants from the remnant basket and found one of them was half the size it should have been. I had to drive back to the store to get my money back ($3.57) and the clerks tried to act like it was my mistake. Basically, whether by accident or not, I had been cheated, and they gave me grief over it. So I will never go in there again. They lost me as a customer over $3.57 that they had messed up to begin with. This was the last of several incidents that I had experienced there (Quilt Beginnings) and I'm done.