Holly and I went out the other night for some retail therapy for her. My retail therapy comes when we buy a TV, but for now, we went to Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for lighting, fixtures and some furniture that we are going to need. Talk about two totally different experiences.
In both cases, we spent considerable time on their respective websites and perusing their catalogs so that we would be well prepared when we got to the stores. In both cases, we made a list of what we wanted, the price (lowest of course) and part number. It was our goal to go into the stores, find an associate give that person the list, have them write up our order and get out of dodge in time to grab dinner.
Let me caveat this whole post by saying that I hate going to the mall. I’d rather do almost anything than go to some overly crowded cavalcade of stores to watch people buy stuff that they can’t afford. It is almost as depressing as being in a casino without the buffet, free cocktails or show girls. Pulling into the parking lot alone starts a migraine for me.
First stop, Pottery Barn. I love Williams Sonoma, the parent company of Pottery Barn. We recently had to buy a new espresso maker and I went to WS due to their amazing lifetime warranty on all appliances. The staff was helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. I haven’t purchased too much from PB in my lifetime, but I expected much of the same. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. While the staff was nice, they were clearly trained by the Keystone Cops. They didn’t quite get it. There were problems with pricing, catalog versus stores versus special order versus internet orders. There was a sign in the front that stated if you spent over ‘X’ number of dollars, you could get discounts. We were spending well over ‘X’ and pretty disappointed to learn that our discount was that they would knock off 2 points on shipping. Wow, thanks for saving me all of 1% of my purchase. I realize that retail isn’t the highest margin business, but damn, 1%??? Come on guys. Show me a little love. I hope that a bad write up on this blog is worth it.
After 45 minutes of trying to figure out our order, we realized that our baby sitter window was closing rapidly. I ran over to Restoration with my list in hand. They also had a store versus catalog versus special order issue, however, they understood what was going on and I clearly wasn’t the first person to come in with a list. Rather than going point by point, they ran down the list and highlighted 2 items that they had in the store and brought them out to me. Cross those off the list. Secondly, they took me over to a terminal and we quickly ordered all of the items that weren’t in the store. ‘Oh great news, a bunch of this stuff is on sale.” said our associate. Finally, they opened another browser window and stumped me. It was the special order section and I needed Holly to help guide me on decoration ideas. I’m not great with colors and down cushions versus standard cushions.
I literally sat in Restoration and played chess on my phone for almost 30 minutes before Holly came in. I had already been in the store for about 30 minutes, so figure a good hour and 45 minutes in Pottery Barn. Ugh. Holly came in, made a couple of decisions. They added up our totals and sent us on our way. BTW, nothing is more painful than spending a whole bunch of money on things and leaving the store with house numbers and a towel rack. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it to dinner, but we recognize that we had unrealistic expectations in the first place.
Here is where things go sideways a bit. I suppose that we should have expected this, but when you buy a bunch of things, once in a while things are going to get screwed up in shipping. We’ve been really luck thus far, but we haven’t really ordered too much until the past week or so. We just started to get stuff in the mail and in two cases, we’ve received things in the wrong color. Not the end of the world, but a hassle. The reason we’ve ordered early is that we want to prepare for when things like this happen. Again, it’s good to be ahead of the curve.
Hardly the worst thing to happen. It should look great when they are installed.