Tuesday, September 09, 2008

AE, you've lost my business forever. And my family's.

Back story: The mall near our house, The Mall in Columbia sends me emails of various specials going on there. Last week, it had a mention of American Eagle Outfitters. You could go in and try on jeans and get a free movie ticket; if you bought the jeans, you got 2 tickets.

What I did immediately: Went online to their store to see if they carried my size. Habit from 80 lbs ago, need to check if they even have my size. Well, they carry up to a 14 online, and since I am anywhere from a 10 to 14 now, I started looking at different styles. Initial plan was to just go try on some jeans and get free movie tickets. But, I saw a pair of dark blu flares for $30 that looked nice and I could justify the price by the 2 free movie tickets I would get.

At the store: Jeff, my sister and I walk in and there are 3 salespeople at the front door, talking. One of them truns to us and greets us. I asked him what sizes they carried in men's since I forgot to look online and he says "upto 42." Me: "Ok, do you have 38 or 40?" Him: "Oh no, you'll be better off ordering that online but we can ship it to your house for free if you order it here." Then, he turns around and goes off to do something very important. Now, having worked retail at Bed, Bath and Beyond in the last 6 months, I have learned that you get that sale if you can. You don't let the customer walk away. You ask if you can help them place the order right away etc. But, whatever.

Dressing room: My sister and I find some jeans and walk over to the dressing rooms. The same guy opens them for us. We try stuff on. I realize the size 14 I picked up was the wrong style so I try the size 12 flares and find them just a wee bit tight. Like, if I didn't want to eat or breathe, they'd be perfect. The guy comes back and gives us a movie ticket each and walks away as I am standing their holding the pair of jeans in my hands, mouth half open to start to ask a question.

The end: I walk out of the dressing room area adn the guy turns to me and asks if the jeans worked. I asked him to help me find 14s in the same style. He walks over to the jeans. while he's walking, I ask: "There was a pair of flares I saw online that were $29.50 and I don't see them here." His response, said with a really insulting tone: "I don't understand what you are asking me." Me, slightly flustered because I thought I spoke in perfect English, without mumbling: "Ummm there was a pair of dark blue flares I saw online ..." He cuts me off with: "Well these must be it," pointing to a rack of $50 jeans. Me: "No, they were $30 online." Him: "well, then you should just order them online." He then looked at the rack where I had originally pulled my jeans from, for maybe 10 seconds and points to my hands with: "I don't see those in a 14." He then walks away.

Just remember to read his words with a slight teenager like angst mixed with an insulting undertone.

I walked out of the store and I really just wanted to break something. Instead, I started crying. I wish I had gotten his name. I wish I'd had the nerve right there and then to tell him he was being insolent and insulting and that was no way to treat customers when you are in customer service. But, I didn't. I let him make me feel fat, unimportant, worthless.


Timnaat Zubedi said...

Ooooohh that got my blood boiling!! Please PLEASE take me with you in there next time and you know I WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT I SAY to that punk! Oh wait....I am all the way here is Africa...Shoot!

Anonymous said...

A well written Email to the company about their poor customer service, sexist and racist (why not throw it in) service. Should get you an apology or nice gift certificate.
Remember the retail market needs to keep all the customers they can. Plus even if you don't get the full pound of flesh we all desire you can make him sit thru some lecture on customer service as the wind blows thru is ears.