I had a terrible incident at the Emeryville store, detailed in-depth below. I was made to feel so bad after going through it that I was compelled to email someone who could in their company who could help me overcome the nightmare West Elm put me through after my partner and I spent thousands of dollars there. I finally broke through to the District Manager, Leslie Kendall.
Leslie scheduled a time to speak with me. She flaked on the call, taking my time for granted. I emailed for follow up and she continued to put off the resolution, delivering a series of poor excuses. Even after she called, she was hurried on the phone and tried to rush me off because she was not interested in being helpful. She asked to get back to me the next day so she could have the afternoon to follow up with the store. She went on vacation instead and replied a week late with no no resolution in hand.
This has been, hands down, the most disappointing experience I've ever had with a retail company.
EMAIL TO LESLIE:
My partner and I came to the store to swap out a bedding set for two planters and other items. I had spoken to an online chat representative, who assured me the Emeryville location had enough stock to sell before we made the trip out. When we arrived, I spotted a planter I intended to purchase displayed on the center sale table. It was a challenge to get anyone to help us and we mulled around for a while before I grabbed an associate to come check us out.
The associate was busy and passed us off to another sales person named Jennifer. Jennifer was lethargic and not very helpful. I gave clear direction on the list of items I wanted to buy. She seemed tired and didn't know what items were in the store, showed no interest to help search for anything and told us to help ourselves at a computer and then tried to leave. I pulled her back and after half an hour of explanations, I ended up finding the items I needed myself and handed her the sale to clerk me out at the register.
After nearly 45 minutes in the store, at checkout, Jennifer explained that she was not going to sell us one of the planters because it was the last available and it had to remain on the floor--despite being scuffed. Jennifer didn't mention this at anytime before we got to the register. Not only was this frustrating, as we had spent enough time just trying to learn how to communicate with her, but that we were also told the stock was available by a customer service representative beforehand. Jennifer was combative and proceeded to argue with us, telling us there was no way to check store stock online (there is if you chat with a customer service representative), and said we'll have to "just order the planter online". We explained to her we had no interest in doing so.
This was a disappointing experience because, to date, my partner and I have spent over $30,000 in the last two months on the Andes couch, two credenzas, the Reeves table, a dining room table and chair set, two side tables, a filing cabinet, bookshelf, bar cabinet and many other items to re-furnish our homes; all from the Emeryville store. Each time we schedule a delivery and take time off work to plan for the arrival, we've run into significant issues. They include: misquoted delivery dates, overstated and double-billed shipping charges, missed delivery windows, false production timelines. Just to name a few (we have the email chains and receipts to confirm these experiences).
We recapped our sentiment to Jennifer and asked to carry out the items we came in for. Jennifer said she would not continue with the sale because "her manager already said no", despite never witnessing her interact with anyone else. I asked to speak to the manager myself. Jennifer visibly rolled her eyes, sighed, and then proceeded to call them on her headset. A manager (Tim/Tom?) came over. He was indignant and rude and made my partner and me feel as though we were inconveniencing him to do his job. None the less, I continued to explain to him we came to the store because we assumed the stock was guaranteed based on my discussion with a customer service member an hour earlier, that we had spent enough time with Jennifer for her to have done a stock check well in advance, and that we planned to leave with the items.
The manager continued to engage in backhanded commentary, letting us know he had "many clients who cross the bridge and then have to leave empty handed" and proceeded to go into a snide monologue explaining reasons why other tactile-minded shoppers need to "see" and "feel" product-- specifically planters-- which they would not ordinarily be able to determine size and dimension from the measurements listed on West Elm's website. Having wasted enough time, at that point, I let them both know that I would either buy all the items or none of them.
The manager scurried away. A few moments had passed and Jennifer then told us that, "to make the situation right", she would sell us the second planter. All was fine, until we completed the sale. An operations associate pulled the planter off display and brought it to us alongside Jennifer, who had the rest of our items in tow. It was at that moment that Jennifer proceeded to take it upon herself to block our exit and lecture me and my partner about the privilege of spending money at West Elm. She decided it was appropriate to educate us both, in a condescending tone, on the rules and regulations of the store, that it was "never okay to assume anything", and reiterated that the sale I had just made was a "one time only exception that would NEVER happen again".
I understand that, at times, certain exceptions are made to accommodate customers. And this was most certainly a time when an accommodation should have organically been made because of the frequent and ongoing challenges with we've had with West Elm thus far. What felt most disrespectful however, was Jennifer and her manager's entitled need to make their off-putting opinions known in such a public display of negativity and patronizing superiority.
I, appropriately, stopped Jennifer mid-sentence to correct her and let her know that in retail, when a customer spends ANY money, they are not to be talked down to. I further explained that it was no "exception" to either of us to feel as though we needed to have a right to spend money at West Elm. We will shop whenever and wherever we so please and expect a smile and polite service along the way, at the very least.
Jennifer threw her hands up at us, continued to yell in our faces, and ran off. After having so many issues with West Elm, we've continued to patronize the business and have finally realized we will NEVER do so again. We found the tail end of our visit to be so exceptionally rude and beyond the limits of appropriate public behavior by a sales person and a manager. To that end, we've decided to express our concern in terms of the time we lost, which is valuable, and expect to be reimbursed for the amount wasted during the entirety of our visit at the store. If West Elm's associates find it appropriate to demean customers, then those same associates should also be willing to pay customers back for their time spent being put in uncomfortable (and uncalled for) situations. Please let me know what amount you think is fair and how and when we can expect a resolution to this situation.
Product or Service Mentioned: West Elm Manager.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $1000.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I didn't like: Delivery time frame, Customer service response, Operational processes, No compensation offered, Store experience.