Last Saturday, I was at Yorkdale. The visit wouldn’t have been complete without a peek inside the long-awaited Tiffany store. (Anyone know why it was at least six months in the making and not open for the holiday season?)
I have two pieces of Tiffany silver jewelry - an Elsa Peretti “e” necklace and a link bracelet. I’d always been told Tiffany would clean them for life for me for free.
A couple months ago, I broke the delicate chain on the necklace. At the time, the Bloor St. location wasn’t as convenient as Yorkdale. So, I decided to wait and have an excuse to visit the new store.
As for my necklace, I did a dumb thing and didn’t put it back in it’s tarnish-resistant case while I was waiting to take it for repairs. I’ll know better for next time. In the meantime, I understand it will come back to me looking as good as new. (Note: for silver jewelry more than a year old, there is a repair charge.)
Since I was there, it only made sense to have my bracelet cleaned at the same time, right?
I was quite surprised when I saw a price list for silver cleaning at the customer service desk. The lovely and apologetic woman at the desk explained that they had to follow the policies at Tiffany New York and the policy changed last December. She went on to say how they now use a muti-step process which is more costly. For one-time only, I agreed to have my bracelet cleaned - partly because I had already handed it over.
When I returned a few hours later to pick up my bracelet, the woman in front of me was there to have her silver jewelry cleaned as well. She was shocked to learn about newly-implemented charges and went on to explain how she travels all over the world and never paid to have her jewelry cleaned at any of the Tiffany stores along the way. Glad to know I wasn’t the only customer who recalled the free cleaning service.
Times are tough, retailers are clamping down and I’m far from the typical Tiffany customer. However, this new policy made me think a lot about the Tiffany brand as a leader in customer service and how it’s being compromised during the recession. Aren’t there other ways retailers can trim expenses without having to hurt their long-established traditions of excellent customer service?
Unlike the Bloor St. store, Tiffany Yorkdale, is quite stripped down, although extremely busy and Tiffany blue bags can be seen throughout the mall. I wouldn’t have thought any less of them if the customer service desk wasn’t made of thick marble. Wonder how many cleaning charges it will take to pay for that?
As for me, next time I’ll save the $10 and polish it myself. ($10 goes along way when it comes to jewelry cleaning products that last forever, even Tiffany offers a wide-range of home cleaning solutions starting at $5 and up.)