So, my younger son had been wearing his new running shoes when one of the elastic laces snapped…
(Let me preface this rant by saying he had last spring’s version of the same slip-on running shoe – he wore them into the ground – and never had a problem with the laces. They’re an interesting alternative to Velcro and are more socially acceptable for older kids.)
On the weekend, I went to the Adrian’s where we bought his shoes. It’s a rare breed, one of the few stores carrying children’s footwear that actually still fits children properly. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to put up with their attitude (something we’ver] experienced several times.)
I asked them if they knew how I could fix the shoes. The immediate reaction of the first woman I spoke with was to tell me she’d she if they had another pair in his size but she thought they were sold out.
Me: Waaaaiiitt a minute! It’s just a lace, the rest of the shoe is totally fine. I was asking to see if something could be done to fix them and if you’ve ever had this problem before.”
Her: “You can remove the elastic and replace it with a regular shoelace.”
Me: “Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the shoes?”
The owner was in the store so I proceeded to ask her. I surely didn’t think this was the only pair where the elastic lace broke. She basically told me the same thing.
First woman: “As kids get older, they’re harder on their shoes.”
Me: “He wore his first pair until they didn’t fit, they held up fine. He’s only a four months older now.”
Owner: “It’s just like a seam splitting on a dress. There’s nothing we can do.”
Gee thanks for nothing. I’ve only purchased how many pairs of shoes and boots from you over the years?
Still standing at the cash, with no other customers in the store and the only three staff people standing behind the counter, I called my husband who was on his way to the shoemaker. I asked him to take our son’s shoe with him and see if anything could be done.
As I turned to them and asked if they’d like me to share the outcome because it may be helpful to other customers. The store phone was also ringing.
The owner replied with an apathetic “Sure” as she proceeded to answer the phone.
It was obvious the person on the other end wasn’t a customer and was asking why it had taken her so long to answer. I can’t recall the exact wording but in a somewhat snarky tone she replied she had be speaking with a customer who had taken up a lot of her time.
Hello, excuse me? I was within earshot. What the heck was that? Well, I think you’ve just lost me as a customer for good.
But there’s more to this than me being upset with the store and deciding not to give them my business. The experience doesn’t bode well for New Balance either. They manufacture the shoes – New Balance 630 – which coincidentally were selected by Good Housekeeping as the Runaway Winner for Best Kids Sneakers. New Balance probably wants stores to let them know when customers have problems with their merchandise. Maybe they have a solution.
Perhaps the retailer doesn’t care if she has my business. She knows she corners the market when it comes to properly fitting children’s shoes and black oxfords for private school uniforms. And let’s face it, I can blog and rant online all I want. She probably won’t have a clue and she may lose another customer or two. Big deal. But what she doesn’t know is whether or not New Balance is listening online. She also has no idea what type of relationships her customers have with her suppliers either. For all she knows, I could be related to a senior exec.
As I was ranting about this on Twitter last Saturday, several people started sharing some of their recent experiences with poor customer service, including @kimberly_lyn who was called “Dude” by an annoying salesperson.
Please leave a comment and share some of your recent frustrating customer service experiences - you’ll feel better, promise. (If you’re going to use a company’s name, please be remember to be respectful and fair. )