For consumers the holiday shopping season is but a dim memory, but we’re still recounting tales — of super service, blasted backorders, and of course, the inevitable return process. It’s worth noting that the bulk of our catalog and Web shopping experiences were blissfully uneventful, but we present the stories that stand out as a special holiday edition of Tales from the Front.
A Multichannel Merchant staffer ordered a kilim bench from the Horchow Website on Nov. 17, hoping to have it at least by New Year’s Eve for a party. Alas, an order confirmation e-mail notified the staffer that the bench — although it was a brand-new item — was already on backorder until Jan. 6. Then on Jan. 3, Horchow e-mailed the staffer that the bench was still backordered and that an estimated delivery date was not available. Maybe it will arrive by Valentine’s Day…
A magazine staffer ordered a book from Levenger in early December as a Christmas gift for her father-in-law. The book was on backorder but arrived via express delivery in two weeks — in plenty of time for the holiday. The staffer had the book shipped to her home rather than to the gift recipient — which was a good thing because the box arrived looking as if it had been used as a football, and the book itself was slightly damaged. She called the company, and Levenger sent a replacement immediately that arrived in two days.
The husband of a Multichannel Merchant staffer had ordered her a gift from Soft Surroundings: a monogrammed blanket. But when the staffer opened her present on Christmas morning, she saw that the stitching on the blanket was already unraveling, plus it seemed that the monogram was on the wrong side of the blanket. Her husband called the cataloger and returned the blanket using the postage-paid label on Dec. 27. Soft Surroundings would not issue a replacement blanket until it received the return; the replacement arrived in mid-January — without a monogram.
And finally, a Multichannel Merchant staffer bought a sweater for her husband at a local Gap store. The size medium turned out to be a tad too small, so she tried to order a large from the Gap Website on Dec. 26, but there was not one large sweater in any color. Calls to several Gap stores in the New York metro area also proved fruitless. So if anybody out there has a men’s cotton crewneck sweater in a large and wants to trade it for a brown heather medium, let’s talk.