opinion & response

Sep 01, 2001 9:30 PM  By

Sour on Service

I am a subscriber to Catalog Age and an inveterate catalog shopper. I was also the owner of a mail order fabric business, Jelhlor Fantasy Fabrics, for 23 years and am now president of another b-to-b mail order company.

This past year my catalog shopping has been less than satisfying — in fact, downright frustrating — to the point that I thought I would share my frustrations with you:

  • In June 2000, I placed an order for a set of porcelain dinnerware from the Ross-Simons catalog and received a backorder notice. It took more than six months for that order to arrive.

  • On Oct. 16, 2000, I ordered a Victorian-style mahogany table from Coldwater Creek; I didn’t receive the table until just before Christmas.

  • I ordered two wool blankets on March 21 from Linen Source and received a backorder notice stating that the blankets would be shipped on May 18. When I phoned the company on the morning of June 9, the customer service rep could not give me any information but said she would check the status of my order and call me back before the end of the day. I did not receive a call back. The blankets, which were a gift for a June 16 wedding, finally arrived in late July.

  • On June 7 I received a catalog from The Company Store. In the back of the catalog was a preview of its Company Kids catalog. I called the day the catalog arrived to order gingham sheets from the Company Kids section and was told “Sorry, they’re sold out and no longer available.” That seems very strange that the company would put something in a preview that was no longer available.

Now when I receive catalogs from these companies, I’ll think twice before I order. I don’t want to waste my time when past performance hasn’t been up to expectations.
Lorie Graff
president, WITM Enterprises

Beauty Website Undergoes Makeover

In response to July’s Cybercritic review of Nailco.com, we used your critique immensely to change our site. To ease the ordering process for our clients we have revamped our site. Below, a few features we are adding:

  • a new and integrated database allowing clients to check stock instantly;
  • an instant account history for orders, products, and beauty points;
  • breakthrough tracking system that allows clients to check their order status;
  • 30-second ordering with our Quick List option.

We would like to invite you back to visit our Website in September to see our new and improved capabilities.
Amy Luts
director of corporate communications, Nailco

Steamed at Sweeps Mailers

In the August story “F&G: What Went Wrong” about the Chapter 11 filing of Foster & Gallagher, Mark Swedlund, partner at W.A. Dean & Associates, was quoted as saying “The company’s hard times are good for no one.”

My heart goes out to countless laid-off employees, as well as to the creditors left holding the bag in hard economic times. My heart also goes out to my wife of 38 years who has spent hundreds of hours in recent years trying to protect her 80-year-old father from being victimized by unending sweeps offers. He is not only senile but also naturally gullible. He reads every offer as a bill, and he pays all bills promptly.

As a list broker with 21 years in the business, I have kept my wife from despair as she sees him sign up for one motor-club and credit-card offer after another. Her continuous stern lectures to her father and her passionate pleas to land-investment and continuity-club mailers fall on deaf ears. They keep mailing, and he keeps responding.

Maybe F&G’s demise will encourage some highly promotional mailers — as well as service providers — to rethink the damage we are doing to the elderly and gullible and find a more ethical way of making money.
David S. Swift
senior account manager, Names and Addresses