Jan 16

The Great Slipper Battle

Posted by Matty

Come on, with a title like “The Great Slipper Battle” you think I am gonna give you any hints? Don’t be a lazy, click on the read more link.

It all started with Christmas shopping. Nanc and I were going out with the rest of the evil hordes of shoppers in early December and I said, “I bet I can get most of my shopping done at Restoration Hardware.”

She took the bet.

I won the bet.

(You’re probably asking yourself and the computer, “where are the slippers?” Patience young swain, and you will be rewarded.)

On Christmas, I talked to my mom (she lives about 2000 miles away), and found out that one of the gifts that I’d sent her, foot duvets (read: fluffy, warm slippers) had been incorrectly packaged. So, I sent an email, because that’s what I do.

Read on for the email.

Hi there,

There was an issue with a gift that I purchased for my mom this year, and I would like for some assistance in correcting the issue.

I live in Dallas, TX and purchased a pre-wrapped set of Red Foot-Duvets at the Restoration-Galleria store.

When my mother opened the gift, one of the slippers was the correct size and one was a much larger size.

I contacted the store where I purchased the item, and the gentleman that I spoke with stated that my mother would have to exchange the item at any Restoration Hardware. After researching your store locations, this does not appear to be a valid option. The nearest location is over 50 miles from her home in Michigan.

To correct this situation, would you please send one red Foot-Duvet to my mother? I believe that the size purchased was an adult-small (she has size 7 feet).

Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information.

My Mom’s address information is:
Blah (Sorry, I won’t publish my mom’s address on the internet)

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I received a quick reply. This was exciting!

Thank you for choosing Restoration Hardware. We appreciate your taking the time to write us, and we will respond to your email within 24 hours.

¡Woo!, thought I. Then, I read the rest of the e-mail.

This is an automatically generated response. Please do not reply to this
email as it will not be answered. Thank you

Oh…well, it was still okay. I knew in my heart of hearts, that both of my Mom’s Michigan feet would be warm this winter. I had that confidence.

But then, I didn’t hear anything. So, I waited a week, and tried again. I received the familiar autoresponder. Again, the autoresponder lied to me with promise of a quick response.

It was a dark time as I put fingers to keyboard again. I knew that severe action would have to happen, or I would have to pick up a telephone and talk to a live person.

To whom it may concern,

This is my third request for assistance with a recent order. To date I have not received a response. I have formulated a few different scenarios as to why I haven’t heard back yet.

Scenario #1: overzealous customer service agent

Perhaps a customer service agent has been hard at work drafting a response for three weeks. Perhaps my prose was murky in earlier e-mails. I do not need for the response to be specifically formatted in iambic pentameter, haiku or translated into Esperanto (though I would appreciate the effort). I would really like open a dialog with anyone who can assist me.

Scenario #2: too many words
Perhaps my original description of the issue was verbose and difficult to follow. Allow me to correct this with a seventeen word description of the problem.

  • Bought wrapped gift. (woo!)
  • Incorrect item inside. (sad!)
  • Restoration Hardware make mistake. (oops!)
  • Restoration Hardware fix. (yay!)

Scenario #3: Customer Service was overrun by pirates
Since pirates don’t use e-mail (arrrgh!), this is a valid reason for the lack of response.

Now, that I’ve hopefully got their attention, wham! – the letter gets serious, you know, like … “Tonight on a very special episode of Family Ties” kind of serious.

I have been a fan and customer of Restoration Hardware for several years and have always had positive experiences. It’s frustrating that I am expending so much effort to have this situation corrected.

For original text containing specific details, please read below.

Matt Collins

Oh well, I figured even if I couldn’t get the issue resolved, I could at least make a couple of beleaguered post-christmas customer service folks laugh. (The other part of the plan involved hoping that my mom would get a club foot, so that the slippers would fit.Then, I received an e-mail back from Justin. You know, Justin, a Senior Customer Rep at Restoration hardware.

Collins. Strange as it may seem we actually were overrun by E-mail pirates
*arrrgg* the Scurvy rats boarded our call center and have held us captive for
well far too long.

And tho I would love to translate the whole resolution
to you in Esperanto alas I am not versed in such language so English will just
have to do.

Honestly Mr. Collins I would like to apologize for the time
its taken to get a reply. Trust that now this has been brought to my
attention this will get taken care of. I am going to buy a pair from
my Atlanta store and have them ship it out to your mother tomorrow. She should
see them by the middle of next week at the latest. If She does not see them by mid week or so please contact me directly and let me know so I can get tracking
info and find where in the mix they are.

I am very sorry for delay and the
inconvenience this purchase has made for you and your mother. And I
did write a poem outlining the resolution but I figured its best to just leave
it out as my writing skills are we… not the greatest.

If there is
anything else I can possibly do for you please feel free and do not
hesitate to contact me. My Direct phone is ….

Justin …
Customer Service Rep.

So, that’s pretty much the whole tale of the Great Slipper Battle. Today, just before I left work, Justin called, to again extend an apology and let me know that my mom’s slippers shipped out today.

He was a nice guy, and I feel renewed faith in the common good of mankind. That’s probably a pretty good way to start the year.

Update: 2004 Jan 28 — I talked to my mom last night and she did receive the new set of foot duvets, and likes ’em. She is going to send me a picture of the slippers, but she is going the old-fashioned film route, so it might be a while.

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