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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dear Urban Outfitters: you've lost me as a customer

A few weeks ago, as I tend to do, I shopped at Urban Outfitters. I get almost all my tights there, and have quite a few dresses from them. I also bought a winter hat, and a few other items, and on my way out my bags beeped. They checked them, then let me go. The next day I put on the warm fuzzy dark green dress I'd bought, pulled off the tags, and prepared to wear it...only to find that they'd left the plastic anti-theft device on it.

As tends to happen with me, I had the receipt, and thought I'd put it in my purse, but when I went to return it, I couldn't find it. So I shelved the task of trying to return it for a while, hoping the receipt would show up. It didn't. So yesterday when I was buying a dress to wear to The Cove, because that is how I cope with stage fright, I asked the clerk at that same store, 14th/6th, what to do. She told me to show up and tell the security guard and they'd take care of it.

Today I was near the store on 2nd Avenue and 9th Street, and when I walked in and beeped, they told me I had to go back to the original store, so I did. I explained the issue to the security guard, who got the manager, who told me that unless I have the receipt, they can't take the anti-theft device off. "Okay, I'll keep looking for it...or throw it away," I said, because those are pretty much my only options (note: by "throw it away" I mean add it to the four bags of clothes I sorted today to give to Goodwill).


the dress in question

"Do you think you have it at home?" he asked. But what's the point of asking that? I either do or I lost it, and if I lost it, I'm SOL. I was disappointed that there was no other recourse; I could look up in my bank's records the original date of the transaction. I realize that without tags, I could have stolen the dress, and they have no real way to know, but the fact of the matter is, I didn't, and I've been a frequent customer. In fact, just last night, a girl entering The Cove complimented my tights and I told her where I got them; this happens a lot.

But since this seems to be my year of giving up activities (drinking, dating), I'm adding shopping at Urban Outfitters to my list. I unearthed more than enough clothes today to keep me going for a long while, and I can find other places that have better customer service. And yes, I will be adding a pouch to my purse for receipts and trying to develop a Getting Things Done-type system to purge my receipts. The irony is that I have amassed probably thousands of receipts over the years, and they litter, literally, my apartment and my bags, but I can never find them when I need them. I guess I needed another costly lesson in receipt losing to make it sink in that I need to take better care of my possessions, and the onus is on me to be diligent. Still, I think they could've found a way to handle this better. Maybe I'll find the receipt, but either way, I'll be doing my shopping elsewhere.

My new tights, in my in-progress living room:

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5 Comments:

At February 13, 2011, Blogger Will Belegon said...

That sucks. It is not that hard, in this day and age, to create a data base that would track purchases by card number or telephone number. Plenty of other retailers do so.

 
At February 13, 2011, Blogger Eric Riback said...

Since you do like the products and, until now, have liked the company, consider taking one more step. The manager clearly did a poor job here, as did whomever "checked" your stuff when you first left the store. Pretty obvious reason one would beep is that the device is still on it. How they missed that is a mystery, and reflects poor training. And while I understand the possibility of fraud, this is why when you return stuff they want your name and address -- so they can recognize habitual scammers. You had a reasonable story and they should have accepted it as long as you were willing to provide your contact info for the record.

Of course, if their marketing team is doing its job, they have already seen this post. But just in case, why not give them the link at http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/help/contactus.jsp and invite them to respond to you.

 
At February 13, 2011, Blogger Eric Riback said...

Since you do like the products and, until now, have liked the company, consider taking one more step. The manager clearly did a poor job here, as did whomever "checked" your stuff when you first left the store. Pretty obvious reason one would beep is that the device is still on it. How they missed that is a mystery, and reflects poor training. And while I understand the possibility of fraud, this is why when you return stuff they want your name and address -- so they can recognize habitual scammers. You had a reasonable story and they should have accepted it as long as you were willing to provide your contact info for the record.

Of course, if their marketing team is doing its job, they have already seen this post. But just in case, why not give them the link at http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/help/contactus.jsp and invite them to respond to you.

 
At February 13, 2011, Anonymous Sue Katz said...

Wait a minute. Lots of these chains are able to trace back purchases by your credit card. Did you pay by card? If so, they should have no trouble identifying the transaction. I totally agree with Eric. Just send them the link, tell them you're a renowned editor/writer and await the apologies. Been there (bad customer care), done that ("my blog is my revenge"), got satisfaction.

 
At February 13, 2011, Anonymous Abby Tallmer said...

(This is a dup of something I wrote on your Facebook page, but I figured the more people that see it, the better.)
They totally suck. I feel like boycotting them as a sign of solidarity with you. Hey, maybe if you/we started a petition of all the Urban Outfitter customers who are so outraged at RKB's treatment that we refuse to shop there anymore, they'd change their mind? What do you think? I'd totally be willing to sign it and I bet other people would too.
Abby
PS. My other thought: semi-professional shopper that you are, do you have any friends that work at other clothing stores (Brooklyn Industries, H&M, Target, etc. etc.)? Or even any friendly-ish cashiers or salespeople who at least know you by sight at said other stores you frequent? Reason I ask is that if you CAN find such a person, maybe you can bring your Urban Outfitters item (together with your sob story) into their store and get them to remove the damned anti-theft plastic and metal thingie. (It would probably help if you brought it into said other store in an Urban Outfitters bag, but that part's not crucial. It's just good for context and appearances sake.)
PPS. Maybe if someone who is reading this is a cashier or salesgirl at either one of the Urban Outfitters or at one of their competitor's establishments, that person could message you directly to do this wonderful favor???

 

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