Over at the New York Times, there is an op-ed piece describing one customer's unpleasant online shopping experience with J.Crew (click here to read in its entirety). The following is just an excerpt of said piece:
The Hell of Online Shopping
By Delia Ephron
December 23, 2012
...I got an e-mail from my sister Amy in Los Angeles saying she and her husband had received boxes from J.Crew. Christmas presents from me, she assumed, since I had ordered them online and told her to expect them.
But for whom, she asked? The cards were buried deep in the packaging, and one of them was missing. Nothing was gift-wrapped, either (although I had requested and paid for it). The boxes contained two pairs of shoes (although I had ordered only one pair), a man’s pullover and a sparkly pink woman’s sweater. The sweater was for a friend who also lives in Los Angeles, but somehow ended up being sent to Amy’s husband.
I called J.Crew to complain, and what followed was tedious and time-consuming, as all Internet dramas are, involving a review of numerous e-mails — “your order has been received,” “your order has been shipped” — in this case to the wrong place and in the wrong ways, some of which I might have prevented if I’d been vigilant tracking the flurry of e-mails.
The customer-service representative, consulting records, assured me that the box for my friend had been delivered. It had been left at the front door, she said, and gave me the address, which turned out to be not my sister and her husband’s house but my friend’s office, a gigantic building in Beverly Hills. “Left outside the front door? Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she said, and, as an apology, she would send me a $50 gift card. I e-mailed my friend. Had she received a box from J.Crew? “No,” she said.
My sister offered to gift-wrap and deliver my friend’s present. This was especially kind because traffic in Los Angeles is awful, as bad as New York’s during the holidays, which is one reason I order on the Web. But rather than make life easier, Web shopping only complicates it in new, more frustrating ways. ...
When I ordered the presents on the J.Crew Web site and checked a box for the gift-wrapping, I received a message back that J.Crew did not wrap shoes, my sister’s present. As Amy and I were sorting things out, I wondered why in the world I thought it was O.K. to send a Christmas present that wasn’t gift-wrapped. ...
Precious holiday giving cannot be entrusted to a Web site. ...
Well, guess who also read that story? Mr. Mickey Drexler himself! He responded back and the paper posted it for us (click here to read in its entirety). The following is an excerpt:
Rating the Online Shopping Experience
December 26, 2012
Re “The Hell of Online Shopping,” by Delia Ephron (Op-Ed, Dec. 24): I was more than a little surprised that a customer complaint was elevated to an indictment of online retailing on your Op-Ed page.
While we are not excusing mistakes that were made in Ms. Ephron’s case, since Thanksgiving J.Crew has shipped more than a million packages around the world, and her experience is hardly the norm. Our customers know that we are personally committed to meeting their needs for quality, service and reliability.
While online shopping may not always offer the precise level of personalization Ms. Ephron requires, it is a growing part of retailing — and for good reason. It offers convenience, saves time, adds value and provides access to goods and services that might otherwise be difficult to obtain.
We certainly acknowledge that what is warranted in this situation is a sincere apology — but not a generalized defamation of an efficient and valuable way of shopping today.
Chairman and Chief Executive
J. Crew Group
Ms. Ephron's story does sound pretty terrible. I can only imagine the panic she felt when she found out out that her gift order was ending up in different place. Yikes!
I had my fair share of mistakes- sending me the wrong item or no item at all- with J.Crew. Since I tend to be a sale shopper, the item I wanted is usually no longer available afterwards. In fact, I received two mistake-orders in one day last week! At least J.Crew tried to make it right. (In my case, they offered a store search to locate the items.)
Frankly, I prefer shopping at a brick and mortar store. I like to see what the item looks like in person. With all that said, I shop online during the holiday season. I much rather stay home than deal with crowded parking lots and stores.
What are your thoughts on the op-ed pieces? Do you agree with either point-of-view? Do you prefer shopping online during the holidays?