I’ve always told my daughter that the true character of a person is not measured in how seldom the person makes mistakes but rather how the person deals with mistakes when they occur. This holds true for companies as well. Things happen and mistakes are made. However, if the company strives to make things right, I’m more than happy to deal with them again.
This week, I ran into an online company that hasn’t learned that lesson. I needed some yarn of a particular type and color for a couple of projects. I googled for the yarn and found quite a few results. The highest ranking one was The Knitting Garden. They proudly proclaimed that in-stock yarns are shipped withing 24-48 hours. Since they offered free shipping for orders over $75, I ordered the yarn that I needed plus a few skeins of Noro Kureyon that was on sale. When I received the order confirmation, I was excited because I was sure that I’d have my yarn soon.
Two days later, I received an email that part of my order had been shipped but part of it would not be available for one to two weeks.
Now, I understand perfectly well that mistakes happen and that some yarn stores must manually synchronize inventory with their in-store and online sales.
However, just about every place that sells back-ordered products will tell the customer in advance that the product is back-ordered. Or, if they find out later that they don’t have the product after the order has been placed, the online vendor will call the customer to say, “Whoops… Is this a problem? Sorry for the inconvenience.” That’s taking responsibility for their error and doing what they can to make it up to the customer (or to at least not do anything that is going to upset the customer further).
Their lousy business practices extend beyond shipping partial orders despite “guaranteed” shipping. Even though several people have received emails stating that they are out of this particular yarn, the site continues to list the yarn as if it’s available. There’s no warning at all that the yarn isn’t available any longer.
Apparently, The Knitting Garden thinks it’s pretty reasonable to make people wait without warning. When they replied to my request to cancel the back-ordered products, their response was short and said nothing beyond the confirmation that the order was cancelled and “Thanks for shopping with us.” No apologies or even any reference to the fact that they mucked up royally.
I hope they enjoyed my business because it’s the last they’ll ever see of me. I’ve since cancelled the back-ordered part of the order. I’m refusing the partial order when it’s delivered too. (I placed another order with a different store, which has already sent me a shipping confirmation!) I may end up eating the shipping costs, but I don’t care. I don’t want to support them any more than I already have.
Compare this fiasco to another online shopping experience that I had this week.
I’m the only coffee drinker in my house, and I’m the kind of coffee drinker that can nurse a cup of coffee for an hour (in an insulated cup to keep it warm). By the time that I’m ready for the second cup, coffee made in a traditional coffee brewer no longer tastes as good as it did when it was fresh. I was thrilled when I discovered pod coffee brewers! Every cup of coffee is fresh, and no coffee is tossed out because I didn’t drink it quickly enough.
My favorite site to buy coffee pods is Cool Beans Pods, but I occasionally look around to see if there are any other sites worth trying out. Last week, I found Javapodz. Their selection of coffees was much more extensive, and they feature what they call SERC (Socially and Environmentally Responsible Coffee) brands. I liked the idea of the SERC brands and thought I’d give them a try. I placed the order and quickly received a response and shipping notice.
A few days later, when my hubby came home from work, he found a box from them on the porch. He brought it in, and I opened it to find… Ants. Lots and lots of ants. They were inside the box and inside the ziploc bag that held the flavored coffees.
Each of the coffee pods was individually sealed, and it was obvious that the ants hadn’t actually gotten to the coffee. There’s no way to know where the ants got into the box. This is Texas, where the ants way outnumber the cows, people, and huge SUVs and trucks, so it’s possible that they got into the box after it had been placed on my porch. Still, I was icked out enough to email the company to say, “It would be a good idea to make sure that all exposed edges in the box are taped up to prevent ants from getting in.”
Shortly, I received an email with effusive apologies from Javapodz. They said that they wanted to give me a full refund and send me a new shipment right away.
Now THAT is service! No one is sure when the ants got into the box. I’m fairly confident that they didn’t ship the coffee with ants inside. However, it’s something that they could have prevented, so they wanted to make it right.
I will be doing business with Javapodz again. Integrity goes a long way with me, and they certainly showed that they have it.
Too bad that the Knitting Garden doesn’t.