The Letter I Didn’t Send to Calico Corners

Probably should have. I changed the actual names of people in the letter to Helpful and Buzzkill.

I came into the store this morning with a friend who was helping me select fabric for two chairs. As we shopped I noticed a sofa that I liked by the entrance. Helpful, who was helping us with fabric selection, also gave me information about the sofa. I mentioned that I might like to buy it if my partner, John who was not with us at the time, also approved. Helpful told me to call her if I needed her to put a hold on it.

After I described the sofa to John he said he wanted to see it. So I called Helpful and asked her to put it on hold. She said she would, so we drove back to the store from downtown Indianapolis where we live.

Not long after we arrived and sat on the sofa to try it, a woman whom I recognized from the sign next to the store entrance as Buzzkill, the in-store designer, approached us.

With something of a sneer Buzzkill said, “That sofa is sold.” I thought she might be referring to the hold that was placed on it and explained that I was actually the person Helpful was holding it for and pointed to the tag pinned to the sofa that had my name and contact information on it. Buzzkill said something to the effect that her customer had held it at noon. Then she asked me when I had asked Helpful to hold it. I told her that when I called Helpful at about 2:00 she said it was still available. I also mentioned that if it were not available when I called I would have appreciated knowing because that information would have saved me another 25-minute drive to the store that day. There was no hold tag on the sofa other than mine.

Annoyed, I went to look for Helpful to let her know that there was a problem, something Buzzkill should have done first rather than arguing with me over when the hold was placed. Helpful was unaware of any other hold and said so, at which point, Buzzkill said she was holding it for her daughter and that she could let me know Monday whether or not it was still available. Disappointed and unbelievably angry, John and I left.

Later, I called Helpful again to say that I was not happy with the way Buzzkill had treated us and that we were interested in the sofa but only if we could purchase it today. Helpful called back to say that she had just been told holds were not allowed on sale items after all and that I could purchase the sofa today if I wanted. I gave her my credit card information and let her know we would pick it up shortly, which we did. Helpful was, as she always is, friendly and accommodating. A third associate was also helpful and even kind enough to deliver the sofa to our home, which we very much appreciated.

Miscommunications understandably happen, but I must say, Buzzkill seemed to go out of her way to make my partner and I feel like trespassers in your store. I will not speculate on the reason for her behavior, but her tone was accusatory and condescending until I approached Helpful to discuss the matter. Even then, I found it insulting to be told by Buzzkill that a mind-noted hold for her family member was priortized over a customer hold that was actually recorded and tagged.

By the time the purchase was complete I felt like an inconvenience rather than a paying customer.

I appreciate the quality of your product and have been very satisfied with past purchases. As I mentioned, other members of your staff are very helpful. Today’s transaction, however, has me feeling ambivalent about a future trip to your store.

Believe it or not, the sofa is worth the mess we went through to get it. (Picture to come.)

3 Responses to “The Letter I Didn’t Send to Calico Corners”

  1. October 2, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    I think you should send the letter without changing the names – I love Helpful and Buzzkill. So sorry you had this experience, but I can’t wait to see the couch!

  2. October 2, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Helpful is helpful indeed. Buzzkill is just a big ole bee-yatch.

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