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The no customer service experience

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I bought a book. At the more or less (10 miles from home) local store. Unfortunately, when coming home and 11 year old son wanted to read it, the first pages were missing. Misprint. I worked in a bookstore and know that these things happen and as a bookstore, you can just tell the publisher, they send either a new one or give you a credit at no cost to the bookstore.

It was the last one in the local store and of course they would be more than happy to order a new one but it would take a few days. The 11 year old was looking forward to reading it while still having vacation this week.

No problem, I had to go to the mall and there is a BN right there so I wanted to exchange the misprint there.

Of course they didn't want to, because the book was not bought there. See above, it doesn't matter as they would not lose any money on this.
I also had a stack of 8 other books I was planning to buy right there.

They refused the exchange, which would not have cost them anything and I didn't buy the other books. I asked them to give me one good reason to buy from them ever again. Books are more expensive, there is no customer service and selection is not as great either. So give me one good reason to not buy online. They shrugged.

Guess they don't care to keep customers happy. Stupid. We as a family still buy a lot of printed books. Just not there anymore….
 
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Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
My wife used to work at a small book store. Customers would come in and ask for books in the oddest of ways, ie the red cover book about... and since the place was staffed with readers they could usually find the book the customer was looking for. Then Barnes and Nobles came to town. It was like the movie "You've got mail". They hired staff, not readers, and the customers suffered. If you didn't go in with the isbn number they couldn't find the book.

B&N is to books what we think WalMart is to small department stores. Portsmouth lost a couple of great small time book stores and almost lost a third before the customers rallied and "saved" it. What you suffered at Barnes and Noble wasn't bad customer service as much as it was indifference. Since they hired workers and staff and not bookworms you got met by people that could have cared less, regardless of where they were working...
 

Kyle Henson

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Expecting a store to accept a return for something that was not purchased from them says more about today's consumer than it does about today's customer service. IMHO.
 

nikfrz

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would have never thought to take a book back to another store for exchange. But then again, I have never worked in a book store, so I don't know general policies.
 

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
What you suffered at Barnes and Noble wasn't bad customer service as much as it was indifference.
Come on, Bob. What's the difference? I mean, have we gotten to the point where "bad customer service" is when the vendor yells at you? Calls you a jerk? Threatens to call the cops because xyz?

In my book, indifference is a result of not taking responsibility, and qualifies as one of the worst kinds of customer disservice.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I don't know that there is much difference David, you're right. It's just that the workers I have met at the Barnes and Nobles I have been to could care less whether they helped me or not. Just there to get a paycheck. Bad customer service seems, to me, to be when the worker ignores you, looks the other way when you are wondering confused in the book stacks where as the indifferent worker just stands at the cash register or in the info booth and just doesn't help. Sounds pretty much the same, but I think it is the root of the issue that bugs me most.

An indifferent worker, IMO, should be fired by the bosses that be where a bad customer service person can be "fixed" through a better management style or ethic. IMO an indifferent worker stems from bosses that don't care to weed out the "bad apples" or address the bad workers when they first start. I have been in quite a few B&Ns. Being in a house of book people we do hit book stores when we go out. Been to B&Ns in Portland ME, Woburn MA and Portsmouth NH, all over and have been greeted by indifference more often than by bad customer service.

In my first job, bagging groceries, I was a bad worker until my boss took me aside and told me to straoghten up or get out. I was there for over 4 years in multiple capacities, I think I learned to be a better worker. I saw quite a few people not care and they were gone pretty quickly. I think good service can be taught, but caring about the customer has to come from the boss, has to be modeled and enforced. Both probably stem from the same place in the workers, but how the bosses tease it out of the worker makes a lot of difference. I don't think B&N cares as much about booksense and service as they do about the bottom line chainwise, and it shows. They thrive where small bookstores fail, but at a cost of an intangible that customers value more than the chain does.
 

jimwins

Grumbler
They refused the exchange, which would not have cost them anything
Processing a return and dealing with getting a credit from the publisher does take someone's time, which is a cost. There's also an opportunity cost in B&N not having the book on the shelf for the next person to purchase it while they wait to get it re-stocked.

They were, quite arguably, foolish in not doing it anyway, but it's not fair to say it wouldn't have cost them anything.
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Well, it now cost them 8 books that I would have purchased and didn't.

Once again I WORKED IN A BOOKSTORE. Both on the floor and behind the scenes, stocking, accounting, ordering, returning, the whole thing.

This to me was bad customer service and indifferent employees.

This was a very popular book. They had a stack of them. So no other customer would have been out (unless they sell that whole stack within the next few days).

Guess what, this kind of attitude sends customers, like me, to purchase online.

I am surprised by these responses. We always hear about all the free service we as framers provide and get chewed out when someone says, hey, I want to get paid for this and that because that that might mean bad word of mouth. Double standards to me.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm with you, Ylva.
It's actually very easy to provide service with a smile and everyone goes away happy.
Then there is the opposite .....:shrug:

The actual cost of giving good customer service is very small.
The cost of bad word of mouth can be very high.
The shop where I work has 13 out of 13- 5 star reviews on Yelp.
We get a ton of work from Yelp and those reviews.
What's that worth?

My own experience with giving good service is it "floats my boat".
When someone comes in and just needs a wire installed, I do it and usually at no charge.

I had a guy come in yesterday who had a small display case with a broken glass.
It was about 9" x 15".
I cut the glass and popped it in for him at no charge.
We throw away pieces of glass that size all day.
It feels good for both of us and you never know when doing a service like that might lead to a $500 or $1000 order and even if it doesn't, it still feels good.
Just my opinion.
 

Emibub

PFG, Picture Framing God
I would think that B&N would have a policy to find a way to say yes considering the internet has made it easy and cheaper to purchase books online. Just about any book can be purchased on Amazon for 40% below retail with free shipping. B&N brick and mortar entities have to be hurting for business. There's no glory in saying no even if it was purchased elsewhere. All they did is lose a sale and possible future business. Knuckleheads.

Most likely employees who really don't give a flip whether you are happy or if their employer is happy. Pretty much what you get for customer service these days.
 

Emibub

PFG, Picture Framing God
I gotta agree I'd never bring something back to a store telling them I bought it elsewhere. I would have said "my son got this as a gift and it is damaged, I was told it came from B&N could you exchange it for me?" Then everybody would be happy. Or not. The store I work at will take mdse purchased elsewhere if it is a sku we carry. But, they have to accept the lowest price the item has ever sold for.
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I should have done that, and yes, they probably would have exchanged it without a problem. That's why it is even more absurd. Honesty doesn't pay off apparently.

It was a bestselling kids book, $15 retail. I would have easily spent $150 on the other books I was planning to buy.
 

Emibub

PFG, Picture Framing God
I wouldn't look at it as dishonesty. Just working around the system so everybody can feel like they got what they wanted.:shrug:
 

jimwins

Grumbler
I would think that B&N would have a policy to find a way to say yes
Agreed, and I didn't really mean to imply otherwise. I've exchanged product for people at our store who have purchased it elsewhere. But if someone caught me at the wrong time, or came in demanding I do it with the wrong attitude, I might not. (And then I'd feel bad about it afterwards.)

If all you want to pay for a book at a brick and mortar store is the same price you'll pay on Amazon, don't be surprised if the staff you interact with is about as warm, friendly and helpful as the website. On the plus side, there's never a wrong time or wrong attitude to come to the website to start a return.
 

DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, it now cost them 8 books........Guess what, this kind of attitude sends customers, like me, to purchase online.
How about going back to your local store and buying the 8 books? Their service was good. Why stop doing business with them because your mad at the Big Box?

Doug
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
How about going back to your local store and buying the 8 books? Their service was good. Why stop doing business with them because your mad at the Big Box?

Doug
I agree with that.
It keeps it local and that's a good thing.
 

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Years ago I was on the management side of staff relations, and I quickly learned that when the union guy got emotional about something, he was convinced that there was unfair dealing, and that he should be taken seriously. And I did appreciate that emotion, because it gave me the sign that there was indeed an important issue that I had to resolve. I took that same approach into retail: when a customer came back with a concern, it was absolutely essential to send them away feeling good, and relieved. They had to go away thinking that we really cared about them.

Sounds like B&N doesn't get it.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
If it was going to take too long to get a replacement, why didn't you just ask for your money back and get the book from somewhere else (B&N) that had it in stock? Why blame B&N for the problem? Were you planning to buy the other books from B&N because your local store couldn't get them for you?

Just saying...
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
My local bookstore is not all that local, I live in the middle of nowhere. I happened to have to go to the mall on that same day and there is a BN right across.

I try to buy locally (which once again is not all that locally for me) as much as I can. The books I was planning to buy at the local store were not in stock. Hence the just 5 books I bought there, one which was a misprint which we only noticed when we got back home. Not their fault, they would be happy to exchange it, I SIMPLY DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO GO BACK, it is not exactly next door.

With 5 kids, 2 businesses and hardly any time to do anything out of the routine, I can't spend 35 minutes driving back and forth, I can order the books, but then have to drive back again to go pick them up.

I was as honest and upfront about this purchase when I walked into the BN, as that is how I like to be treated as well. I am friendly, I tried to explain, I tried to understand and the sales person simply just said 'no' without any explanation. So it cost them the sale of the other books that they did have in stock.

So yes, I will order from the big bad Amazon now. Cost me less, delivered at my door, no problem EVER in returning anything.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Ylva, 10 miles is nothing. My town's downtown is 6 miles away, my shop is 12 miles from my house, a crappy cup of coffee is 2 miles away and a good cup is 12. There are two malls, in opposite directions, 1 is 38 miles away in Portland the other is 25 miles away in Portsmouth. So distance is relative :)

You said you were missing ther first couple of pages, couldn't you get them on Amazon with the "look inside" feature? Your son could have just read those pages then finished the book. Or gone to the local library and read the first few pages. Then he could have been reading the book until you could get to the book store.

We probably would have called teh book store and told them what happened. they could have gone to the shelves and grabbed another copy of the book, chances are yours wasn't the only one misprinted. I know our bookstore would have mailed teh book to us and trusted us to mail the other book back. They might have ran our card (on file) for the book being mailed out and credited us when ours got back into their hands, then again maybe not as we would have been in their computer. Or they might have used their fulfillment service of their website to do the book exchange for us.

I know if a customer came to my shop and was dissatisfied that I would want them to feel free to call me and let me try to correct the problem before they went to my competitor. I did state, repeatedly that I have been unhappy with B&N, but on reflection did you let your bookshop correct the problem before you went to B&N? I think B&N had troubles accepting our return because you didn't buy the book there. If I owned a small book shop I wouldn't want to accept a book that was bought elsewhere either. I might be tempted to exchange it but not give you cash for it. (The Seinfeld episode where George wanted to return a book he read inthe bathroom comes to mind :))

I would have called the first bookstore first. Then tried to read the missing pages at a library or at Amazon until the replacement book came in the mail.

BTW returning a book to Amazon is a piece of cake because they have the record of you buying it from them. I think if you tried to return a book you bought at B&N to Amazon they would say no to you.
 

shayla

WOW Framer
I wouldn't have tried taking it to a different store. That said, I'm wondering whether
you talked to a regular employee or a manager. The former would likely have been
hesitant to do anything outside of stated protocol, lest they be reprimanded for it.
The latter might have more leeway on doing creative things like this.

I hope he likes the book.
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
It was their last book on the shelf. Yes I did call and they would be happy to order a new one. 10 miles (actually a bit more), finding parking spot etc etc might not be a big deal to most. Believe me, with 5 kids that you need to drive around there simply isn't that much time in my life, certainly not this coming week.

I did not ask for a refund, a store certificate or money back. I simply wanted an exchange. I worked at a local bookstore for years and years and did these kind of exchanges all the time, no matter where the book came from. Misprints happen.

What drives me nuts is that if I had just lied to them, said that I had received it as a gift, they would happily have exchanged it for me.

I was honest about it. I was punished for that.

As for reading the first pages online, then reading the whole book and returning a used book to the local bookstore, no, I would never do that.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I can see your point of not trying to pawn off a used book as a new one, but could it be that B&N might have thought that was what you were doing when you brought them the book in the first place? Did the clerk let you show them the misprint? Did they understand why you wanted it exchanged (I do agree they should have, could have done that no real issue there) That really should ghave been obvious if they looked at the book or took the time to figure out what you were asking of them. So yes, you were right, bad customer service, (I still think that stems from indifference on their part :))

They lost out on a good sale very foolish on their part.

On a semi serious note...
:shrug: It's OK in your eyes to return an item to a store you didn't buy it from, "because it's no big deal" but I'm out of line for suggesting you read the first few pages on-line? I suggested reading the first few pages because
I bought a book. At the more or less (10 miles from home) local store. Unfortunately, when coming home and 11 year old son wanted to read it, the first pages were missing. Misprint. I worked in a bookstore and know that these things happen and as a bookstore, you can just tell the publisher, they send either a new one or give you a credit at no cost to the bookstore.
My thinking was not to read the whole book, a misprint that will get discarded BTW, not put on the shelf for someone else to read, so I was suggesting reading portions a book that was destined to the trash heap while waiting to get it replaced.
 

Emibub

PFG, Picture Framing God
And that is how we got to where we are today.
You know I suppose you are right. I personally wouldn't bring the book back to some place I didn't buy it from. I was just offering a solution that would have accomplished the goal. In all honesty she knew B&N would get credit for the book, she even took the position of explaining the truth hoping they would understand and help her. Saying it was a gift would have been a work around to accomplish that. It would have made it acceptable to the people on the other side of the counter. If she had torn the book and tried to return it as a gift that would have been a different story and possibly the reason for the decay of our society.
 

FramerCat

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
This is a perfect thread to help understand the importance of customer service.

I think your example is definitely something to think about as a business owner. We keep preaching that customer service is the most important thing, but when it comes down to it in this very case convenience outweighed service, because you could have gone back to the business with great service to buy the 8 other books, but it was too inconvenient so instead you tried a big box and when they couldn’t satisfy you, you resorted to an online seller. So my question is if a framing customer is 10 miles away from you (and I know you have great customer service) but Michael’s is only a mile away, do you think it’s OK for them to go to Michael’s instead? If they can’t get what they want from Michael’s should they just order it through Frames by Mail? This is not a criticism I just think it would be good for us business owners to understand how consumers think, and in this case you are the perfect consumer.

So is customer service really more important than convenience?

Thanks,
Ed
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Ed, I just finished a frame for a new customer. When they came in to pick it up they wanted the glass changed out. Right then while they waited.... I saw the t-shirt/work shirt the guy was wearing and offered to deliver the frame when I got off work.

The pizza place they owned was right next door to a competitor of mine. A very competent framer and a good businessman. I do not know why they came to me, 8 miles up the road in bad summer traffic, instead of to him, literally 100 yards away 1 parking lot away, except that their customers recommended me.

I have bought all my bicycles and some fishing gear from the other framer. I have envied his gallery space and his access to artists that I don't carry. Sometimes it isn't about the customer service but what the customer perceives as customer service... I do not think my prices were that much lower than his, nor was my turnaround time better. But I will buy pizza from them once in a while now :) They are on my way home.
 

cvm

PFG, Picture Framing God
So is customer service really more important than convenience?
Depends on whether or not the product is perceived as being a commodity. When you're talking about glass, boardage or plain black moulding does customer service trump things like price and convenience?
 

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ed, I just finished a frame for a new customer. When they came in to pick it up they wanted the glass changed out. Right then while they waited.... I saw the t-shirt/work shirt the guy was wearing and offered to deliver the frame when I got off work.

The pizza place they owned was right next door to a competitor of mine. A very competent framer and a good businessman. I do not know why they came to me, 8 miles up the road in bad summer traffic, instead of to him, literally 100 yards away 1 parking lot away, except that their customers recommended me.
Bob - must be my day to pick on you...

Is this your first year in coastal Maine?!?!?
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Bob - must be my day to pick on you...

Is this your first year in coastal Maine?!?!?
David, I have just un-freinded you....

;)

I was thinking out loud about the inconvenience they would have to go through if they became a recurring customer. I do not drive home on route one in the summer as it can take forever. Driving the couple of miles from where Rt 1 and Rt 109 meet to the intersection of Rt1 and Rt 9B, a two mile drive has taken over two hours in the summer due to traffic.
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...and is there such a thing as GOOD summer traffic??:icon9::shutup::nuts:
He was poking me for my lack of knowledge of the seasons. :)

Good summer traffic? Yep, the traffic that stops at your door, gets out and shops :")

bad traffic is the traffic that slows down to the point of standing still, and they don't get out and shop, so your customers stay home, you have to go to work hours early to be able to open up, and regular customers stay away until September...

We used to take the kids to Ogunquit to swim at the beach. 5 miles from our door. That first summer it took over an hour to get there. Then we found "our beach". 15 miles away, 20 minutes from the door and no traffic. Get there and no tourists, just beach and striper fishing.
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I can see your point of not trying to pawn off a used book as a new one, but could it be that B&N might have thought that was what you were doing when you brought them the book in the first place? Did the clerk let you show them the misprint? Did they understand why you wanted it exchanged (I do agree they should have, could have done that no real issue there) That really should ghave been obvious if they looked at the book or took the time to figure out what you were asking of them. So yes, you were right, bad customer service, (I still think that stems from indifference on their part :))

They lost out on a good sale very foolish on their part.

On a semi serious note...
:shrug: It's OK in your eyes to return an item to a store you didn't buy it from, "because it's no big deal" but I'm out of line for suggesting you read the first few pages on-line? I suggested reading the first few pages because My thinking was not to read the whole book, a misprint that will get discarded BTW, not put on the shelf for someone else to read, so I was suggesting reading portions a book that was destined to the trash heap while waiting to get it replaced.
I wasn't picking on you. I simply have no time to return to the store any time this week. I can't have him read the first pages online and then telling him, sorry, you can't read the rest of the book. Doesn't matter. I solved it the way I saw fit.

No, the clerk did not even let me show him the misprint. The only thing he (and another person at the register where I asked) heard was that the book was not bought there. I was exchanging the exact item for the exact item. If I had not been honest, they would have replaced it with no questions asked.

I worked long enough in a bookstore and we used to take in misprinted books all the time and replace it. You'd call the publisher, they either issue a credit or send you a new copy. Most times you didn't even have to return the misprint.
No, BN could not have thought I was exchanging a used book for a new book. They only had to look at it to see.

Ed, thanks for your comments. I don't think you can completely compare a custom frame job with a book. Books can be bought everywhere and are the same everywhere. I buy books where it is convenient to me. I do like our local bookstore and make sure to purchase books there, just not exclusively.

I think customer service is very important. I would probably have gone back the same day, to the original store and exchanged the book, if they would have had it in stock but they only had one (which we bought). My problem is time and how to use it best and keep my son happy as well. That was the only reason I went to BN, knowing they would have that title and, because that's who I am, I decided to buy a few more books from them at the same time.

If we, as framers, ever have to deal with a big online giant the way local bookstores have to, there would be few of us who would survive.

I truly believe in excellent customer service. It is why my customers come back to me. It's why I, as a customer, return to stores.

But yes, convenience is not something you can always manage as that is a customer's choice, what is convenient and what is not. My store has lousy hours. I know it, I know it hurts my business but it's a choice I made and have accepted. I realize that that is inconvenient for some customers and I will not get their business for that reason.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I'm a little late to the party so here's my opinion

if a client would have walked into a Grumblers store with a poster they purchased elsewhere and wanted to exchange it because when they got home they noticed it had a crease. This client knew the store carried that same poster and thought it would be no big deal to swap. The frame store could simply return to publisher-easy peasy-right.

Grumbler declines to exchange since it wasn't purchased from them (probably grumbling under breath 'why didn't they come here first?'). Client leaves upset promising to never come back

So, Grumbler starts thread titled 'What's wrong with these customers?'

I'm guessing most responses would be predictable; probably none criticizing Grumbler for not exchanging, several complaining how customers just aren't as nice anymore.

But, a much more amazing thread might have been that the Bookseller actually did replace the book.

That would have been titled 'Amazing Customer Service'

I'm sorry Ylva. I'm giving the clerk a pass on this one
 

FramerCat

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Depends on whether or not the product is perceived as being a commodity. When you're talking about glass, boardage or plain black moulding does customer service trump things like price and convenience?
I think you are exactly correct. How does the public in general perceive framing? How would they ever know that there is any difference between us and Michael’s unless they come into our shops and we tell them? Michael’s is telling them about all of their convenient locations and awesome discounts through newspapers, television, radio and online advertising. Convenience and perceived discounts will absolutely outweigh great customer service when the former drowns out the latter with much more aggressive marketing.

Ed, thanks for your comments. I don't think you can completely compare a custom frame job with a book. Books can be bought everywhere and are the same everywhere. I buy books where it is convenient to me. I do like our local bookstore and make sure to purchase books there, just not exclusively.

I think customer service is very important. I would probably have gone back the same day, to the original store and exchanged the book, if they would have had it in stock but they only had one (which we bought). My problem is time and how to use it best and keep my son happy as well. That was the only reason I went to BN, knowing they would have that title and, because that's who I am, I decided to buy a few more books from them at the same time.

If we, as framers, ever have to deal with a big online giant the way local bookstores have to, there would be few of us who would survive.

I truly believe in excellent customer service. It is why my customers come back to me. It's why I, as a customer, return to stores.

But yes, convenience is not something you can always manage as that is a customer's choice, what is convenient and what is not. My store has lousy hours. I know it, I know it hurts my business but it's a choice I made and have accepted. I realize that that is inconvenient for some customers and I will not get their business for that reason.
I think we may do ourselves a disservice if we justify our own actions by dismissing the parallels between our industry and the book industry as the difference between commodities and skilled craft. We both offer a product and we both have similar types of competition. Continuing to expect that we can survive by just offering the best customer service and hoping that localized word of mouth will overcome the juggernaut of an extremely well funded national marketing campaign is delusional. Ylva, I understand your justifications for using the big box and the online retailer over the independent brick and mortar. I just hope we can all keep in mind that the people that go to the big box framers or big online framers have also justified in their minds that decision. I would like to know what their justifications are in order to improve my business. Ylva, I also would like to say that I appreciate that you took what could have been misconstrued as a criticism in the way that it was intended, a sincere request for valuable information.

Also Ylva, did you ever speak to a manager at B&N? They won’t know that there is a problem if you don’t tell them. Even if they do nothing about it at least it is logged somewhere and with enough complaints may, down the road, cause someone to think about a change in policy or at least attitude. As it is it just bounced of the thick hide of an unconcerned worker bee.

Ed
 

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
FramerCat said:
Ylva, I understand your justifications for using the big box and the online retailer over the independent brick and mortar. I just hope we can all keep in mind that the people that go to the big box framers or big online framers have also justified in their minds that decision. I would like to know what their justifications are in order to improve my business.
Two gems there, Ed.
:thumbsup:
 

Grey Owl

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sorry I'm late to the party. B&N is a national chain and has a single president. And you should be able to return a book purchased at one of their stores to another of their stores, without a problem, as that is supposedly one of the benefits of buying from a chain.

Now, in fairness, I am a fan of B&N because the one we have near us is apparently exceptional. The people that work there are book readers, and the guy that works where the CD's are, knows everything that ever came out, and doesn't even need to go to the computer to check!

However, that was not the case in this instance. What I would have done, is first be honest. If the employee would not allow me to return the item, I would then ask for the manager. If the manage would not do what I thought was appropriate, then I would ask him / her to write down the name and address of his / her immediate boss at the regional / national headquarters, as well as the name of the person I'm speaking to, to make sure I was spelling their name correctly when I contacted the regional / national headquarters. I have done this a few times, and you would be surprised how all of a sudden they find a solution. The last time I did this, they resolved the issue immediately. However I still asked for the name and address. The person was reluctant, but finally did.
 

Less

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
?

Books = ready-mades

custom framing = author

Less doesn't sell posters

Less is a poster

or is that imposter?

Labor = money
 
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Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm a little late to the party so here's my opinion

if a client would have walked into a Grumblers store with a poster they purchased elsewhere and wanted to exchange it because when they got home they noticed it had a crease. This client knew the store carried that same poster and thought it would be no big deal to swap. The frame store could simply return to publisher-easy peasy-right.

Grumbler declines to exchange since it wasn't purchased from them (probably grumbling under breath 'why didn't they come here first?'). Client leaves upset promising to never come back
Bob has hit the nail on the head here. Returns are a hassle and do take time.

I would expect the customer to return the product where he purchased it and then purchase a new product elsewhere if necessary. If this were me and the book was scarce, I would just hold on to it until I knew I could get a new one at B and N and then go back and return it to the original bookstore who would invariably take it back.

Also, don't the big bookstores have their own bar codes on books that identify the seller? I know I have mistakenly taken products back to Staples, for example, only to find out that I purchased them at Office Depot. I can't imagine asking Staples to take back a product purchased at another store even if it was in perfect condition.

We as independents have more leeway in this sort of situation if we want to exercise it. Big stores have inventory controls, rules, and so on that might make it a hassle to process such a return. I certainly would not blame a clerk who was just following rules.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Ok,let's see if I have this right: someone walks into a local book store to buy a book locally and presumably feel good about it, chooses a book but doesn't examine it, pays for it and drives home only to discover that it's a misprint. Now things get interesting.her son wants to read the book now but the local store only had one copy. It must have been a special book that couldn't be exchanged for another title. Unwilling to choose another book, she didn't ask for a refund with which to buy a copy from BM.

Instead she walks into a Barns and Noble store closer to her house and asks them to replace the defective book she bought from another store. What's the likelihood they even had a copy of the book? Barns and Noble employees not understanding that their chain should act as a repository for replacements of a competitor refused.

Did this really happen? If it did, I bet they're still talking about it at Barns and Noble. Books aren't fungible. One advantage of shopping at a large chain store is that they probably can replace damaged goods from stock. Why should they throw this advantage away? Imagine if our aggrieved customer had actually bought the book knowing the pages were missing planning all along to get it replaced at BN. An interesting thought experiment even though it's not the case.

If I carelessly bought a book from one store (I always examine books before I buy them) I sure wouldn't expect a competitor to replace it. At the very least BM would have labor involved in the bookkeeping of a returned book and quite possibly might lose a sale because they turned their last copy of a popular book (it was sold out at Mom and Pop's) over to someone with an irrational expectation of their duty to, in this case, a non customer who clearly preferred to shop at another store.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Warren sums it up perfectly.

This reminds me of a customer who was in a few years ago. She was incensed because our quote to cut her mat board covered our labor. She stormed out saying, "That's outrageous! This place is supposed to operate as a public service!"

What part of Capitalism 101 did she not understand?
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
No, actually Warren did not get it right.

Customer bought a newly released book. B and N has tons on their display.

Customer is buying 8 books that she could not get at mom and pop. Has defective book wants to make even exchange for at B and N thinking from her past experience as a bookstore clerk it would be no big deal for store.

Customer upset imo not so much because store did not do exchange as store did not listen or look at the book to see customer' problem. Or at least that would have been my bigger beef.

Don't blame store for not doing the exchange but I do blame the store for not listening to the customer.

I have bought stuff at one homedepot and returned it at another. Even bought in one state and returned in another. But have never bought at one store and returned to a competitor. Could see trying to do it with a book but really would not fault store for saying no.

Would tell son to read missing pages on line or from a library. If concerned about returning a defective new book in a used condition then go to library. T really the book is going to be tossed when you return it to the mom and pop. I would think they would tell you to keep it and give you a new copy. Don't they just have to return the book cover for credit? That's what the magazine salespeople used to need.
 

GUMBY GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'm a little late to the party so here's my opinion

if a client would have walked into a Grumblers store with a poster they purchased elsewhere and wanted to exchange it because when they got home they noticed it had a crease. This client knew the store carried that same poster and thought it would be no big deal to swap. The frame store could simply return to publisher-easy peasy-right.

Grumbler declines to exchange since it wasn't purchased from them (probably grumbling under breath 'why didn't they come here first?'). Client leaves upset promising to never come back

So, Grumbler starts thread titled 'What's wrong with these customers?'

I'm guessing most responses would be predictable; probably none criticizing Grumbler for not exchanging, several complaining how customers just aren't as nice anymore.

But, a much more amazing thread might have been that the Bookseller actually did replace the book.

That would have been titled 'Amazing Customer Service'

I'm sorry Ylva. I'm giving the clerk a pass on this one

Ylva
I think I see what you are saying. I want it all now too however, I agree with Mr.Carter.
To penalize/CRITICIZE a business for not being willing to take back someone else's merchandise seems awkward top me. I find it hard to believe many would find it as upsetting as you have.
I would also say that it really does not matter if you agree with me or Mr. Carter Just as It really does not matter if I agree with you. Life goes on. It is how we handle the bumps that defines us.

God give me patience and I want it NOW!

Let say my one mat board supplier (who lets say only delivered once every two weeks) Delivered me a box of of c918. When I opened it there was a foot print on every sheet. I had a job I wanted to do (not needed to do) just wanted to do this week. Framer down the road I know just got a box in also. I take my box down and expect him to trade me his good board for my footprinted board. I expect him to take it back leaving him only 5 good sheets he had on hand. Then him requesting a RMA and waiting for two weeks for it to be replaced. When he knows that he sells 15 - 20 sheets in a two week time period. Just So I do not have take my time request an RMA and wait to do the my job in two weeks. I really want to please my customer and get it done quickly.
mat board =book
or

I buy 60 ' of moulding from supplier A. For a frame that was not a rush and customer could wait. I unwrap. The moulding is warped. Supplier A only delievers once a week. I would have to wait a whole week to do the frame. I want to do it now. I call my supplier B I only use him when supplier A is out of stock. He carries same moulding and also delievers once a week. He is coming tomorrow. I tell him I bought this moulding from supplier A and it is warped I want him to send me a replacement and take the warped moulding in exchange. He says ________________(fill in the blank)
moulding=book

The world is so full of our urgency we lose vision on reality of what is necessity and what is for our convience.
When I joined the Marines learned about a hurry up and wait philosophy.
I read a book once "Don't sweat the small stuff".
After Vietnam I read a book called "I am okay your okay" by a guy named Harris.

Four "life positions" that each of us may take.
1.I'm Not OK, You're OK
2.I'm Not OK, You're Not OK
3.I'm OK, You're Not OK
4.I'm OK, You're OK

My $.02 Take what you want leave the rest.
 

mbboston

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
So to summarize, Ylva has asked B&N employees to risk their jobs and do something against company policy, and at the same time financially damage company they work for. Why would B&N care if she buys damaged books elsewhere? What a fascinating thread.


"Barnes & Noble Bookstores make it easy to return an item when you are not satisfied.

Simply bring the item and your cash register receipt to your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore for a refund to your original form of payment or, if you have a gift receipt, for a refund as a gift card. "
 

DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Yiva may have been testing the limits of customer care but I wouldn't characterize her as the raging customer from He!!

If you read the details of the first post you will see she knows the book business and knows she would do no (or very little) harm.

I have found ex-photo or ex-framing people to always be difficult to work with. :icon45:

I don't blame B&N for their policy and it makes a good case for patronizing a smaller bookstore.

Spend some time reading between the lines because Yiva represents a typical modern consumer.

Busy and stressed with kids and a job trying to accomplish a task the easiest way she can. Frustrated with her purchase her conclusion is that Amazon on-line is the best way to buy things. :eek:

I see a lot of similarities between the dying independent bookstore, and independent frameshop , the Big Box bookstore, the big Box craft store all now competing with each other and with Amazon.

Most of us learned our customer service basics in the days before the internet. Yiva's case underscores our need to rethink a few things. People have options, options and more options.

Doug
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
Yiva may have been testing the limits of customer care but I wouldn't characterize her as the raging customer from He!!

If you read the details of the first post you will see she knows the book business and knows she would do no (or very little) harm.

I have found ex-photo or ex-framing people to always be difficult to work with. :icon45:

I don't blame B&N for their policy and it makes a good case for patronizing a smaller bookstore.

Spend some time reading between the lines because Yiva represents a typical modern consumer.

Busy and stressed with kids and a job trying to accomplish a task the easiest way she can. Frustrated with her purchase her conclusion is that Amazon on-line is the best way to buy things. :eek:

I see a lot of similarities between the dying independent bookstore, and independent frameshop , the Big Box bookstore, the big Box craft store all now competing with each other and with Amazon.

Most of us learned our customer service basics in the days before the internet. Yiva's case underscores our need to rethink a few things. People have options, options and more options.

Doug
I really agree with Doug. :thumbsup:
And come on, why all of the piling on?:shrug:
Opinions vary.
 

GUMBY GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
You are right there are many choices. Most of which are just small stuff.......
No she is not a raving luny customer.
Opinions vary she voiced hers others voice theirs. Piling on?
Yes more are thinking like her. They have a ton on their plate.
That would be a She is okay , Your not okay?
That also does not change the fact that Amazon will not take back items you bought at overstock.com.
We all have the choice to shop anywhere we chose for what ever reason we justify.
 

mbboston

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
DVieau2;938431 [I said:
Spend some time reading between the lines because Yiva represents a typical modern consumer.

Busy and stressed with kids and a job trying to accomplish a task the easiest way she can. Frustrated with her purchase her conclusion is that Amazon on-line is the best way to buy things. :eek:
[/I]

Doug
Does Amazon take returns for items purchased at B&N so they could accommodate modern consumers? Does Amazon cares if we are busy, have kids, and have jobs? Each company, regardless how small or large they are, is in business to make money. Each company is responsible for products they sell not for products other companies sell.

"Return Items You Ordered

You can return many items sold on Amazon.com. When you return an item, you may see different return options depending on the seller, item, or reason for return. "


I am wondering if any of you take ready made frame returns purchased at other frame shops to accommodate "modern consumers"?
 

DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Does Amazon take returns for items purchased at B&N so they could accommodate modern consumers? Does Amazon cares if we are busy, have kids, and have jobs? Each company, regardless how small or large they are, is in business to make money. Each company is responsible for products they sell not for products other companies sell..........
...........I am wondering if any of you take ready made frame returns purchased at other frame shops to accommodate "modern consumers"?
No, No, Yes and maybe.

I would suggest the story about the defective book return is immaterial to her statement about going on-line.

People don't shop Amazon for the warm friendly feeling and customer care they would get at any of our stores. They shop at Amazon because it's cheap with lots of choices and convenient because they don't have to leave their home.

Amazon is a growing force to deal with, in my opinion they are more of an economic force than Walmart.

I'm no Amazon fan so I don't shop Amazon and all I know about there return policy is that people say it's easy. I believe them.

How to compete for the modern consumer is a real big topic.

Maybe the biggest change I've made is to be more accepting of price comparison and show rooming.

Doug
 
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