Crate & Barrel Sucks

| April 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

This post was in my drafts section and was written years ago. I posted it thinking that WordPress would preserve the original date. It did not. So, it is posted out of sequence.

I used to be a fan of Crate and Barrel.  I have spent many thousands of dollars at the Spring Valley store in Washington, DC.  I find the products of high quality and tasteful design.  And their salespeople are unfailingly polite and solicitous.  It’s like they are good a both ends, but suck in the middle.

About a year ago, I bought some patio furniture for more than $3,000.  It was probably two months before I was able to actually sit on the furniture on my back deck, all because they couldn’t produce the cushions that went on the furniture.  But the worst part of the experience is that I was guaranteed on multiple occasions by their very solicitous salespeople that the cushions would arrive at my house on a date certain…..and nothing would come.  It would happen again and again and again, with various explanations for the breakdown in each individual instance.  In the end, the store grudgingly gave me a $150 gift card as compensation for the enormous hassle that this nightmare caused.

I was so frustrated, I boycotted the company for a year.  But I had this gift card, so I finally decided to weigh in again and buy a barbecue grill.

Big mistake.  Another nightmare.

The grill I bought was a heavily promoted Weber grill called the Performa.  It was prominently placed in the catalog and set up at the front of two different stores that I happened to walk by.  You would think they would have a large supply to satisfy the demand they were seeking to stimulate.  But, if you thought that, you would be wrong.

I took my chances and ordered the grill online for pick up at the local store in the Spring Valley section of Washington, DC using the gift card. I also bought a bunch of accessories.   Oddly, only part of the order could be picked up and some items had to be shipped by mail.  Whatever.

I was pleasantly surprised the next day when I got an email saying that my order was ready for pickup.    I braved one of our DC monsooned to go the store to pick up the grill after work. Then, the nightmare began.

The sales person brought two small boxes containing a couple of the accessories, but no grill.  After some buzzing around, it was determined that there was no grill and the manager had called my home to alert me of that fact, notwithstanding the email I had received.  This call didn’t help as I had not been home.  I only had the email.

And then it got worse.  I would not be able to get the grill from that store for two weeks.  The only way to get the grill  in a timely fashion was to cancel this order and re-order the grill at the far away Montgomery Mall store in Maryland.  AND I could not use the gift card.  They would resend the gift card, which I could use on a future purchase.

I didn’t respond well to this news, which I”m sure didn’t help matters. But finally a manager promised to get to the bottom of the problem, order the new grill and get the gift card applied.  She promised that she, or someone, would call me the next day.

The next day…..nothing.

The day after, I called and got another very solicitious sales person who expressed great sympathy for my problem, apologized profusely and promised to fix the situation.  She promised to call me the next day.

The next day….nothing.

It is now three days since I was promised a call.  Meanwhile, accessories have been arriving in the mail, two separate shipments.  That, plus the accessories that I was given the night I visited the store has me fully equipped for a family barbeque with everything, except the grill.

So, here I sit, waiting for the phone to ring.  It’s clear that, if I don’t push this along, nothing will happen.   Whatever does happens next will involve further hassle.  Either I will have  go through the whole story with some other solicitous salesperson who will promise to help, but won’t.  Or I could bring all the accessories in that I received through various channels to try to return them, but I’m that will be confusing for some solicitous salesperson and time consuming for me.  Or I can keep calling pleading with them to sell me this heavily promoted product.  Somehow, I don’t think I should have to work so hard to give my money to a retailer.  Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to be working on my behalf.

Or I can write this blog post and hope someone at Crate and Barrel sees it and has the decency to try to solve my problem with something other than solicitous words.


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