Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sample Society December 2014: A Cautionary Tale

Hi hi!

      Haven't blogged in ages, but something happened where I really felt the need to share. Sample Society's boxes have been hits or misses for me lately. That's how these things are, some things you like, some things other people like.

     This box was awesome. Everything is perfectly curated, and the timing is spot on. Tried on the eye cream- it's really light and doesn't feel greasy or have random gross things peeling off your face (sampled a lot of those weird ones!). The RGB nail polish came right in time for my next manicure, and I'm super excited to try the Burberry thing. My friends and I are going out on Friday, so you can bet these products are going to be tested out!

     HOWEVER, one very upsetting thing occurred. I opened my Butter London Lip Balm to see the top smooshed. The lipstick was turned all the way down, so I chalked it up to poor design- the lip balm stuck out too far and hit the lid or something. Not a big deal- for now ("They might want to fix that" I thought). As I turned the lip balm upwards, eager to try it out, I noticed it was slanted. "Ohhh... it probably wasn't inserted straight, causing the top to be off too. Let me just push it in then, it won't look the same, but oh well."

I reached the bottom, and saw this. THE ENTIRE BASE IS BROKEN. That's lovely. Ok, no big deal, I'll just email customer service and ask for a replacement. When I had a burst sample for Birchbox (only one lipgloss after 2 years), I emailed them, and they sent me a replacement right away- got it the same week.

     The response from Sample Society is not the same at all. They said they don't have these items on hand, and can't send me a replacement, so they'll give me store credit of $5 for 90 days. WTF. Do you know what you can get for $5 from beautybar? GIFT BAGS AND RIBBON. AND, You have to buy $49 worth of things for free shipping. Otherwise, it's $5.99 for shipping. The Butter London lip balm is $20. So you're making me buy extra things, just to use this measly $5 credit, FOR SOMETHING THAT I ALREADY BOUGHT, THAT YOU SENT DAMAGED. WITH THIS FULLY PAID FOR BOX, SHOULD BE A BUTTER LONDON LIP BALM IN PERFECT CONDITION. I paid for a box in mint condition. Nowhere, did you say before this box was purchased that I am buying a box with items damaged. And with this joke of a credit, I can't even get the Butter London lip balm off the site to replace this broken one.

     Second point. VALID FOR 90 DAYS? That is ridiculously messed up. So now you're putting a time limit on when I have to make these EXTRA purchases by. Even though this is YOUR mistake, I have to pay for it (literally!).

     With this experience, I can say that Birchbox has way better customer service than Beauty Bar. If the boxes I like are becoming fewer, and the customer service is this poor (it was one service, that you can't even get right), it may not be worth it to continue with this subscription. Occasionally I do find gems in these boxes, but it may be more worth it to check out things that other customers have reviewed well instead of investing in the whole box.

     So now you've been warned. Butter London lip balm rant aside, I hope to be able to post swatches of the RGB nail polish in Oxblood later this week. Very excited!

***Customer Service Side Rant***

     This just reminded me again. A couple months ago, I went crazy trying to find a dress for a cocktail in the city for an awards show. I seriously went to 5 different malls in the same week. I found a candidate dress at one Lord & Taylor. When I went up to checkout, the manager snapped at me that there was no tag. I said "Ohh...ok..." and started to retract the dress, wondering why she didn't help me find a tag then- that's what sales associates at other stores normally do. The manager literally THREW the dress in my face. I couldn't believe it and stood there for several seconds stunned. It may sound like I'm being dramatic, but I can assure you that I am not. This was after walking all over the floor trying to find someone to help me check out and dealing with that frustration for half an hour (call me an idiot). I actually left the store, went shopping at Macy's, and came back. I've been so busy I haven't had time to write a complaint. You can bet that I will during my vacation though. I have the receipts (found the dress in a different size with tags- how hard was that?) with date and time, and that area was being filmed, so they can go and verify that information themselves. You can't treat people like that. The Lord & Taylor I usually go to is wonderful. They have excellent service and are always willing to help. This location, however, was not like it at all.

     I never used to write complaints to companies, but after working in industry, I realized the power of complaints. If you don't let the company know that something is wrong, then they can never improve, and nothing will change. Now, I'm not saying you should go crazy sending complaints about everything. Choose carefully to see if a situation can be improved.

     I was switching to Geico because of the low rates, but everyone I talked to had terrible things to say. I experienced part of the reason why myself when in one of the offices. The person I had helping me gave horrible customer service. She never went into any of the details of the policy- just pulled up what I had blindly filled in online, and asked me credit or debit. Then she rushed me as I was trying to read through the 30 pages of documents that I was supposed to sign. On top of that, she yelled at another customer to go home and do what he wanted to do over the phone. It was something that could be done in the office or on the phone, but this person has already come all the way to your office. Why would you send them home again? So I wrote out my concerns and sent them to the company. The manager of that office called me, and we had a chat. I don't know if anything became of that, but I suggested some extra training. Sales and customer service go hand in hand.

Hopefully you never have to go through these experiences, but if you have, I'd love to hear your story and how you handled it in the comments below!

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