29 November 2009

Third Time's the Charm? Nope - Three Strikes, They're Out. 1-800-No-Flowers.com

Well, after giving 1800Flowers.com every opportunity to make the situation right (see last post: Bye-bye 1800Flowers.com),  they dug themselves in deeper and deeper, and I have decided not to shop with them again.  I'd like to offer a little lesson the the folks at 1800Flowers.com.  Pay close attention, now:

For those of you who wonder how the story ended, here it is, in all its ridiculousness:

After the complaint about the second delivery (the laughable replacement for the unsatisfactory first delivery), I decided to send them pictures, so that they could see for themselves.  They then sent me notice confirming that I had received my order.  (Um, thanks.  I know that.  That's where the pictures came from).  1800Flowers.com then told me to look over their site and order something in a comparable price range.  I responded that all I wanted was what I had originally ordered, thank you.  They responded by canceling my order and refunding my money. (No explanation, no apology, just canceling). 

I can't say they never apologized, but it was only form e-mails: "We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused." Not the "My gosh, we totally screwed this up, but we will make it right for you" that you might expect, being a regular customer. I thought I'd give one last chance, told them that they are losing a good customer, that they're turning someone who once recommended them into someone who will warn people away from them, and, to be fair, told them that I'm blogging about the experience.   I also asked that a manager review the situation and get back to me.

Their response: Another Customer Service rep (no manager) gave me more generic form-letter babble about their "policies" and their "hope that [their] service has been satisfactory in the past" (Um, yeah, I would hope so too, but how would I know?) and their hope that they will have a chance to regain my trust in the future.  I'm usually loyal to a fault, but there're only so many chances I'll give when I can tell the company isn't even trying to make sure I'm satisfied. 

Many of my friends, and a very nice commenter on my last post, have recommended going strictly local for ordering flowers.  Before this happened, I might have said that 1800Flowers.com uses local florists, so it is local.  I encourage you to read the comment by Sandy Buss on the previous post.  Sandy is a florist, and she explains in detail how the relationship between the online "order gatherers" and the local florist works.  With the enormous fees that the online floral sites charge, going through them doesn't benefit the customer or the local florist.  Better to go directly through your local shop.

I'm serious about not shopping with 1800Flowers.com again.  I feel so embarrassed that the people I have sent flowers to over the last few years might have received the kind of crap I received this week when I finally placed an order for myself.  (I have to say that when my mom saw the atrocious second bouquet today she exclaimed, "Oh Kim - I wouldn't even want that if someone gave it to me as a gift!")

I've been researching my local florists this afternoon, and I have some good ideas for where to go next time I order flowers.  If you're considering making the same kind of move, here's a helpful website: FloristDEX.com.  This site not only gives you contact info for florists in your area (along with maps to their shops), it gives links to their websites, information about flowers, ideas for what to write on the card, and all kinds of other good info.

Overall, going directly through your local florist seems to be a win-win, and I repeat what I said originally:  Bye-bye 1800Flowers.com!

28 November 2009

Bye-bye 1800Flowers.com

My husband and I haven't hosted a holiday for the extended family for a few years. When we decided to do Thanksgiving this year, I thought I'd splurge, and get a big, beautiful, expensive bouquet from my favorite convenient online floral place, 1800Flowers.com.

I picked out the absolutely gorgeous "Fields of Europe, Fall" bouquet, and ordered the large size for $60 (pictured, above right).  Beautiful, isn't it?  I wanted it for my front hall table so people would see it as they came in.  I was excited.  I am a frequent customer with 1800Flowers.com, but I've never bought for myself before, so this would be a treat.

The flowers arrived the day before Thanksgiving, as ordered.  I ripped open the packaging, and was disappointed to see that the arrangement was considerably smaller than I had pictured it being.  Sure enough, I pulled up the picture and the measurements online, and it was indeed smaller, in fact two sizes smaller, or the equivalent of $20 smaller!  It also had a different vase, and the "river rocks" on the bottom looked like fish tank gravel (and dirty fish tank gravel, at that). See what you think:

What I got was very pretty, but it wasn't like the pictured bouquet.  I measured it, and rather than 17" tall and 14" diameter, it was 15.5" tall, and 11"-11.5" in diameter (which is their small size).  I e-mailed in my complaint at around noon on Wednesday.  At 8:45 on Wednesday evening,  I got a terse e-mail reply asking if I wanted them to have the florist come back and pick up the bouquet and deliver a large one.  Um, well - since that's what I ordered, yeah, I guess so.  Could they get it to me before noon on Thanksgiving?  No.  (Of course not).  I also made it quite clear that I wanted the vase, rock and raffia to be identical to the image they presented on the website.

Friday morning I got a message on my cell phone saying that they couldn't find anyone who could deliver the replacement bouquet Friday, but that a different florist could get them to me Saturday.  The person, without apologizing, said that she had specifically spoken to the new florist, and that they had the correct vase and rocks, and that they had all the necessary flowers except one, so there would be one substitution.  Whatever.

So this afternoon (Saturday),  the new bouquet arrives on my doorstep.  If the first bouquet was a joke, this replacement bouquet showed that the joke was on me.  Here is the pitiful thing:

Vase? Wrong! Raffia? Wrong! Rocks? Acceptable.  Size? WRONG! (15" x 12", instead of 17" x 14")  Type of flowers... Did they even know which arrangement I ordered???  Colors? FAIL!

Seriously... in whose world is it acceptable to charge $60 for flowers that look like the picture at top, and to send the bouquet at right??  They knew this was a replacement for a disappointed customer, and not only is it wrong, wrong, wrong, but the large lily in the front is crushed and damaged.

In my original e-mail I told them that I am a regular customer and asked how often this type of thing happens.  I said that I am somewhat concerned that what I have been buying and paying for is not what my friends and family have been getting.  I received no response to that.

Is bait-and-switch their standard modus operandi? I have a new e-mail in to their Customer Service.  Unless I receive some kind of plausible explanation and amazing apology, it's time to say goodbye to 1800Flowers.com, because for all the perceived convenience, it seems they've been taking me for a ride.  And had I not decided to splurge on myself, I would've blindly kept shopping there, never knowing that what I've been paying for isn't even remotely close to what I've been getting.

21 November 2009

Having a Zen Moment

A few weeks ago I won a contest on Twitter by a place called ZenBlocks.com  (@ZenBlocks) wherein I guessed the species of the next batch of Zen Blocks to be made. Working for a woodworking retailer, and trying to keep up on all things wood-related, I had just read an article on a spectacular batch of old-growth mahogany that had recently been uncovered. So, just for fun, I entered the guess of old-growth mahogany.  Well, the answer wasn't old-growth, but mahogany was correct and I was the winner!

Got my Zen Blocks today and I love them!  I have been coveting these things since I first saw them several months ago!

I'm one of those people who either paces, doodles, or plays with things while on the phone. My current fidget-item is a little glass bowl filled with polished rocks that we picked up on the beach at Lake Eshquaguma (where our cabin is).  I love to put my fingers in the bowl and just turn them over and over. (I'm very tactile).

These Zen Blocks are the same kind of thing. They just sit there begging you to touch them and play with them. I adore them. If you'd like your own set, you get get them at ZenBlocks' Etsy store.  These would make a great holiday gift.  They come in different species, and some even have fancy inlaid stripes.

Thanks so much, ZenBlocks, for sending them to me!  Signing off to go meditate now....

18 November 2009

Web Tangents: Around the Web on a Wednesday

WhitePineLane Web TangentsFirst off, HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS, PEOPLE? There is an Eggo Waffle shortage, and we may have to live without Eggo waffles until early 2010. Wha... at?? No NutriGrain Whole Wheat Eggo Waffles on a Saturday morning? I am new to reading The Blogess ("Like Mother Teresa, Only Better"), but enjoying her so far. She fills you in on the whole Onion-like crisis here. My favorite is one of the comments on her blog post: "Waffle we do??"

Oh, and speaking of The Onion, did you know that December has been named National Awareness Month? Check it out!

Next, we roll back over to Twitter, which is where I first heard of the horrible waffle shortage of '09. A few tweets earlier, I had re-tweeted (by hand, mind you, not the stupid new-fangled way) my displeasure with the new Retweet system. My work Twitter account had been included in the beta today, and I was not at all pleased with what I saw. I heartily agree with Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media when she explains Why Twitter's New Retweet Feature Sucks. Fresh from retweeting to my tweeps about the Retweeting Function sucking and the global waffle crisis, I come back to my Twitter home page I find that my account is now in on the Retweet beta. Augh! No likey.

Over on Facebook, my friend Yvonne is looking for Zhu Zhu Pets for her cutie little twins. I looked around and sent her this: Got Zhu Zhu? Top Ten Ways to Score a Hamster!

Then I'm suddenly struck by a brilliant idea - I'll go over to Squidoo and make a Zhu Zhu lens! I'll make a mint in the month before Christmas, with all the Zhu Zhu searchers out there! Hmm, well. Fortunately, I searched Squidoo first to see what I was up against, and found... 70+ lenses about Zhu Zhus. Squidoo got Zhu Zhu? Yes... yes we do.
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