Friday, December 4, 2009

Clearing The Clutter And Customer Service

I haven't been around as much as I'd like lately because I've been really busy.  I got it in my head that I wanted to go through every closet, drawer and cabinet in the house and get rid of all of the unused or underused items taking up space.   It's been quite an undertaking, but I feel really good about it.

I went into this project telling myself to make decisions logically, not emotionally, but I still found it hard to part with some things.  I'm not really a pack rat by nature, but I am sentimental.  In the end, logic won out.  I reminded myself that stuff is just stuff.  Keeping items that remind me of when my kids were babies won't bring those days back.  On the flip side, parting with them won't erase cherished memories.

I still have a few cabinets to go through, and I didn't even start on the basement, but we donated more than 18 bags of toys, clothes and household items to charity.  If that's not worthwhile, I don't know what is.


Customer Service

On our way back from a trip to drop off some of our charitable donations, Mr. Willoughby and I decided to stop at a little store we had passed regularly but never been in.  From the outside, I thought it was a typical resale shop with the standard assortment of trash and treasures.  Once we were inside the door, I saw I had been wrong. 

This shop was filled with gorgeous vintage and antique furniture, glassware and home accessories.  There was holiday music playing and the whole store was decorated for Christmas.  Each vignette looked like a room in someone's home, all decked out and waiting for company to arrive.  From the Duncan Phyfe dining table with it's vintage bone china and delicate wine glasses to the tufted antique settee and inlay end tables, we were quite taken with this place.

We decided right away that this might be the perfect place to do some Christmas shopping.  Most of the adults on our list have similar taste to ours, so we were confindent that we could find a great gift.  When I looked at the price tags, however, I changed my mind a little.  This place was expensive!  They had a nice set of glass bar decanters labeled for Scotch, Whiskey, Gin and Rum that we liked, but they were priced at $55 dollars per bottle.  At least I think they were.

The price tags were incredibly difficult to read.  Many of the items in the store are on consignment, so each tag had multiple numbers to identify the vendor, the item, various dates and multiple prices.  We could only assume that the lowest price on each tag applied, but it wasn't clear.   An antique sideboard, for example, was labeled $1350, $1275 and $1250. 

When we passed from one room of the store to the other, we came across a woman setting out new merchandise.  She asked if we were looking for anything in particular, but when I told her we were just browsing, she abruptly turned away.  I started to tell her that we had passed the store many times, but that this was our first time coming in.  She cut me off in mid sentence to chat with a coworker.  I was hoping to ask her how the pricing worked, but she clearly didn't have time for "browsers".  The man running the cash register was no better.  He was talking with a woman who had brought in some items for consignment and never looked up.

This store is in a small town about 15 miles away from our town.  It's not an affluent area, so you would expect fabulous personal service if they are going to charge prices that are double what the local antique stores charge.  We would have been happy to have simply been treated as anything but annoying distractions.  One of our favorite sayings is "Vote with your feet" and that's exactly what we did.  We walked out without buying a thing.  And we won't be back anytime soon.


Willoughby

12 comments:

Purple Flowers said...

I don't blame you.
Re: cleaning out. Doesn't it feel great. It's like a cleansing of the soul.

Life Laugh Latte said...

I was just wondering how Christmas shopping and blogging were going to coexist? Not to mention that when I bring out all of the Christmas stuff my house is a little more cluttered, which then makes me organize the heck out of it. During holidays I dream of my sister's 7500 sq ft. house in Missouri. Aint happening in California! Holly

Lissaloo said...

I don't blame you, I had 2 bad customer service experiences at Linens and Things and will never shop there again, I"m not funding rudeness. 18 bags! That is Wonderful, great job! :)

Holly said...

I am purging at my home too. Trying to break free of all those baby toys that the little one has out grown, but maybe mommyis not ready to let go of yet....and clothes, etc. It feels good, but man there is a lot.

As for customer service, I worked retail for 10 years, and even if I didn;t like it, I sucked it up and was nice and helpful. I refuse to shop from or frequent a restaurant, store, etc. without proper customer service anymore.

Tins and Treasures said...

I am so proud of you for cleaning out...purging...
Last summer, I spent a lot of time doing just that...I took over 30 large bags and boxes to our local Nearly New shop. It does feel good, doesn't it?!

Happy Weekend ~Natalie

Chicago Mom said...

We donate stuff so often that Purple Hearts call US to see if we have more for them! I have found that the more time passes since the usefulness of an object, the easier it is to give away. :)
Such a shame that the prices were too high and the workers were rude - a good antique store is a treasure!

Raoulysgirl said...

I have something for you over at my place!!! Stop by when you get a chance....

Meals by Misty said...

Good job cleaning house and getting rid of things you don't need. I am a pack rat (says my husband) and I like to keep things for sentimental purposes. He thinks I should be on the new Hoarders show :)

kys said...

Congrats on the cleaning and purging! I have been in the mood to do some of that. So far I've just done my oldest son's closet and the medicine cabinet.

As for that store, I don't blame you. I would have walked out, too.

Joanna Jenkins said...

"Vote with your feet." I like that! What a shame there was no customer service, especially in these economic times. That's too bad.

I'm cleaning closets too! It feels good, doesn't it :-)

xo

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

What a shame, I worked in customer service for about 8 years, I always talked it up with everyone. Then again, I was awfully good at convincing browsers to be shoppers ;)

Jenn Erickson said...

Way to go on the de-cluttering project! Good for you on walking out of that rude story. There's just no excuse or reason for that sort of treatment of customers. My husband and I used to own a store and our m.o. was to always greet everyone just the same. Browsers are potential customers. And in a small town, the word about rude service can get around fast and really destroy a business. What nimrods!