Archive | customer service RSS feed for this section

tutus, car seats and everything in between

9 Jun

If you need it, Baby Chic's got it.

If you’re a regular reader of RFYO, you know that my mom loves to shop.  But she’s not an ordinary shopper.  She’s a bargain hunter.  And not just a bargain hunter, but an expert at whatever she buys.  Recently, her shopping habits have trended towards the virtual (Ebay sends her personalized notes to inform her of new services), but lately, and since the birth of Fionn, she’s got a new favorite bricks-and-mortar store.

Whenever it’s determined that Fionn ‘needs’ something toy-or-gear related, Grandma’s ready.  No more waiting for those golden-ticket-like 20% off coupons from Big Box Baby, and no more driving to the mega kids toy store by the mega mall.  Instead, she heads directly to Baby Chic in Williston Park, Long Island, a very selective consignment shop with an excellent selection for babies and kids.

Car seat, anyone?

Anyone with a child knows how quickly babies grow out of (or grow up from) things.   And it’s amazing how much stuff kids can amass over such a short period of time.   Look at these photos – the place is PACKED with stuff, everything from car seats (above) to walkers/exersaucers/play tables, to toys, books, clothes and strollers.   It’s not a new idea – the baby consignment shop, but it is one that’s picking up speed, especially in this day and age.  I should probably mention at this point that this post is not a paid advertisement.  This shop really impressed me, and there are three things which really set it apart from the other places I’ve seen that make it worth a physical or virtual visit:

1.  The proprietors.

The two women (moms) who run this shop know everything about everything they sell, and it’s apparent that they truly care about what they do.   If you’ve ever tried buying a car seat from the R Us franchise, you’ll see the difference right away.  Today, Tiffany gave us a tour of everything in the shop, answering my mom’s questions about Baby Bjorns (for her future granddaughter) and helped Fionn try out all the age-appropriate toys.

New Danskin, at discount

2. The product condition.

As this is a resale shop, Baby Chic depends on all of us to bring in items in EXCELLENT condition.  Their standards are strict – you’re not going to see anything covered in garage-sale-grime here.  I was surprised to see how many items were actually Brand New In Box… (heck, I could have unloaded quite a few gifts from my baby shower, come to think of it).   Today I saw Dwell Studio bedding and a rack of Danskin leotards (which is never, ever, discounted) in bags, with tags, for great prices.  I felt like I was in TJ Maxx.

Tutus and wings

Popatu close up, $12.99

3.  The tutus

I have a boy, so I’m not a tutu shopper.  Apparently, these are all the rage, and I see them on little girls in my neighborhood ALL THE TIME.  Plus, they’re super cute.   These tutus are all new, by the way.  Briefly, they sell Pettiskirts for $21.99, flower-petal tutus for $10.99 (with wings, for $18), and I believe the Popatu tutu (above) is $12.99.  But Tiffany knows more than anyone should about them too, so please contact her with your questions.

Don’t live in the area and want to buy something? Don’t fret.  They’re going to start selling merchandise via their website very shortly.  So keep checking out their website.  And if there’s something specific you’re looking for, I’m sure they can work something out and get it to you.

the day that everything broke

3 Mar

Ikea, I’m liking you more each and every day.

Yesterday was a fun one. In fact, it seems to have been a week of things falling apart. Hope this post isn’t too much of a downer, though; I’m hoping to highlight the happy (but rare) examples of customer service and how it’s made me want to do business with these companies again. And for those of you who have disappointed me, you know who you are, and this is just the beginning.

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” William Congreve

1. UppaBaby G-Luxe ($165 value)

Stroller, unbroken.

Cracked.

The first day we’re headed into town on the subway. I get baby suited up with the fleece, the shoes, the hat, the sleeping-bag bunting, and Sophie the Giraffe. We’re headed down the mini-flight of steps from building to street (mummy’s building her upper-arm strength) when I feel something -give- under my hand. Friendly neighbor walking by says to me, “I think your stroller is broken.”

Sure enough, Fionn’s seat is hanging under him; luckily the seatbelt’s still intact. Luckily times two we have an extra stroller in the house.

Long story short: Stop by Ola Baby, where stroller was purchased late January, asking about exchange. Manager refers me to UppaBaby customer service and hands me a Post-it with a phone number. I email the photo (above), include a scanned copy of our receipt and serial number, and lovely Robin at customer support (robin@uppababy.com) apologizes and orders a new stroller to be sent to my home.
Verdict: Ola Baby – C (for not offering a replacement in-store), UppaBaby – A+

2. ParkLane Baby Mod/Million Dollar Baby ($275 value)

This is how it’s meant to look.

This is one piece of a three-part set in Fionn’s nursery, alongside the three-drawer changing table and the matching crib (see here for a post by the kids at Young House Love documenting their decision to buy the same one.) Given my vested interest in maintaining this symmetry, I’m loath to replace the piece, but it’s starting to look like that might be necessary.

Cracked.

First, a drawer. Crazy me, I was opening it when this happened. Weight of roughly twenty onesies caused the bottom to collapse, which then cracked the wood on the side of the piece. Called Walmart, who said my 90-day return window was up, so, um, not their problem. Learned the piece was manufactured by Million Dollar Baby. Contacted them online. Found it interesting that there’s a unique section on their website for replacement parts. Don’t know if this is heartening or discouraging. After one email and two phone calls, they’ve agreed to send me a new side piece, which should fix everything.

Ugh.

Until today, when one open drawer shortly turned into three crooked ones. The unit now sways from side to side, the drawers don’t stay straight, and I’m just worried about the whole thing toppling over. Yes, I know it’s a do-it-yourself jobbie. But for some reason, I expect it from a $59 Kullen chest of drawers from Ikea (which I have in our room). This cost almost $300 dollars. I’m set to re-contact MDB and request a replacement. Let’s see what they say.
Verdict: Walmart: Whatever. MDB: Incomplete.

UPDATE: Received a kind and prompt email from Maria at MDB/DaVinci, with whom I’ve been speaking since this all began. She sought and received permission from her supervisor to send me a replacement dresser, completely free of charge. And the best part? I don’t have to deal with sending back the old one. Thanks, Maria.
Verdict: MDB – A+

3. Boon Flair high chair ($200 value)

The seat was the only non-damaged part.

OMG. I can’t freaking believe this one. By the way, this post is in no way intended to denigrate Boon, an amazing company with beautifully-designed products. Babies R Us, on the other hand, needs a slapdown.

Ordered the Flair highchair online, applying the $100 gift card I’d received from my amazing aunt and grandparents (thanks Jill, Bubbie and Grandpa Marvin!) Was super-excited to see the huge box at my doorstep nearly three days earlier than expected.

Here’s where my husband says I get too excitable about new things. Pulled the contents out of the package, collapsed all the cardboard, got my screwdriver out, and set off to put the thing together. Only five minutes later did I notice the tray was missing and the tray cover was nowhere to be found. Then, flipped high chair over to find this:

Really? I mean, really???

Not only had someone used the high chair before it was shipped to me (as indicated by said missing parts and scuffs on plastic base), I discovered quite an impressive screwdriver-inflicted hack job by someone disassembling the thing.

Contacted customer service, who said UPS will come and get it within the next 3-8 business days. (Basically, I have to wait until I miss them the first time, then schedule time for them to return and pick up the box, the only option besides leaving it for days in the hallway of my small building). But the kicker? They won’t send a replacement to me, because I used a gift card. As Customer Service Lady informed me, they have to reissue a gift card and send it to me in the mail, upon which time I can then reorder the high chair myself.

Guess what I did? Asked for the gift card back, requested a refund for the difference, and took my business over to Amazon.com.
Verdict: Babies R Us – F

UPDATE: Shortly after the BRU incident, I sent a letter to Claire Babrowski, COO of Toys R Us. This morning, I received a reply. Here it is, in its entirety:
Jamie,
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed note. I am so sorry to hear of your experience and appreciative of the information to back track and see what happened. As you can imagine, nothing in your experience matches what we expect to happen.
I’m sorry if we’ve lost you as a customer. If there’s anything I can do to get you to give us another try, I’d like the chance.
In the meantime, I’ll sort out what happened here and fix it.
Thanks, Jamie.
Claire Babrowski

Let’s see what happens next.

4. Blomus USA

And lest we forget my friend Mark at Blomus USA (per my earlier post on exploding firescreens). Not only has he sent me a replacement screen, he forwarded me the safety report conducted on my firescreen, both to avoid liability and to reassure me of his products’ safety.
Verdict: Blomus – A+

Will keep you all posted. Any similar freak destruction stories? Would love to hear.