Monday, August 11, 2008

Once Upon a Time Toys: Rocky River, OH (don't shop)

I wrote and sent this letter to this quite elite, pretentious store in Rocky River, OH. Rocky River, OH is a very wealthy community in NE Ohio and this store caters to the more elite shopper. They carry quality products. Read the letter then DON'T SHOP THERE - go to :

Name: Thinker ToysStreet: 3887 Medina RoadAkron, oh 44333-2449Phone: (330) 665-3860

There's one in Parma, OH too. Have shopped many times: always pleased with their customer service and products.

Also try:
I've had similar, good experiences here too.

Once Upon a Time Toys
19285 Detroit Rd
Rocky River OH 44116

August 10, 2008

Well I had quite an experience at your store today.

I had been in your store Friday August 8, 2008 and had a delightful experience. I hadn’t been in your store in years and really only once or twice before. Your sales girl was wonderful – funny, helpful. I purchased a doll and two small ‘Smurf’ figurines which your sales girl and I laughed about (unfortunately I do not remember her name).

After a little thought I decided against the $35 doll for my 1 year old niece: what if she didn’t like it? She has two older brothers and this is her first baby doll. I was at another store Saturday and found a similar doll for $10. Seemed a better price to pay considering: 1) she may not like it at all and 2) it’ll probably be dragged all over the place. Both dolls were from good makers.

Sunday August, 10 2008 I return to your store to return the doll. There is a very pregnant girl who greets me warmly when I come in. We seem to be moving right along until she can’t get the credit card machine to credit the $37.70 for the doll. She goes in the back to ask for help. She comes back and tries again: to no avail. I find a few notepads and a card while I wait.

“Annie” comes out and tries too – again: nothing. They call a manager (Renee? [and it took a few moments to find her number]) as the machine is asking for a password to “credit” my card. I have worked with credit card machines in several business arenas for many years and think this is odd (both of your employees say similar things). Annie is following direction from the manager and attempting to credit my card $37.70 and ends up charging my card for $37.70. She has a short discussion on the phone (meantime I have been very patiently waiting – chatting with your very pregnant (and she told me very new employee. She also told me Annie only works one day/week – so two not-so-experienced people working a shift together…) employee – even gave her some coupons I had received from shopping at Toy ‘R Us. I have been nice, patient (very) this whole time.

Annie gets off the phone and tells me she’ll have to take my card information and have the manager run the credit after she gets in Tuesday. I told her she’ll have to call the manager back because I’m not leaving without either a credit to my card or cash (which both employees say they can’t do – it has to be refunded on the card: fine; I get that but it is not my fault your machine isn’t working properly and neither of these employees seems to recognize that. They keep telling me it’s not their fault. I mirror that and say I recognize it’s not your fault, that it’s the machines’ but it’s the stores’ machine so…) and I was even nice (firm but nice) about this. I tell Annie ‘I’m not leaving my credit card information (which is linked directly to my checking account) at some random store.” She says “We’re not some random store; we’ve been here in business for “X” (I forget how many) years.” I tried to tell her that you’re (the store) random to me. She is getting very, very agitated.

Annie calls said manager back and tells her that I am not comfortable leaving my card information for credit later. Annie offers to let me talk to the manager and I tell her ‘It’s not going to change my mind’. Annie is discussing whether she has enough cash in the drawer to cover the refund (which is now double the original amount so: $75.40) and confirms to the manager she does. She hung up and it’s instant poor attitude and customer service to me. She tells me this is going to be an “accounting nightmare for the manager” and frankly, I balance well over a million dollars every month for clients and do the accounts receivable/payable and payroll for the company I manage. I know this is no more than a simple journal entry (I even tell Annie: “That’s why they get paid the big bucks – it’s actually not that big of a deal”). She gives me the cash and makes a snide remark: “Well, there goes all my money for the drawer” (again – not my problem. I’m a customer who came in for a routine return – none of this is my fault).

I go on to tell Annie (who by now is so mad – red in the face mad) that it’s not that big of a deal – it all comes out in the wash. She says to me (in a very huffy, hot under the collar way) “Oh and you know everything there is to know about credit cards machines?” Now I’m getting mad and I tell her – “I’ve been very nice about this whole situation, I haven’t raised my voice, and now you’re going to give me attitude? This isn’t my fault”. There’s a little more back and forth about her poor customer service skills in this situation (I mean – is she kidding? This was not my fault – fault of the machine = fault of the company. Companies have to be responsible for their equipment). She is unreal and I tell her so (please keep in mind I never once raised my voice and you know there are plenty of customers out there who would have handled this much differently).

She gives me the cash, writes it out on a receipt, haves me sign that, sign the sales receipt from today and write my name, address and phone number on a piece of paper which I do (all the while with her complaining about this, that or the other thing [I have never had any retail experience like this: it was like I was in the Twilight Zone]). Before Annie gives me the cash the pregnant girl tries to see if they can void the last transaction on the credit card machine: that asks for a password too.

She (Annie) won’t let it go (I mean honestly – she’s a grown woman and I have been very accommodating in this situation which when all is said in done takes nearly 30 minutes) I tell her again: “I think I’ve been very nice about this – I haven’t raised my voice, I’ve been very patient – considering I’ve been in here 20 – 30 minutes now (which she tried to argue with me – I was in the store for about 25 minutes before I got out of there) just because the machine didn’t work and I didn’t do what you want does not make any of this my fault”. Now she wants my original sales receipt from Friday. I said sure – as long as I can get a copy. She tells me you have no copy machine and I said well – you cannot have my original receipt, you have all the information you need from these receipts (and I point out the item numbers etc.) she says “Well are you going to return the Smurfette or…” I cut her off and say no but I keep all of my receipts until they clear on my bank statement every month. The pregnant girl chimes in that they need the bar code on the original receipt. I told her the manager could call me if she did (which she shouldn’t need to do) – Annie literally slammed the receipt down in front and me and said “FINE!” and stormed off to the back room where she was when I came in.

I even stayed to purchase the additional items I had found while waiting and now even the pregnant girl is a little snotty. I mean – don’t your employees know the “the customer is always right” phrase? Come on – this was unbelievable! I told her (pregnant girl) that I know it’s frustrating but that it’s all resolvable – she tells me “yeah but we had to do something we’re not supposed to (refunding a credit card [now 2] transaction with cash)” and I told her “yeah but you had a manager on the phone – had her permission and that’s no reason for her (Annie) to get an attitude with me” – she completes the transaction (which I of course paid cash for) and hands me the bag and receipt.

I received no apology for my inconvenience, no thanks for my patience throughout this whole thing. She literally said nothing.

I will never, ever shop your store again. I will be posting this letter (exactly as it is here) on my blog for the entire world to see. I will tell anyone and everyone I know about this (I may even keep a few copies of this letter on me so I can hand it out to people) and I know a lot of people.

The lack of understanding, appreciation for my patience and overall kindness considering the poor – no; total lack of appropriate customer service here was astonishing.

I hope I reach enough people to hit you where it hurts: in the pocket book. Maybe this will prompt you to get more efficiently trained, customer service oriented employees.

This was hands down the most unreal, inappropriate behavior I have EVER – and I mean: ever, ever, ever experienced (and I shop a lot).

Leah M K


The Cooking Lady said...

Love your letter. It was detailed and informative. You had every right to be peeved, I know I would have.

And by the way, I have family(Husband side) in West Lake and North Olmstead. They re in the restauranr business.

Love your blog!

Jaime said...

i too have shopped at this store and been disappointed by their lack of customer service. thanks for the information and so sorry for you awful experience.

ThePark said...

Not sure I'm reading reviews of OUAT toy store, but maybe the dates are relevant to the posts? The store is more than delightful, the staff most engaging, informed and helpful. Too bad the locals don't step out much....this store is a gift to the locale.

ThePark said...

Can't believe my eyes....the store is a gift to the area....wonder how many times the above have visited and purchased from this lovely toy boutique since posting this horse poop.

LMK1976 said...

Actually, I have never stepped foot back in the store. As you'll see from the date (nearly five years ago) - that's quite some time. Since I posted this (I share this blog via email with family and friends) I have found many people with the same disdain as I posted here. I imagine they're still in business because of their ridiculously high prices. As for shopping local - you sound foolish when trying to chastise someone who nearly only shops local, never (literally EVER) eats from corporate restaurants, is on the board for two local non-profits (currently) and volunteers with four local non-profits that focus on local issues. So thanks for that commentary but you (who just signed up on to post a comment here...which leads me to believe you are somehow affiliated with this store and might be googling it to find out why the store is failing) really shouldn't try to argue with someone you know nothing about. Also, I get to moderate the comments here so...good luck getting in another argument!