A Tale of Two Retailers: My Awesome Home Depot Experience and Awful Gap Experience

Retail is not an easy job to work. While I’ve never done it myself, I can empathize with the long hours on your feet and having to deal with all manner of people day in and day out for a fairly low paying job.  I recently observed the HUGE contrast in how 2 retailers valued me as a customer.

gap-home-depot-stock

Gap Stock Price languishing in Blue, Home Depot Stock Price flying high in Red. Is it a coincidence or does great customer service have something to do with it?

Story 1 – Home Depot

We recently had some items stolen out of our garage. We had unfortunately left it open overnight and a burglar entered our garage and stole some brand new tools out of our garage. We had purchased a saw and an air compressor at Home Depot during the Black Friday weekend. My husband got a great price on their Home Depot Rigid brand of tools. He bought them in order to do some projects around the house, but as it was late November when he bought them, he did not get a chance to start using them (or even take them out of the box!) over the winter.

The day we discovered them missing, I went to our nearest Home Depot to inquire if anyone had attempted to return our items without a receipt. They said they didn’t think so, but it would be impossible to tell us since the same people don’t work the returns desk day in and out. I asked if they might be willing to sell us the same tools at the same discount. I still had the receipt and the manager took a look and agreed to do it. It was only $50 off the in store price for the saw, and $30 off the compressor. We ended up spending around $400 right then and there to replace our tools. They weren’t obligated to give us an extra discount, but if they hadn’t, we weren’t sure if we were going to spend the money to replace the tools. Instead, with great customer service, Home Depot made a sale and gained 2 loyal customers.

Story 2 – The Gap

We had received a gift for my son’s birthday that wasn’t the right size, so we took it to the Gap to exchange it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that same item and I couldn’t find anything else for him, so I ended up just picking out 2 t-shirts for my daughter. Well, after taking them home, she decided she didn’t like 1 of the t-shirts… so I had to go back to the Gap again.

On my second trip, I brought back the 1 shirt she didn’t like, and the associate started the return. Because I had made the original purchase with the returned gift and my credit card, only part of the shirt’s refund would go back to my credit card, and part would go back to a PAPER merchandise credit. (I don’t want to derail this, but it’s 2017… why are they still bothering to use paper and not just refund to a gift card?!)

Here is where this story gets a little silly. The total refund amount was $20.48. The amount going back to my card was $20.29. The amount they wanted to put on the paper merchandise certificate was 19 cents.

I’ve gotten these merchandise certificates before from the Gap and it is just a pain to use. They can only be used in store (not online) and they put my name on the certificate so that only I can use it. Well, for 19 cents, I thought “Surely, they will just cash it out”. Unfortunately, I WAS WRONG!

First, the associate was very condescending and told me that “the system won’t let me do it” and she at first, refused to ask her manager. I didn’t want to make a huge fuss over 19 cents, but I was really annoyed with her treatment of me, so I asked for her manager to come talk to me. When the manager finally arrived, I explained that our state law was that gift certificates under $5 had to be cashed out. The manager said that there was no way for her to cash it out (Hello… you can open the register?) and that because it was a merchandise certificate and not a gift card, she “couldn’t” do it.

This has basically told me 1 thing: Gap values me as a customer, at less than 19 cents.

I was already thinking how I hardly shop at the Gap anymore, and poor customer service is a big reason why. Blaming the computer system is a poor excuse by the Gap employees.  To boot, I re-read the relevant state statutes and while I am not a lawyer, my read is that merchandise certificates/store credits should be covered under this statute and I should have been entitled to having it redeemed for cash.

gap merchandise credit voucher

Gap Values Me As A Customer At Less Than 19 cents

 

How To Keep Your Digital Photos Safe

Soon after my daughter was born, we booked a newborn shoot which yielded some amazing photos that I will cherish forever. I also took massive amounts of photos of my new little one with my own camera. I wanted to make sure that these photos would be safe and protected from various threats and disasters. Hard drive failure is one of the most common things to happen to a computer. I also worried that someone may break into my home and steal my computer.

Cloud Backup for Photos

To mitigate these threats, I started looking into a cloud based backup service. I wanted to find a solution which was:

  1. Affordable
  2. Dependable
  3. Secure
  4. Provided automated backups
  5. Provided an easy way to retrieve data

The solution I found that met all of my criteria was CrashPlan!  I love the service so much I’ve recommended it lots of times to friends and family

CrashPlan Best Cloud Backup For PhotosCrashPlan offers a free and paid version of their service. The free service will backup to other computers, and to the CrashPlan servers, but files will only remain there for 30 days.  The paid service will back up your data from 1-10 computers (1 computer is an Individual account, 2-10 requires a Family account) to CrashPlan in the cloud. Backups stay on their servers as long as you have an active subscription, and they will also keep multiple versions if the file has changed.

To get started, you download the CrashPlan desktop client and start configuring it. After that, it starts the process of uploading your data to their servers. The application will monitor your hard drive for new files and changed files and upload to the CrashPlan servers (labeled below as CrashPlan Central). It is also nice to see how much data will be uploaded and how long it will take. I also receive an email on a weekly basis telling me how many files/how much data has changed.

CrashPlanClient

CrashPlan encrypts your data before uploading, so even if their servers are attacked, your data won’t be exposed. You can restore your data via any browser or the CrashPlan desktop client.

An Individual account is very affordable, at only $59.99 per year. This really gives me peace of mind that my photos and data are safe.

Multiple friends recommended Dropbox. While I do love Dropbox, it didn’t meet all of my criteria. Dropbox Pro only provides up to 1TB of storage and is $9.99/month (or $99/year). I have a massive collection of photos and video that I wanted backed up, so Dropbox was out.

Fall/Winter Designer Clearance Sales

Happy holidays to you and yours. I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2016 and have a happy new year. The Fall/Winter designer clearance season is upon us and there are some really special bags and coats that are currently on sale at great prices.

Here’s a few of my favorites.

Burberry Small Milton Bag in Grainy Leather

From the first time I saw this bag in the Burberry boutique in Vancouver, I fell in love and nearly took her home with me right then and there. This two tone bag is truly stunning.  The Milton is also available in baby crossbody size and a medium tote size.

Burberry Lace T-Shirt Dress

I saw this in the window of my local Burberry boutique and it was stunning. The two tone lace is gorgeous!  The photo really does not do this dress justice.

Burberry Lace T-Shirt Dress

Burberry Lace T-Shirt Dress

Burberry Classic Trench with Oversized Details

I’ve been searching for the perfect, classic trench coat and Burberry is an obvious candidate. What is not to love about this?

Burberry Classic Oversized Detail Trench

Burberry Classic Oversized Detail Trench

Longchamp Small Pénélope Fantaisie Tote Bag

I love the mix of the suede and grained leather. I think the small size is also perfect for a petite gal like me.

Chloe Small Drew

I think the Chloe Drew is the new “it” bag. I’ve seen it everyone on celebs and I love it. The chain strap makes it a little dressier and special in my opinion. I love this pink color and I think in the smaller profile, it is perfect.

 

Chloe Hudson with fringe

I saw this Chloe Hudson in the store and the fringe is so fun. I love the boho look and feel of the bag! Be aware that the fringe does get a little unwieldy if you’re opening the bag up, but I think its so fun I don’t think I’d mind it.

Chloe Hudson Fringe

Chloe Hudson Fringe

Neiman Marcus Friends and Family Sale

Neiman Marcus is having their very first Friends and Family sale. Take 20% off your in store and online purchase of any regular-priced purchase, though there are some exclusions. Use code FRIENDME. I noticed that while the details for the promo are kind of fuzzy on what merchandise is excluded, it might be based on brands. For instance, I tried applying the promo on a Chloe and Burberry bag and it wouldn’t take the discount off. The sale goes through today.

If Neiman decides to do this again, I’d love to see less exclusions. Typically Friends and Family sales are on nearly everything in the store. While I realize that sometimes certain brand agreements prohibit this, it would be nice to see that beauty is not unilaterally excluded and more premier designers are participating.

Cyber Week

Happy Friday! Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend with your near and dear.

I managed to do a bit of damage with Black Friday deals. Here’s my haul from last week:

I saw this picture of this gorgeous metallic lace dinnerware and I fell in love!  I knew these were not going to be our everyday plates, as they are handwash only, but I could live with having a set on hand for desserts!  I scored a set of dessert plates and I also added 2 dinner plates and 2 bowls. The gold color is definitely prettier than the silver colorway, but the gold is currently sold out in plates.  Bowls are still available in both colors, as well as the cake stand!  While I would LOVE the cake stand, I really have no space for it, so I sadly had to pass on that one. I can’t wait to have my girlfriends over for desserts soon!

Anthropologie Metallic Lace Plates Bowls

Anthropologie Metallic Lace Plates and Bowls

I also picked up a small Voluspa Lychee candle and a Capri Blue Volcano candle. Both smell amazing and I love the cut glass jar of the Voluspa and the iridescent jar of the Volcano candle!  I haven’t decided if these will be given as Christmas gifts or if they will stay with me… :-)

I also bought a few Christmas presents for the kids. A few of the kids in my life will be getting Melissa and Doug train sets.  A few others will be getting some Melissa and Doug crafts. I *loved* crafts as a girl… my absolute favorite thing to receive for Christmas was a kit to make something, so I hope the kids enjoy!

naturalizer_kepler_bootie

I bought myself a new pair of booties. I have never worn booties before, so I will have to figure out how to style them!  This purchase was almost purely practical. I have to walk outside in the cold and rainy weather everyday for at least 10 minutes and my feet get way too cold in my usual ballet flats, so I needed something a little more substantial. I hope these are comfortable!

I also purchased quite a few new beauty products for myself. A friend got me interested in Korean beauty products so I jumped on a few deals that I found. There were tons of Cyber Monday sales, so I bought a few of Missha’s best sellers, including their Time Revolution essence and sheet masks. I also repurchased the Laneige moisturizer that I tried and finished a few months ago.

Hope you had a wonderful week!  Did you do any shopping like me?

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