I recently bought two of the same loose weave, linen summer tops at Eileen Fisher, one in white and one in eggplant. I wore the eggplant top on a day I stayed at home, so it looked pretty good at day’s end.
I wore the white top to an appointment downtown and when I got home I noticed that the fabric had pilled and pulled all along the bottom. I surmised that this was caused by my shoulder bag rubbing against the (obviously frail) fabric as I walked. I wasn’t wearing a coat because it’s almost summer and I didn’t need one.
I couldn’t wait to return it and get my money back. This wasn’t one of those disposable pieces that cost $7.99. It was $198, overpriced to begin with, and now a raggedy mess.
The saleswomen looked at me skeptically when I showed her the damaged top. I explained what I thought happened with my shoulder bag and her immediate response was, “Well, then it’s not the fault of the fabric!”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
“Aren’t these clothes made for active women who actually go out into the street and move around?” I asked rhetorically. “This fabric clearly doesn’t hold up for an everyday top.”
She wasn’t interested in my interpretation. “I’ll have to show it to a manager and see if we can give you a store credit,” she said.
“But I don’t want a store credit. I’d like my money back,” I countered. “Besides, I was told yesterday that the manager would be in today and she isn’t here. I’m not interested in coming back again. This shouldn’t require a decision from a manager. You can see I bought the top a week ago and you can see what happened after wearing it once.” I was pretty irritated at this point and I told her I wasn’t leaving the store without my credit.
Finally, another saleswoman walked over and told saleswoman #1: “I’ll give her a credit, even if I get fired.”
“Thank you,” I said, “but I doubt you’ll get fired since you’re doing the right thing. I assume the buyer would want to know about the poor quality of this fabric, anyway.”
I don’t believe the adage “the customer is always right,” but this was downright ridiculous. If Eileen Fisher’s rule is to give customers a hard time when they want to return merchandise under circumstances like these, they should think hard about making new rules.
In the meantime, I am not buying anything from EF anytime soon.