Maybe it’s just me, but if you were trying to have a J. Crew Christmas it must have been a pretty empty celebration today. IOU’s and homemade “Sorry your item hasn’t arrived yet” cards can only go so far…
How is it that last week J. Crew could not seem to sell you clothes via their online store (cart clearing errors aplenty); screwed up phone orders (i.e. you pay for overnight shipping on Wed. Dec. 22 and don’t get your item by Friday); yet they still manage to stay in business? I did some checking around, and it seems that J. Crew lost $10M in the 3rd quarter of 2004, which ironically was a massive improvement.
I think I know why – you’ve just really got to want a J. Crew Christmas to have any chance of getting one…
Given that their online retail presence proved maddeningly unusable (on several occasions) and that the extra $20 I paid to their catalog sales groups to get a garment in time for Christmas didn’t do the trick, the only workable solution was to go to an actual physical J. Crew location. In my case that J. Crew location just so happened to be one of their outlet store. They were efficiently able to sell me the garment I wanted from their 2004 Winter catalog, but at 30% of it’s original sticker price.
It’s just a hunch, but I predict that J. Crew will look back on that $10M loss longingly when the Q4 numbers are released. Of all the companies that I dealt with this Christmas season only J. Crew frustrated my buying opportunities with such regularity that I nearly became a non-customer. In fact, I wish I had not bought that item at the outlet store. Looking back on it it’s possible that buying that item only encourages such shoddy overall service by rewarding the company with a sale; albeit a very cheap sale.
The good news is that I wasn’t actually trying to have a J. Crew Christmas. The item I wanted (and got at the outlet store) was a throw-in gift.
Monday I’ll throw down the gauntlet at J. Crew and see if they can complete the poor customer service trifecta by not refunding every dime (including shipping) of the catalog sales version of the oder that I’ve yet to receive.