My cousin had picked out a shop based on, apparently, hearing good things about it. After I got through dealing with these people, I made it a policy to never trust my judgment again. Bear in mind that this dress shop is an hour away, so that puts a crimp in me just dropping by to check on things.
Since I wrote about in my personal journal, I remember it fairly clear...not that it was very forgettable to begin with.
First, when we get to the store a couple of hours before closing time, all the employees are busy helping people shop for some kind of pageant. Okay, I figure that most people who are involved with pageants are probably going to be dumping a lot of money into the hobby and are also probably repeat business, which is something a store specializing in formal and bridesmaid dresses probably doesn't get. I was a little annoyed because the employees appearing to be hovering over customers to an unwanted degree, but I wanted this over with, so I could wait.
After about half an hour of killing time, someone finally decides to acknowledge us and my cousin tells her that we're there to look at bridesmaid dresses and could we see some different styles in the brand so I could try some stuff on and we get sent to where the dresses actually are. As I was looking at dresses, she rushed us because they wanted to close because they both had things to do after work. As I went to try on the dress, I said, "Oh, it's not a big deal, then. If we can't get anything here, I'll just pick something up on the internet." She didn't make any more attempts to rush us after that.
I found the dress I wanted and she tried to measure me. She comes up with a size that's at least two sizes bigger than what I usually wear so I expressed a little concern, especially since the dress I tried on in that brand that was one size smaller fit almost perfectly and was just a little snug. Plus, the numbers she came up with seemed off. She informed me that she knew what she was doing and those dresses run big.
Time to pay for the dress and choose the shipping method. Regular shipping was twelve weeks, which would have put the dress there on July 5, which was two weeks before the wedding. I was wary about cutting it so close, so I asked about rush shipping, which would cost $15 extra, but would get it there in 8 to 9 weeks. I don't know why I was suspicious, but I was. Maybe it was my experiences with the shop so far, maybe it was because the woman didn't seem that trustworthy, maybe it was the fact that I had spent the past year hearing about what happened when the dress didn't arrive in the time frame, but something made me ask if they guaranteed the dress by the delivery date. That led to the following exchange:
"If I get rush, then it's guaranteed within nine weeks?"
"No. We don't guaranteed anything."
"What happens if it doesn't arrive in time for the wedding?"
"It will arrive in time for the wedding.
"What if it doesn't?"
"Well, I've never had a dress not arrive in time for a wedding."
"But what happens if it doesn't arrive in time for the wedding?"
"Well, then I guess I'd have to give you your money back."
"Okay. Then I'll take it."
As bitchy as I may have seemed, she basically told me that there was no real promise that the expensive dress I was buying to wear once might not actually arrive when I needed it and, since she was asking for payment up front, I didn't want to give it and wind up losing the money if the dress didn't show up on time.
Time passes and I realize that they're probably very busy, so when my dress didn't arrive in the 8-9 week window, I didn't call to bother them. In hindsight, I should have. When there were about three weeks before the wedding and everyone else had their dresses, I started getting worried, so I called. I was given the run-around until they finally called me about a week later while I was getting my hair highlighted. The fact that I was in a room full of people is why this didn't become a customers_suck moment.
Turns out that the company the dress store ordered from had no record of an order being placed. I found this out from a very whiny message on my voicemail where the dress store tried to put the blame on the company that made the dresses. I called back and started trying to figure out what was going on. It was about ten days before the wedding, but that still would give me time to get a dress. Unfortunately, in my initial call, the store was more worried about casting itself as a victim and passing the blame to the company than trying to figure the situation. I was told upfront "We still can't get the company to take the blame." The same woman also told me that she figured that someone had given my dress to another customer and was lying now to stay out of trouble. Hmmm... Despite there being 128 styles of dresses in 55 colors (including eighteen styles that use a second one of those 55 colors), someone just happened to need that exact style dress in that exact color with the exact trim and in my exact size...and the company gave it to that person and was trying to cover their mistake by lying now. Right. The other frustrating part was where she told me "We're hurt by this, too," and she was referring to their feelings being hurt. My feelings weren't hurt. I just wanted the dress I paid for and had to wear in ten days.
On the plus said, they gave me four dress options in my size and color that were ready to be shipping out immediately. I had to go home to look them up, since at that time my phone didn't have the internet. I told them I'd call the next day.
The next day, July 10, I called and no one there had any idea what I was talking about so they couldn't help me. I called the next day, July 11, and no one answered and it went to a very long and annoying voicemail. I left a message. Nothing. I called back on July 13 and no one was there to talk to me, but someone finally had the sense to give me the cell phone number of the person who could help me. She returned my call and told me that she would check to see if the dress could be overnighted and that they would cover the difference in shipping costs as well as paying the difference for rush alterations. That was good, although she never did call me back to confirm. When I checked back, they told me that they had the dress on order and would call me when it was in.
Nothing for a couple of days. No one calling to tell me the dress was in. No one calling to tell me when I was going to meet with the person doing alterations. Nothing. Then, out of the blue on Wednesday, I get a voicemail from a very annoyed employee at the store telling me that the dress was there and that the woman who was supposed to do the alterations had been waiting for me for over an hour and would I please let them know if I was going to keep the appointment?
Um....what appointment? I rush over there and the woman has gone home, so I'm stuck having to drive to her house. I manage to find it (I'm not from that town) and when I get there, the dress is huge. The woman had to take in nearly three inches. She had to take it in so much that it actually messed up the pattern of rhinestones around the top. So, in addition to everything else, they were wrong about my measurements, too.
And, to further add to my rage, when I told my cousin the bride about it, she just says in an off-hand way, "Oh, yeah, we shouldn't have used them. Apparently a lot of people had trouble with them."
Anyway, I finally picked up the dress the night before the wedding, it looked fine, everything went well, and everyone involved was happy. But I refuse to ever do anything with that shop again.
TL;DR: Dress store calls ten days before my cousin's wedding to tell me that the dress I ordered hadn't actually been ordered, then proceeds to not return phone calls, leaving me to get the dress altered two days before wedding.