Forever New has recently opened its doors on South African shores and I, like many, am elated. The clothing is beautiful, feminine and reasonably priced and it’s great to have an alternative to Country Road and the rest. I had a little spendgasm at the new Rosebank branch a couple weeks back and after much parading and posing in the comfort of my own lair, I decided to return one of the items I’d purchased. And this is where it starts to unravel.
Return Attempt #1: I wait for 20 minutes while the sales assistant deals with a disgruntled customer on the phone. I’m eventually asked to return another time as there is no manager in the store to facilitate the transaction (I’ve been offered a voucher as cash refunds aren’t offered, I gladly accept). Lunch break no. 1 wasted.
Return Attempt #2: I return later on in the day (the same day as attempt #1), assuming that enough time between visits has lapsed to ensure the presence of a manager. As my mother always used to say, “Assumption is the mother of all f*** ups”. She was right. No manager, and it takes the shop assistant about 15 minutes to tell me this. A-mazing.
Return Attempt#3: A week has now lapsed since my previous attempts. Surely a week is enough time to allow this elusive manager the time to make it back into the store? Ding ding ding! And she’s in. They recognise me immediately, talk amongst themselves and then turn to me and say, “We’re out of stock of vouchers”. I maintain my calm and politely ask when they anticipate their arrival. “We don’t know, we’ve been waiting for a week already, so it should be soon”. Lunch break no. 2 wasted.
So, this is why I’m frustrated…
Why does a brand new store not have a manager present?
Why does a brand new store not have an assistant manager present, or an alternative way of authorising returns in the absence of a manager?
Why does a brand new store have no voucher stock? At Christmas time for Cripes sake!
How long does it take to replenish voucher stock? Surely no more than a week.
Don’t ask me to return later on in the day when you cannot deal with my request later on in the day.
The 4 members of staff I’ve encountered have been sweet and polite I suppose, but their general customer service skills have left a lot to be desired.
After 3 return attempts I still have no voucher.
I don’t think I’m being an unreasonable customer, am I? After all, once-upon-a-time in my career I was the sod who had to field the calls of disgruntled Starbucks customers complaining about not having enough drizzles of caramel on top of their macchiatos. C’mon Forever New, pull your sweet little lace socks up. Selling pretty products isn’t enough. For a new brand with a big impression to make in this market, I’m unimpressed.